S.O.S ! Belly Aches, Cramps, Bloating. Case of the Irritable Bowel

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has been a very common problem alot of my patients present with. In simple terms, it is a disturbance of of your digestive tract (your colon in particular) characterised by stomach cramps, wind, pain, diarrhoea/constipation (or a combination of both). Abdominal pain is usually relieved by passing wind or moving your bowels. There is no test to diagnose IBS, but your doctor can usually suspect it from the pattern of symptoms.
The two common triggers that are linked to IBS are dietary triggers and stress. The common dietary triggers are:

* Caffeine
* Foods high in fat
* Fermentable sugars:
o Fructose
o Lactose
o Fructans
o Galactans (eg. raffinose)
o Polyols
* Excess Fibre
* Salicylates and amines
* Artificial colours and flavourings

Keep in mind that not all people will be sensitive to all the different triggers. Keeping a food and symptom diary can help you identify triggers that affect you.


* To determine whether you should exclude certain foods, you need to work closely with a dietitian in order to avoid any unnecessary restrictions you might’ve placed.

  • Avoid fatty foods and large meal portions.
  • Exercise regularly for stress management and to keep your bowels healthy.
  • If you do suffer from constipation, include more high fibre foods such as wholemeal/wholegrain breads & cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to drink enough water too!
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks (coke, coffee, tea)& alcohol as they tend to stimulate the colon.
  • Choose low – fibre foods if you suffer from diarrhoea.
  • Have some Peppermint Tea as it is known to ease IBS symptoms due to its antispasmodic properties.

1 Comment
  1. I went from 3 large meal portions a day to like 6-8 smaller ones and it has made a tremendous difference. Recommend everyone to do so.

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