Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a prevalent condition that affects the large intestine and involves drastic changes in bowel movements. Recurrent symptoms of IBS include cramps, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue.¹ Factors that can aggravate the digestive rhythm and lead to IBS symptoms include hormonal changes, gastrointestinal infections, low in fibre and high in fat diets.² These symptoms can often be debilitating and lead to a reduced quality of life. Food and nutrition are very prevalent triggers of IBS since food allergies and intolerances can aggravate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.³ Here are some recommended diets for IBS patients.

4 Diets to Help Treat IBS Symptoms

Different dietary adjustments may help reduce the symptoms for some people with IBS. Patients may need to change what they eat for several weeks to notice any improvement. Here are four diets recommended for IBS patients:

1. High-fibre diet

Fibre can be found in two forms, soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Relieving IBS symptoms may require consuming soluble fiber found in fruits, oat products and beans. Other sources of soluble fibre include barley and rice bran. The recommended dosage of fibre for adults is 22 to 34 grams a day to improve IBS symptoms.⁴

The best way to start incorporating more fibre-rich foods in your diet is by gradually adding 2 to 3 grams a day. Sudden increase in fiber intake, especially insoluble fiber, may cause gas which triggers bloating and other IBS symptoms.⁴

2. Low-fat diet

Increased consumption of foods high in fat can aggravate symptoms of IBS and lead to many health issues. A low-fat diet may be especially suitable for those who suffer from mixed IBS, a condition in which both constipation and diarrhea are dominant symptoms.⁵ 

To follow this diet, avoid consuming animal fats, fried foods and full-fat dairy products. Instead, dedicate the majority of your diet to lean meat, vegetables, grains and fruits.

3. Eliminating certain foods

Most people who suffer from IBS believe that their symptoms are linked to the consumption of certain foods. In this instance, an elimination diet might be helpful to reduce and avoid IBS symptoms by eliminating certain foods for an extended duration. Start by cutting one food item for 12 weeks and note any changes in the symptoms, if you feel generally better, then cut it off completely.⁶ Some of the foods that typically cause problems are caffeine, chocolate, insoluble fiber and nuts.³

4. Low FODMAP diet

Following a low FODMAP diet means avoiding certain foods that contain hard-to-digest carbohydrates, which pull more water into the bowel. As a result, IBS patients may experience bloating, gas and diarrhea after eating these foods.⁷
FODMAP is short for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”.⁸ By restricting your intake of FODMAP foods for 6-8 weeks, IBS symptoms may improve. Some of the foods that contain FODMAPs are:⁴
  • Products that contain sweeteners, such as sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol and maltitol.
  • Some fruits like apples, blackberries, cherries, apricots, mango, plums and watermelon.
  • Dairy products: milk products, yoghurt, ice cream and soft cheeses.
  • Wheat products
  • Foods with high-fructose syrup and honey
  • Vegetables: mushrooms, cauliflower, garlic, onions and lentils

A doctor or dietitian may recommend this diet for a few weeks and then suggest slowly adding foods that contain FODMAPs to your diet, based on the results.

Diarrhea-predominant IBS Treatment

Dramatic bowel movements, a primary IBS symptom, can lead to sudden urges to pass stool. Diarrhea-predominant IBS is a condition that involves frequent loose motion besides the usual bloating symptoms and abdominal pain. Rapid intestine contractions cause accelerated bowel movement, which leads to watery and loose stools.⁹
To treat IBS-related diarrhea, it could be helpful to use anti-diarrheal products that contain loperamide.⁹ IMODIUM® helps slow down gut contractions to give the intestine more time to absorb water from the digested food.¹⁰ It improves bowel function and gently brings back the rhythm to your body.¹¹  Find out more about IMODIUM® and how it can help you manage IBS diarrhea.
Visit our FAQ section to learn more about diarrhea and how IMODIUM® can help you manage it.