Our expert says:
Dear Mary Ann
Patients with IBS tend to have individual reactions to foods. Two of the most important factors in IBS are a lack of dietary fibre and stress. To increase your dietary fibre intake and obtain tips about this condition, click on ‘Diet & Nutrition’ at the top of this page, ‘You are what you eat’ and “Healthy GI tract’. Read the articles on ‘Probiotics’ too because the use of ‘good microorganisms’ can help a lot in IBS. Try Bifidoflora which you can buy at health shops. If you suffer from flatulence and bloating, you will have to experiment with the foods you eat that may cause problems with a spastic colon (raw onions, garlic, cucumber, green peppers, very spicy foods and condiments, gas-cold drinks, fruits that contain pips such as guavas, figs, etc). As mentioned above, this is often an individual reaction and you will have to keep a food diary to see what foods cause this problem and then cut them out. If you find this difficult, please consult a registered dietitian who will work out a specific diet for your condition. (Visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). When you visit your dietitian please discuss your need to gain weight with her/him. In addition you can also read up about weight gaining on the above mentioned 'Diet and Nutrition' site by clicking on 'Nutrition Basics' and 'Weight gaining'. Companies like Nestle, among others, make meal replacement supplements Phone the Nestle Consumer Services at 0860 09 6789 and ask about Nutritional Supplements to boost your energy intake without aggravating your IBS. You can purchase liquid meal supplements at most chemist shops. Talk to the pharmacist about your need to gain weight and see which products he or she will recommend for a patient with IBS. Your doctor will also be able to prescribe medicines which can relieve the flatulence such as Bevispas, so chat to your doctor about such medications.
To relieve stress I would recommend that you should learn relaxing techniques, how to do deep breathing exercises and some form of physical exercise which is also relaxing, such as yoga.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
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