Irritable bowel syndrome: what to eat and what to avoid

Irritable bowel syndrome: with the arrival of spring, and the change of seasons in general, many people complain of abdominal pain and discomfort

Often associated with constipation or diarrhoea or both, irritable bowel syndrome seems to flare up during the change of season

What to do and how to regulate your diet?

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects more than 10% of the population, particularly women, with a higher prevalence rate between the ages of 20 and 50.

It is characterised by abdominal discomfort or pain, associated with altered bowel function and accompanied by abdominal bloating or distension.

Irritable bowel syndrome: what to eat and what to avoid?

It should be specified that the therapeutic strategy for irritable bowel syndrome, precisely because the cause is often unknown, is based mainly on the treatment of the symptoms reported by the patient.

The causes of the disorder are manifold and no single trigger can be identified in an individual patient.

In general, it is advisable to drink at least two litres of plain water a day, especially if you are constipated, in order to avoid the gases that increase the feeling of bloating and meteorism.

Ideally, the water should be drunk between meals.

As far as diet is concerned, the “low FODMAP” (Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) diet can help to limit symptoms: this diet involves reducing – or eliminating – poorly digestible sugars, such as oligosaccharides, monosaccharides and all those substances that can increase water retention in the intestine.

In general, foods that increase fermentation should be avoided, such as cow’s milk, yoghurt, pulses, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, watermelon, pistachios and beer.

Fish, meat, rice, quinoa, eggs and tofu, bananas, strawberries, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and mature cheeses are recommended.

However, each patient has his or her own individual tolerance to food, so it is best to rely on the advice of the gastroenterologist and dietician in order to receive the most appropriate dietary recommendations.

Finally, don’t forget to take regular exercise, which is also good for intestinal health.

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