Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a class of disorders involving gut-brain interaction that affects up to 1 in 10 Americans. Diagnostic criteria includes abdominal pain at least once per week on average over the past three months associated with changes in stool frequency or form. Symptoms affect the large and small intestines and typically include periodic or chronic bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gassiness, and cramping.The cause of IBS is unknown, however genetics, allergies, infection, lifestyle, and gut microbiota may contribute to IBS and stress and certain foods may trigger symptoms. The large intestine has nerves that communicate with the brain, so stress can stimulate intestinal spasms resulting in pain and discomfort. Specific foods can initiate episodes of IBS, and many people with IBS notice that symptoms worsen after consuming high-fat foods or large meals.
Until recently, the medical advice provided to patients with IBS was to reduce stress and eat more fiber. Research has indicated that IBS can be managed with a focus on diet composition and eating habits, possibly with the assistance of medications, probiotics, and stress management. Consider the following modifications to your diet to provide relief from IBS and prevent future flare-ups.