Our expert says:
Mel, in general, a normal diet should be followed. Patients with abdominal distention and increased flatulence may benefit from dietary reduction or elimination of beans, cabbage, and other foods containing fermentable carbohydrates. Reduced intake of apple and grape juice, bananas, nuts, and raisins may also lessen the incidence of flatulence. Patients with evidence of lactose intolerance should reduce their intake of milk and dairy products. Bowel function may also be disturbed by the ingestion of sorbitol, mannitol, fructose, or combinations of sorbitol and fructose. Sorbitol and mannitol are artificial sweeteners used in dietetic foods and as drug vehicles, whereas fructose is a common constituent of fruits, berries, and plants. Patients with postprandial abdominal pain may try a low-fat diet supplemented with increased protein.
Increasing dietary fiber can help many patients with IBS, particularly those with constipation. A bland bulk-producing agent may be used (eg, raw bran, starting with 15 mL [1 tbs] with each meal, supplemented with increased fluid intake). Alternatively, psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid with two glasses of water tends to stabilize the water content of the bowel and provide bulk. These agents help retain water in the bowel and prevent constipation. They also can reduce colonic transit time and act as a shock absorber to prevent spasm of the bowel walls against each other. Fiber added in small amounts may also help reduce IBS-induced diarrhea by absorbing water and solidifying stool. However, excessive use of fiber can lead to bloating and diarrhea. Fiber doses must therefore be adjusted to individual patient needs. Let me know as a new question if you have more questions. Good luck.
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