Self-help: Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Some people learn to control the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by making dietary and lifestyle changes. The symptoms may improve if you follow a diet that is high in fibre and low in fat (see Diet and health). You may need to try several different approaches before finding one that helps you. Try the following:

  • Keep a food diary. Try to eliminate any food or drink that seems to bring on an attack of irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Avoid large meals; spicy, fried, fatty foods; and milk products.

  • If constipation is a problem, try gradually increasing your fibre intake. If bloating and diarrhoea are particular problems, reduce your fibre intake.

  • Cut out or reduce your intake of tea, coffee, milk, cola, and beer.

  • Eat at regular times.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Try relaxation exercises to alleviate stress, which is often a contributing factor.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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