Lifestyle Changes to Help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Management


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common medical condition experienced by millions of people across the globe. Statistics reveal that between 10 to 20 percent of people of the United States are affected by IBS. Both men and women experience this condition facing minor to chronic symptoms.

The symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Unfortunately, people experience these symptoms throughout their life as there is no cure for IBS. Simple changes in the diet and lifestyle can help in managing IBS.

High Fiber Diet

You need to reach the recommended fiber intake for an adult which is 20-35 grams per day.  Reaching such high fiber intake can be tough. Add more fruits and salads in your diet. Vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts can also help in increasing the fiber intake. Increase in the intake of insoluble fiber will help in resolving constipation. If you are experiencing diarrhea, then you need to add soluble fiber found in oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables to your diet to prevent it.

Sufficient Water Intake:

You need to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of fluids because you will be increasing the fiber intake. If you do not drink enough water, you would experience constipation or diarrhea. Have a glass of water before every meal. You can also include fluids in the form of lemon juice, green tea, etc.

Regular Exercise:

Regular body movement would keep your digestive system active and help in better digestion. Regular exercise can be helpful in preventing constipation. It is recommended that you work out for at least 150 minutes every week. You may either hit the gym or play sports of your choice.

Having Frequent Meals:

Instead of having three big meals a day, divide your food into 7-8 small meals per day. This helps in increasing body metabolism which may help decrease constipation and managing other IBS symptoms.

Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Tobacco:

Diarrhea can be caused by excessive consumption of gut stimulants. Avoiding or reducing the intake of gut stimulants such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol may help in managing the symptoms of IBS effectively.

Avoid Fatty Food:

Fatty and deep-fried food may trigger digestive symptoms. Eliminating or limiting the consumption of such food can help to manage the symptoms of IBS. If you cannot completely avoid such food, try switching to leaner meats, less cooking oil, and low-fat dairy.

Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels:

High level of stress and anxiety can affect your digestive system. It can either trigger constipation or diarrhea. Managing your stress by meditating or playing sports can be helpful to reduce IBS symptoms.

Decrease Lactose Intake:

People who have lactose intolerance may find that high-lactose food also triggers symptoms of IBS. Avoiding such food may help in managing the symptoms of IBS. If you do not experience any IBS symptoms after consuming high lactose food, there is no reason for you to avoid them.

It needs to be noted that every individual has a unique experience with IBS hence diet requirement of every individual is different. Something which works for one person might not work for another suffering from IBS. You are advised to consult with Manhattan Gastroenterology to get personalized advice and diet which would help in managing your individual IBS condition.

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