Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you are not alone, it’s a common condition that affects up to 20% of the population.
It can be identified by one or more symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation. However, people can have different symptoms, and these may vary from day to day.
What causes IBS?
IBS can be caused by diet and stress, and so there are ways in which you can help yourself. A good start is to follow these tips:
- Exercise regularly, even if it’s just walking
- Make time for yourself every day to ‘switch off’
- Reduce the amount of caffeine that you drink as this may irritate your stomach.
- Increase the amount of water that you drink
- Cut down on the amount of high fat and high sugar food and drinks as these can encourage the growth of bad bacteria in your gut as well as contribute to an unbalanced diet
- Keep a food and symptom diary over a couple of weeks to see which types of food affect you.
Living with IBS
Many people may find after keeping a food diary that foods such as broccoli, garlic and onion, may make their symptoms worse*. By limiting these foods in the short term, you may reduce some of the symptoms such as bloating, but you may also eliminate the prebiotic benefits that they also offer (feeding the good bacteria in your gut). As some people with IBS have a disturbed balance between good and bad bacteria, increasing your good bacteria may help with your IBS symptoms over the long term.
*If your symptoms get worse or if you feel that by limiting ‘healthy’ foods because of IBS you are not eating a balanced diet, please contact your GP.