managing your nutrition when you have IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (commonly referred to as IBS) is a common condition. While similar to a food intolerance, the two aren’t quite the same.

On the one hand, a food intolerance is a specific lack of enzymes in the digestive system. On the other hand, IBS is notoriously hard to diagnose and often involves vague disturbances throughout the digestional tract.

The result is intense discomfort in the form of abdominal cramping, bloating, and changes in bowel movements. These aren’t life-threatening, but they can be significant factors that sap comfort and quality of life daily.

what aggravates IBS?

IBS is generally split up into four different categories (for the sake of effective diagnosis). According to Mayo Clinic, these are:

  • IBS- C: constipation-predominant.
  • IBS-D: diarrhea-predominant.
  • IBS-M: mixed.
  • IBS-U: unclassified.

Many things can trigger IBS, such as slouching, tight belts and pants, and even excessive stress. One of the most common ways to manage symptoms is by tailoring your diet to avoid troublesome foods.

what not to eat if you have IBS

Unlike food intolerances, many different dietary options can negatively stimulate the intestines. For instance, John Hopkins Medicine recommends generally avoiding milk, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated beverages, caffeine, and sugar-free chewing gum. Healthline highlights insoluble fiber (found in many vegetables and grain products) as a significant concern.

Sometimes cutting these things out can avoid creating digestive issues for someone with IBS. However, the sheer number of potential trouble foods has led to the rise in popularity of the FODMAP diet to help narrow the playing field.

This is an irritable bowel syndrome diet that helps individuals discover what they can and cannot eat with their individual circumstances. Building an IBS diet using FODMAP involves cutting a large number of foods out of your daily intake and then slowly reintroducing them one at a time. This helps identify which food groups are creating issues. You can then use the information to create a unique IBS diet for yourself.

digestive enzymes to the rescue

Throughout the course of trying various irritable bowel syndrome diets and consulting with IBS dieticians, you may find that there aren’t too many foods you can eat without leading to a flare-up. Sticking to a strict diet like this can be a frustrating and often challenging lifestyle.

Fortunately, there’s another solution that can work hand-in-hand with a quality, digestive enzymes. You can take them in supplement form. Taken before a meal, these enzymes enter the digestive system and help break down trigger foods that would otherwise sit and ferment, creating a variety of unpleasant symptoms in the process.

This provides an easy way to avoid symptoms when you’re faced with eating out of the house or you don’t know the ingredients in a particular product or meal. While a quality diet is always an important first step in managing IBS, using digestive enzymes is a great way to supplement those efforts, helping you maintain a healthy, high-quality, and enjoyable life on a daily basis.

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