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  • Writer's pictureBrian Dooreck MD

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Updated: Jul 24, 2023


IBD, Crohn's, UC, gas bloating, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system, see your gastroenterology doctor or gastroenterologist

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is commonly used as an umbrella term to describe a wide range of clinical symptoms related to diarrhea, constipation, cramps, abdominal pain, gas, and bloating. Strict criteria (Rome IV criteria) are used to define IBS. However, IBS as a diagnosis is used much more loosely by a patient and their doctors, involving a careful history and physical examination.


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What are the types of IBS?

There are three different forms of IBS:

  • Diarrhea-predominant (D-IBS) involves abdominal discomfort or pain, urgency, and diarrhea.

  • Constipation-predominant (C-IBS) involves abdominal discomfort or pain, bloating, and constipation.

  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea (A-IBS) involve both.


What causes IBS?

The precise cause of IBS remains unknown. "Unknown" implies that it involves various factors, such as infection, inflammation, medication, and stress, in a genetically predisposed individual.


Here's a great video by Monash University on how IBS affects the digestive system and some steps to help deal with symptoms.



How can I treat IBS?


IBS can be treated differently depending on the patients and various other factors. There is no one medication that "cures" the disorder. Treatment focuses on improving symptoms and quality of life. However, modifying your diet can significantly affect managing your symptoms.


IBS, gas bloating, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system, see your gastroenterology doctor or gastroenterologist

What's a good diet for someone with IBS?


Specific dietary IBS triggers are likely prevalent. The best initial management of IBS with dietary adjustment involves either a single-food elimination diet for some common triggers. These are lactose and fructose.


A typical elimination diet (e.g., low-FODMAP) is usually recommended. After starting a low-FODMAP diet, you can aim for targeted reintroduction after four weeks under the guidance of a registered dietitian.


⛔️ Remember—any change in bowel habits, new-onset constipation 🚽, rectal bleeding 🩸, anemia, weight loss—or anything concerning—speak to your doctor 🥼 directly.

What exactly is a FODMAP diet?


FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) are short-chain carbohydrates with limited (or minimal) small intestine absorption. This leads to hydrogen and methane production in the intestines, probable gut flora changes, and altering colonic epithelial function, and may also cause local inflammation. These changes can significantly heighten gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with IBS, with excessive gas, bloating, and loose stools.


The Ideal FODMAP diet should include the following:

  • Grains

  • Small portions of nuts

  • Fruits

  • Vegetable

  • Proteins

  • Dairy (especially lactose-free milk)

IBD, Crohn's, UC, gas bloating, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system, see your gastroenterology doctor or gastroenterologist
Always talk to your doctor first.

Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

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Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn, where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.


 

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