Mayo Clinic – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

In my pursuit of trying to figure out these symptoms of IBS I keep experiencing I have found the best information thus so far on the Mayo Clinic website. The only reference I could find about the interaction of exercise and IBS is that exercising is good for IBS.

Mayo_Clinic_Wellness_Solutions_for_IBS_hero_imageThe Mayo Clinic defines Irritable Bowel Syndrome as:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a chronic condition that you will need to manage long term.

Even though signs and symptoms are uncomfortable, IBS ā€” unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease ā€” doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

Only a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle and stress. Others will need medication and counseling.

Jumping right to “Lifestyle and Home Remedies” I discovered:
In many cases, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome. Although your body may not respond immediately to these changes, your goal is to find long-term, not temporary, solutions:

Experiment with fiber. When you have irritable bowel syndrome, fiber can be a mixed blessing. Although it helps reduce constipation, it can also make gas and cramping worse. The best approach is to slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet over a period of weeks. Examples of foods that contain fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. If your signs and symptoms remain the same or worse, tell your doctor. You may also want to talk to a dietitian.

Some people do better limiting dietary fiber and instead take a fiber supplement that causes less gas and bloating. If you take a fiber supplement, such as Metamucil or Citrucel, be sure to introduce it slowly and drink plenty of water every day to reduce gas, bloating and constipation. If you find that taking fiber helps your IBS, use it on a regular basis for best results.

Avoid problem foods. If certain foods make your signs and symptoms worse, don’t eat them. These may include alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and sodas, medications that contain caffeine, dairy products, and sugar-free sweeteners such as sorbitol or mannitol.

If gas is a problem for you, foods that might make symptoms worse include beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Fatty foods also may be a problem for some people. Chewing gum or drinking through a straw can lead to swallowing air, causing more gas.
Eat at regular times. Don’t skip meals, and try to eat about the same time each day to help regulate bowel function. If you have diarrhea, you may find that eating small, frequent meals makes you feel better. But if you’re constipated, eating larger amounts of high-fiber foods may help move food through your intestines.

Take care with dairy products. If you’re lactose intolerant, try substituting yogurt for milk. Or use an enzyme product to help break down lactose. Consuming small amounts of milk products or combining them with other foods also may help. In some cases, though, you may need to stop eating dairy foods completely. If so, be sure to get enough protein, calcium and B vitamins from other sources.

Drink plenty of liquids. Try to drink plenty of fluids every day. Water is best. Alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate your intestines and can make diarrhea worse, and carbonated drinks can produce gas.

Exercise regularly. Exercise helps relieve depression and stress, stimulates normal contractions of your intestines, and can help you feel better about yourself. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you exercise. If you have other medical problems, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Use anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives with caution. If you try over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, such as Imodium or Kaopectate, use the lowest dose that helps. Imodium may be helpful if taken 20 to 30 minutes before eating, especially if you know that the food planned for your meal is likely to cause diarrhea.

In the long run, these medications can cause problems if you don’t use them correctly. The same is true of laxatives. If you have any questions about them, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

This full article can be found at: Mayo Clinic IBS

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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28 Responses to Mayo Clinic – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  1. I have a couple of clients with IBS and they insist that their workouts really help. I like the Mayo Clinic for information on many conditions and health-related subjects. Thanks for the post!
    –Joan šŸ™‚

  2. Sandy says:

    Yes … One of the natural remedies that is now a part of my everyday life is psyllium husk. I capsule myself to avoid sugars, ‘natural flavours’ which are a gmo product 99% of the time and I use gmo gelatin free capsules.
    I use 100% psyllium husk. That’s it that’s all.

    • I will check this out. Psyllium seed husks, also known as ispaghula, isabgol, or psyllium, are portions of the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata, (genus Plantago), a native of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They are hygroscopic, which allows them to expand and become mucilaginous.

      Psyllium seed husk are indigestible and are a source of soluble dietary fiber. They are used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea. They are also used as a regular dietary supplement to improve and maintain regular GI transit. The inert bulk of the husks helps provide a constant volume of solid material irrespective of other aspects of the diet or any disease condition of the gut. Some recent research[1] has shown they may be effective in lowering cholesterol[2] and controlling certain types of diabetes.[3]

      • Sandy says:

        Yes sir! Bang on.

        Aka Metamucil – without the marketing expenses transferred to the product and you can control the ingredients.
        Metamucil adds flavours and other junk.

        You’ll get it under control … Approach with caution – pork, cabbage family, broccoli, dairy and GMO in general.
        I can’t stress enough a good Quality probiotic .. Health food store. Needs to be refrigerated.

        Once your gut flora is in balance and you have a good grip on keeping things ‘in transit’ as your reading has said, things like cabbage and broccoli etc., won’t bother you like they probably do now … But milk is always an issue for me, but you’re free of milk so you should be good there.

        Trash the yogurt and do your bowels a favour – trade it in for good probiotics šŸ™‚


      • I am backing away from the yogurt. šŸ™‚

    • cyndilenz says:

      excellent advice. psyllium husks are also known as prebiotics.

