with diarrhea as the predominant symptom may find they are sensitive
to lactose, too much fruit, and sorbitol, a type of sugar.
Eating soluble fiber found in psyllium seed husks, whole grains, fruits,
and vegetables is good because it forms a gel in the gut that can
slow gut movement and decrease pressure. Insoluble fiber can also
slow the gut by retaining water by bulking up stool. If you have bloating or gas you may do better limiting beans and
vegetables in the cabbage family. If you want to increase movement
of the gut, try caffeinated coffee or dark chocolate. Take a pass on
animal fats which tend to intensify gut sensations. Also try eating
many small meals spread out over the day instead of 3 large ones. 2. Peppermint oil. Peppermint has been a mainstay of treating an
upset stomach and may work in IBS by relaxing the smooth muscle
lining the gut. A few capsules of peppermint oil may calm cramps.
3. Probiotics. This strategy has been a very promising treatment.
Foods and supplements containing live bacteria cultures of
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium not only keep the natural gut flora in
balance, but they may also reduce inflammation, a factor that might
increase gut sensitivity. Look for yogurt containing live cultures, and
fermented foods such as tempeh and Korean kimchi also contain
4. Mind-body techniques. The brain-gut connection makes IBS
particularly amenable to mind-body therapies. In fact many patients
who have IBS also suffer from depression and other psychiatric
disorders. Psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and cognitive behavior
therapy such as biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and
stress management can help settle the gut.
5. Chinese herbs. A well-controlled study of standard and individualized
Chinese herbal formulations offered symptom improvement to some
patients with IBS.
6. Acupuncture. Acupuncture can influence gastric emptying and acid
secretion to settle an active gut.
7. Exercise. Nothing gets the gut moving like a good fast walk.