How to manage IBS

Let’s talk about IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, a  group of symptoms that effect the large intestine. Approximately 20% of US adults have IBS. The symptoms of IBS can be rather uncomfortable such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and gassiness. Keep in mind, these symptoms could be caused by other factors, and not necessarily IBS.  Fortunately, there are many things related to your diet that can help manage IBS that are also helpful to general health. Regardless of if you think you may have IBS, these tips can improve your diet for a healthier lifestyle. The first step is to find out which foods cause the most discomfort, then work to eliminate them from your diet. In order to keep track, you may need to keep a food diary. EatRight offers some of these other nutritional tips:

  • Eat at the same time each day to help regulate your system.
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently. Large portions can be difficult for your body to process all at once.
  • Slowly increase fiber intake by eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water! 
  • Be cautious of what you drink, caffeine and alcohol can be problematic. 

               It may also be a good idea to seek out a registered dietitian, such as at Health Services. As a professional, she can help you identify which foods and eating habits are causing flare ups. Be aware that stress can also cause IBS symptoms. If you find diet changes aren't working for you, take a step back to look at your stress levels and get the necessary help to decrease them. The Counseling Center is a great place to seek help for stress management.