Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers and Prevention
By taking steps to prevent the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is possible to lead a productive, healthy life. With some planning, you can avoid IBS triggers that cause symptom flares. Your doctor can provide a complete treatment plan for IBS prevention.
Print out this list of common IBS triggers and prevention strategies. Keep it handy for reference. It may help you identify personal triggers in an IBS symptom journal. Triggers and symptoms may vary depending on the type of IBS. And when you're having a bad day, remember to persist with healthy management of your condition.
We all have stomachaches and trouble going to the bathroom once in a while, but for people with IBS, the chronic pain and discomfort can be disabling.
Along with abdominal cramping and discomfort, IBS symptoms include:
Constipation -- the stool comes out either lumpy or hard
Diarrhea -- the stool comes out loose or watery
Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
Bowel movements that feel uncontrollably urgent, difficult to pass, or incomplete
Too much fiber, especially insoluble fiber found in the skin of fruits and vegetables
Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose, or the sugar substitute sorbitol
Fried and fatty foods
Food and drinks with dairy, especially in people with lactose intolerance
Foods with wheat -- Some people may be allergic or have a negative reaction to gluten
Eat a moderate amount of soluble fiber. It adds bulk to the colon and can help prevent spasms. Good sources are whole wheat breads, oats, barley, brown rice, pasta, the flesh of fruit (as opposed to the skin), and dried fruits.
Don't consume foods with extreme temperatures, such as ice-cold water and steaming hot soup, in the same meal.
Stay away from broccoli, onions, and cabbage. They can cause gas, which can make diarrhea sufferers feel worse.
Eat smaller portions.
Drink six to eight glasses of plain water a day, but drink the water an hour before or after meals, not with meals.
Consult with your doctor or a dietitian if you suspect you may have a wheat allergy.
Some people with IBS have symptoms similar to lactose intolerance with excess gas. A trial of a lactose-free diet and avoidance of foods that produce excess gas such as beans, brussels sprouts, pretzels, bagels, wheat germ, raisins, and celery may help reduce symptoms.