  3. Blimey Bill, I honestly do hope you get this sorted soon and it isn’t affected by your training.
    I cannot see how it would be but then the body is a weird old thing we live in….!

  4. suzewannabe says:

    I had IBS like symptoms years ago. The cause was a modern antidepressant like Celexa. Messed with the gut serotonin.

    • Yes, I have heard about certain medications reaping havoc on the gut. It seems while they help with certain symptoms there is always something else that falls out of balance. I am glad that you don’t have to deal with that anymore.

  5. webbermd says:

    I discovered MSG and Aspartame were my trigger. Many food products hide MSG, monosodium glutamate, under names such as “natural flavors.” It is very difficult eating out; many restaurants serve it in the processed foods they buy without knowing it. I have also eliminated drinking milk. I am doing great, except for the occasional food poisoning at restaurants.

  6. Tony R says:

    Hang in there Bill and thanks for the post. I am going to try Sandy’s approach.
    Tony R

  7. Great post! I’ve had IBS basically since birth, so it’s been a long process of trial and error to find out what helps and what makes it worse for me. I agree that both exercise and lots of fluids are vital. Getting enough daily fiber (especially from fruits and veggies) is also important.

    What isn’t often mentioned is that sugar is a huge irritant and should be eliminated. It absolutely transformed my gut once I got rid of sugar. (I quit sugar over four years ago.) I never used to be able to eat cabbage, eggs, cheese, and a whole bunch of other things before because they would cause so much trouble. But now without sugar in my diet, I can have all of them without trouble. In fact, cabbage actually now aids my digestion!

    If you are lactose intolerant, milk and yogurt need to be cut out completely. Small amounts of aged cheese may or may not be tolerated because they have basically no lactose in them. Though often lactose intolerance is part of a large dairy intolerance. So that’s also a matter of trial and error. Leafy green veggies actually have lots of calcium, so it is possible to go dairy-free and still get your daily calcium requirements.

    Another important helper is probiotics. For those who can’t have dairy, the best way to get them is through naturally fermented veggies (not the regular stuff you get at the grocer – that stuff is made with vinegar. Still good for you, but it doesn’t have probiotics). You can even make them at home quite easily. Note: if you start eating fermented veggies, start very slowly. The gut needs to adjust as yeast begins to die off, so too much too soon can cause irritation as well.

    It’s also worth trying to cut out all or most starches to see if that helps. Try cooking “paleo” foods for a couple of months and see how you feel.


    • Wow! Excellent Advice. I am cutting our sugar starting today altogether.

      • Wonderful! Be prepared to feel under the weather (headaches and other aches, etc.) for up to a month while your body detoxes. But not to worry, it gets MUCH better after that. I haven’t craved sugar for years, and have no interest in eating it again. Also be sure to read the ingredients of everything you buy/eat. Sugar is hidden in most foods these days – even many meats.

        Keep fruit around the house to help with cravings. And I can share the sugar free chocolate recipe I use if you are interested. It’s very easy.

      • I will be prepared. I have to limit fruits do to type II diabetes and am allergic to chocolate. As I keep my sugar intake pretty low right now it won’t be too hard to give it up completely.

      • No chocolate? I’m so sorry! I’ve had to give up a lot of yummy foods over the years, but chocolate would be a tough one. Do you use stevia? It is a zero on the glycemic index and actually helps the body to process glucose. Though I still recommend using it sparingly. Anything sweet can cause some sweet cravings for some people. But anyway, it sounds like it shouldn’t be a difficult transition for you if you are already limiting your sugars.

      • Yes, I am at the point where I don’t even crave sweet things anymore other than occasionally.

  8. New Journey says:

    another really informational post…thanks Billy….I love the WP community on here…everyone is so helpful and willing to share there stories….kat

  9. Lori Carlson says:

    There are so many triggers for IBS… the ones that are the worst for me are MSG, artificial sweeteners and dairy. I’ve had to completely give up dairy. My high fat diet doesn’t seem to bother me, so I honestly believe it was the high fat dairies that were the trigger. A good work-out also helps me. Good luck Bill!

  10. cyndilenz says:

    Hi. I use Mayo clinic for my patients because they give good everyday advice. Here is the issue. When we talk IBS we are talking about your gut. This is also where 80 percent of your immune system. You keep hammering away at that immune system your going to have other issues. There were a lot of different responses because every person is different in facrt I really think IBS is one those garbage pail diseases when we can figure out what’s going on. So the best thing to do is look at it as a bunch of symptoms and take it from there. I usually get people an order for a probiotic to start off with. Many times people were on an antibiotic and it messed up the normal flora in the stomach. You shouldn’t take probiotics forever. in two or three week spurts then your stomach should feel better. and I also like the prebiotics the psyllium husks. I discovered when I got shingles and was part of the treatment i used to get rid of it in record time.

  11. cyndilenz says:

    the take home message is keep you gut healthy because if you don’t it leads to malabsorption and other issues. Even stress can cause with your gut.

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