What is IBS and what foods you should be avoiding?

Most people are well-versed with common health conditions like anxiety, acid reflux, and diabetes. However, between 3-20% of Americans suffer from a condition that’s comparatively unknown—irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. 


While minor cases of IBS can cause discomfort, extreme cases of it can be downright debilitating, making it hard for both men and women to go about their daily lives. 


Whether you have IBS or suspect that you might have it, it’s never a bad idea to better understand it. Read on to learn more about irritable bowel syndrome and the foods you’ll want to avoid if you have it. 


What is IBS?

As mentioned, IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. Also known as irritable colon, spastic colon, and mucous colitis, IBS refers to a group of symptoms that occur simultaneously in the intestines. 


These symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Most people with IBS find that these symptoms resolve themselves after they go to the bathroom. However, they often flare back up, and in some cases, can last for weeks or months.


While IBS may be common, health experts are unsure what causes it. Some doctors believe that it may stem from an overly-sensitive immune system or colon. 


Foods to Avoid

Different foods affect people in different ways. Because of that, it’s essential to pay attention to the foods you eat to identify whether any of them are causing you issues.


That said, certain foods often affect people with IBS. Some of the most common culprits include:

  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods with high levels of sugar and salt
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Beans and legumes
  • Brocolli and cauliflower 

All of those foods can exacerbate IBS symptoms. By trying your best to cut them out of your diet, you’ll find yourself experiencing less bloating, fewer cramps, and more consistent bowel movements. 


IBS and Stress

Stress can have a substantial impact on all parts of your body, including your digestive system. When you’re feeling anxious, your nerves can cause your digestive tract to become overreactive. 


People with IBS may find that even slight changes in their stress levels can lead to severe disruptions of their digestive tracts. Because of that, they should always ensure that they’re practicing calming, stress-releasing activities that can help them unwind. 


IBS Treatment

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for irritable bowel syndrome. Most of the treatment options seek to mitigate symptoms that cause discomfort or prevent them from flaring up in the first place.


Some of the most popular home remedies for IBS include:

  • Getting enough physical exercise throughout the day
  • Avoiding foods that trigger IBS
  • Minimizing stress 
  • Getting enough probiotics 
  • Eating smaller portion sizes

If at-home lifestyle changes don’t seem to make a difference, don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with your physician. They can help get you on medication that can relieve the pain, and if necessary, can put you on antibiotics. 


Do your best to manage IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common health condition that medical experts are still trying to learn more about. If you have it (or suspect that you may have it), do your best to stop symptoms from flaring up.


As always, turn to your doctor for help when necessary! 

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