Treating Yourself Well When You Have IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS for short, is an umbrella term that includes a number of different digestive ailments that affect mainly women.
This is a condition that, due to its chronic nature, you will need to manage long-term in order to optimize your overall health. Many people have gotten an IBS diagnosis, but they are unsure exactly what this means and how to treat it.
Because what you put into your body directly affects how you will perform, both physically and mentally, it’s important to fuel yourself with the best things possible.
Even though fruits and veggies are universally “healthy,” there may be some properties in what you’re eating that exacerbate your condition. Who needs that?
Included in this article are many examples of fruits and vegetables that should be avoided if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Many symptoms can be managed through diet and lifestyle, so we’ve included general helpful IBS tips as well. Read on, because everything you need to know about IBS is right here!
What Exactly Is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic disorder that primarily affects the large intestine. However, because of the nature of the condition, there are a number of health ramifications that occur when one suffers from IBS, and they can include a wide range of symptoms and treatments. Roughly 3-20% of Americans experience IBS symptoms, so if you are among them, you are not alone.
Also known as spastic colon, irritable colon or spastic colitis, IBS is a grouping of intestinal symptoms that often occur together, giving them this umbrella term of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Both men and women can get this diagnosis, but it is slightly more common with females.
You are not setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery if you get an IBS diagnosis. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you can lead a relatively normal and pain-free life by managing what you put into your body and knowing what kind of reaction they could cause.
Some Signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Everyone has a little irregularity every once in a while. This is normal and common among most people. When the “occasional” become “frequent” is when you should start to concern yourself a bit more with what is going on with your body.
Paying attention to how you feel and function depending on what you eat is a great step toward better health. Signs you may be suffering from IBS begin here:
- Abdominal cramping, ranging from mild to severe
- Bloating in the midsection and lower belly
- Gas and/or gas pains
- Irregular bowel movements that can range from diarrhea to constipation – or both!
Although very few sufferers of IBS have severe symptoms, these can also occur. Some of these include blood in the stool, debilitating pain, and internal blockages. In rare cases, surgical intervention could be required.
What Precisely Does IBS Do To The Body?
Here is a video that goes into a bit of detail on what happens when our bodies experience gastronomic distress and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Sometimes seeing how our internal organs function is much more beneficial than reading about them. Seeing our body systems function together in such harmony is an exciting sight to see!
7 Fruits To Avoid When You Have IBS
Different fruits might trigger IBS symptoms for different reasons, so be sure to read the specifics on our list here in order to understand more clearly why it could affect your particular irritated digestive tract.
The answer is not to avoid all fruits for fear of intestinal discomfort, it’s to avoid the specific fruits that exacerbate your individual IBS. Sometimes it is not about the particular fruit, it’s the insoluble fiber that may trigger IBS.
Start with this list:
Apples contain a large concentration of fructose, which is a type of sugar that many people have a hard time digesting in large quantities.
Pears also have large concentrations of fructose in one piece of fruit and can cause flares.
Watermelon is yet another example of a fruit that has a large blast of fructose in one go, so it’s best to avoid even in small quantities.
Stone fruits are considered to be high in fructose in general and should be eliminated from your diet. Stone fruits have characteristic pits and include the following examples: Apricots, Plums, Peaches, and Nectarines.
Some members of the berry family, including blackberries, can be irritants to the digestive system and should be avoided.
While not technically in the stone fruits family, mangos are an example of a fruit that doesn’t agree with people all the time. Consider skipping mango next time you’re offered because it causes many people digestion issues.
Fruit Juices and Dried Fruits
These are notorious for that surplus amount of fructose that may exacerbate your intestinal distress. It can just be overwhelming on your system, especially since it can be difficult to track how many servings you are eating so it’s easy to overdo it.
8 Vegetables To Avoid When You Have IBS
Vegetables may also exacerbate your IBS, but it’s not always for the same reason that fruits do. A similar issue is when you ingest too much insoluble fiber, which happens with veggies, and this may trigger some gastrointestinal issues. Other examples are ingredient-based.
Below is a list of veggies you may want to skip in order to minimize Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms or flare-ups.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which are notorious culprits for triggering irritable bowels.
This is partly because they contain raffinose, which is a carbohydrate that is a little hard to tolerate for some people.
Another member of the cruciferous family that contains raffinose. It also has a lot of insoluble fiber that can be difficult to process at once.
Another member of the cruciferous family that contains raffinose. Some greens are okay to eat, but kale presents a few issues.
