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Can My Diet Alone Manage My IBS?

You know irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s that annoying digestive disorder that has you tethered to your bathroom or constantly searching for one nearby. You also know the familiar IBS symptoms — abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort with a side of diarrhea or constipation.

While there’s no cure for IBS, you can alleviate many of your symptoms by changing your diet and improving your overall digestive health. In this blog, Dr. Ayub Hussain, our experienced specialist at Northside Gastroenterology Associates in Cypress and Houston, Texas, explores ways to manage IBS through diet alone.

Eating fewer gas-producing foods

Highly fermentable carbohydrates can cause gas and bloating, making them a trigger for IBS symptoms. These foods include beans, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, onions, and carbonated drinks. These foods are healthy, and you shouldn’t avoid them altogether but consume them in moderation and smaller portions to keep your IBS symptoms at bay.

Limiting your gluten intake

People with IBS tend to be more sensitive to gluten, so you may need to steer clear of wheat, barley, and rye. A gluten-free diet may reduce bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, but remember that not everyone with IBS should avoid gluten. It's best to consult Dr. Hussain before making any drastic dietary changes.

Eating slowly

If you eat too quickly or don’t thoroughly chew your food, you swallow a lot of air, resulting in bloating and gas. Taking your time to eat your meals and chew your food completely can significantly alleviate IBS symptoms.

Avoiding overeating

Overeating can make anyone uncomfortable, but if you have IBS and overindulge — especially in high-fat foods — it can trigger your IBS symptoms. Eating smaller meals throughout the day regulates digestion and prevents overeating.

Adding dietary fiber to your diet

When you suffer from IBS-related constipation, try adding more fiber to your diet. Slowly increasing your fiber intake can improve digestion and prevent constipation. Foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are high in fiber, so eat them in moderation, particularly if you suffer from bloating and gas.

Adding probiotics to your diet

Probiotics are “good bacteria” that regulate your digestive system and tamp down IBS symptoms. Get more of these beneficial microbes into your belly by eating more yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut to promote a healthy gut.

Practicing relaxation techniques

Stress and anxiety trigger IBS symptoms, so relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing may reduce stress and anxiety. Regular exercise also helps regulate digestion and alleviate IBS symptoms.

While diet alone can’t cure IBS, it can improve your life by reducing your symptoms and improving your overall digestive health. If and when these self-care dietary tips aren’t enough, Dr. Hussain may prescribe IBS medications to address your specific symptoms. 

Book an appointment online or call us today to learn more about IBS treatments.

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