Common Diets for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Statistics and Facts

According to the National Institute of Health, nearly twenty percent of individuals in the United States suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Better known as IBS, this condition of the bowel can cause considerable discomfort including cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Unlike some of the other disorders of the bowel though, irritable bowel syndrome is not linked to serious disease, such as cancer and symptoms can usually be effectively managed by changes in diet.

Common Diets For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Many of the diets recommended for IBS may be quite common, but can often be tailored to meet the patients individual needs. Although dieticians already recommend that six to eight glasses of water a day can be beneficial, this is especially true for the patient suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. This helps to keep those with frequent diarrhea well hydrated and can help ease bowel movements for those who have constipation. Increasing fiber can also make a difference in some of the symptoms caused by this bowel disorder. Adding raw, leafy vegetables to the diet, whole grains, and fruits can often reduce IBS accompanied by constipation but may not help in alleviating diarrhea. It is important to note that adding these items to the diet should be done so gradually, as increasing fiber intake at once may create additional discomfort. However, this will typically go away on it’s own after the body has adjusted to the diet.

Foods That Can Increase IBS Symptoms

Changes in diet do not only include adding items to the diet, but sometimes decreasing or eliminating other foods. There are many foods that can greatly contribute to the bloating, gas, and other discomforts of irritable bowel syndrome. Fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, some sugars, and particular vegetables and fruits are all common food items that can further irritate the bowel. However, these irritants may not affect all patients and can significantly vary. This is why some physicians will advise the patient to keep a food diary, while monitoring their symptoms.

What About Food Allergies and Other Conditions?

Diets commonly prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome may need to be modified for any number of reasons. Those with celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and/or other particular health conditions will often find that guidelines of common diets for irritable bowel syndrome are not recommended for them. Most of these food items can be altered and/or interchanged to meet the unique needs of these persons though. Before attempting to alter the diet or alternate a diet for irritable bowel syndrome, the patient should consult his or her physician. They may be able to recommend another diet or substitutions that will not affect other possible health conditions.

Other Helpful Information for IBS

Common diets for irritable bowel syndrome can make a difference in the lives with those suffering from this condition but other measures can be incorporated to further decrease the symptoms. Eating smaller meals more frequently, getting regular exercise, and managing stress can also have a positive impact for irritable bowel syndrome. Some physicians may prescribe medication, providing other measures are not adequate.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome. National Institute of Health. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. NIH Publication No. 07-693. September 2007. Viewed 24, December 2010.

IBS Diet. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. 28, December 2009. Viewed 24, December 2010.