Another member of the cruciferous family that contains raffinose. Notorious for causing gas.
Another member of the cruciferous family that contains raffinose. It also contains ample insoluble fiber.
Onions and Garlic
Both onions and garlic can be general irritants for digestive tracts in some people. Many dieticians recommend avoiding both these veggies in order to minimize inflammation.
Peas and Sweet Corn
These two can be gas causers and difficult for everybody to digest. Sometimes it’s better to avoid them both altogether.
Anything with additional “heat” involved should definitely make it on the no-no list. These are general irritants as they work their way through your body and cause unnecessary Inflammation.
7 Foods That Are Good For Healthy Digestion
Luckily, there are a number of soothing and restorative foods recommended to reduce things like bloating, gas, and digestive issues. Start off on the right foot by including these items regularly:
Unlike fattier cuts of meat which may actually cause a symptom to flare up, lean meats are pretty straightforward blasts of pure protein. This is great for any working body to improve general functionality and aid indigestion.
Eggs are another example of a fairly basic protein that is easily digested by most folks. It is a wonderful source of nutrition and will likely not cause major gastronomic distress.
Nuts and Seeds
These are generally very beneficial to digestion since they are exceptional sources of protein without causing inflammation.
Soothing Whole Grains
There are a number of whole grains that could be quite therapeutic for your digestive system. By including things like oats, rice, quinoa, and polenta are wonderful options for sensitive systems.
Healthy Seafood Cuts
Not only is lean seafood a great boost of protein like many other items on this list, but fish is also a classic source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are helpful in aiding digestion and facilitating overall health and wellness.
Luckily, not all fruits will exacerbate IBS. Feel free to eat these in moderation: Banana, Blueberries, Grapes, Kiwi, Pineapples, Strawberries, and Melons. These have a more moderate amount of glucose that won’t make people have IBS flare-ups.
Some Vegetables, Too!
The same applies to vegetables. Here is a list of veggies you can enjoy without fear of intestinal discomfort: Bell peppers, Carrots, Green Beans, Potatoes, Squash, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Spinach, and Zucchini.
What To Do When You Have A Flare-Up
Essentially, the work comes before you suffer through symptoms, in the way of learning what triggers your body. This may take years to master, but every little bit helps!
Every time you make a connection between the food you consume and a sign that your body is unhappy in the digestion department, you are one step closer to living pain-free.
When you experience discomfort, think back to what you consumed that day. Is it something that is on one of our lists here, or has it caused you trouble in the past?
Consider writing down your symptoms and even logging your food in some sort of dedicated Food Journal to see if you can make connections – and, most importantly, to avoid something similar in the future.
Another good general tip is to include a bit of exercise on your daily schedule. This habit is part of an overall healthy lifestyle that “keeps things moving” internally, as it were. You’ll be amazed at what even an evening constitutional can do for your digestive health.
Avoiding tobacco and alcohol in excess is also another no-no for people who have Irritable bowels. These are proven to trigger IBS symptoms and should be omitted from your lifestyle.
Getting Outside Assistance For Your Health
Outside assistance can range anywhere from basic, over-the-counter medications to seeing a professional out of the home. Here are some typical options for people who experience IBS:
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, some basic OTC remedies might provide temporary relief. Consider taking things like antacids, stool softeners, or anti-diarrheal tablets as the first line of defense.
If you aren’t getting any relief from modifications to your diet or from over-the-counter meds, consider asking your doctor for a prescription to treat some of your more pressing symptoms. Remember, there is not a cure for this condition, it is more about the management of potential triggers.
Consulting a Nutritionist, Natural Medicine Practitioner or other Specialist
There is no such thing as no hope! There are always more answers to be had and advice to be offered when seeing a professional or two. They could provide useful tips that could all but treat your issues, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Final Thoughts About IBS
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill for curing a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You can simply manage your diet and lifestyle and minimize the issues you have.
The key is to really pay attention to what you’re consuming and what happens to your body as it works its way through your system.
The more mindful you can be about what you eat and how your intestines and bowel process it, the more you’ll be able to avoid flare-ups and discomfort.
Many people find keeping a Food Journal to be a helpful start to paying attention to triggers and soothing foods alike. Simply track both what you’re eating and how your digestion is, begin to note correlations and move from there.
Hopefully the posts provided here have been helpful as a baseline of dietary info for sufferers of IBS.
Pay attention to your own diet, because with enough time and consideration, you’ll be able to know more specifically what causes your own belly woes and how to avoid them. Good luck!