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Question
Posted by: Zee | 2011/11/22

IBS Diet

My gran, 83, has irritable bowel syndrome, can you advise on what type of foods she should be eating. She is experiencing severe constipation. Thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Zee
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) presenting with constipation in an older person like your Gran who you mention is 83, needs to be treated under the supervision of a medical doctor or a registered dietitian. The basic solution to this type of IBS would be to increase her intake of high-fibre foods. However older patients often find it difficult to consume large quantities of high-fibre foods because of problems with chewing and digestion higher up in the digestive tract. For safety's sake I would recommend that you ask your medical dr to prescribe a gentle laxative such as Fybogel. Harsh laxatives can cause constant diarrhoea and deplete your Granny's minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium and should be avoided. I would also recommend that she should consult a registered dietitian (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), to help her increase her dietary fibre intake gradually. It is very important that most patients with IBS should not suddenly start eating masses of high-fibre foods (Hi-bran cereals, wholewheat bread, etc), because their digestive tract needs to gradually get used to this increase in bulk. By suddenly going from 1-2 g of fibre/day to 30 g/day can cause extreme discomfort, bloating and even bowel obstruction. To increase your Granny's 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. But I would still caution you to do the introduction of the fibre under the guidance of a dietitian because of your Granny's age.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2011/11/23

Dear Zee
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) presenting with constipation in an older person like your Gran who you mention is 83, needs to be treated under the supervision of a medical doctor or a registered dietitian. The basic solution to this type of IBS would be to increase her intake of high-fibre foods. However older patients often find it difficult to consume large quantities of high-fibre foods because of problems with chewing and digestion higher up in the digestive tract. For safety's sake I would recommend that you ask your medical dr to prescribe a gentle laxative such as Fybogel. Harsh laxatives can cause constant diarrhoea and deplete your Granny's minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium and should be avoided. I would also recommend that she should consult a registered dietitian (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), to help her increase her dietary fibre intake gradually. It is very important that most patients with IBS should not suddenly start eating masses of high-fibre foods (Hi-bran cereals, wholewheat bread, etc), because their digestive tract needs to gradually get used to this increase in bulk. By suddenly going from 1-2 g of fibre/day to 30 g/day can cause extreme discomfort, bloating and even bowel obstruction. To increase your Granny's 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. But I would still caution you to do the introduction of the fibre under the guidance of a dietitian because of your Granny's age.
Best regards
DietDoc

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