Irritable bowel syndrome can cause many different symptoms. Most often, patients complain of vague abdominal pain and a feeling of discomfort. However, stool irregularities with constipation or diarrhea, flatulence, and a sense of fullness are also typical. In addition, many sufferers experience back pain, joint pain, and headaches.
Studies show that patients with IBS also often complain of:
Because the signs of IBS are so varied, it can easily be confused with other medical conditions. However, some symptoms speak against irritable bowel syndrome and point to another condition.
The following conditions can cause similar symptoms:
Irritable bowel syndrome is a widespread syndrome, especially in western industrialized nations. Women are affected more often than men, and irritable bowel syndrome can have different symptoms. That is, some patients have diarrhea again and again. Some patients tend to suffer from constipation. But some patients have recurrent abdominal pain or severe flatulence, or even mixed forms of these.
Our current understanding of irritable bowel syndrome is dysregulation in the intestinal nervous system. We assume that at this intestinal barrier, i.e., the boundary layer between the inside of the intestine, the immune system, and the nervous system, there are strong stimuli, the nervous system overreacts. This causes stretching stimuli for patients, caused by stretching of the intestine, food, or the formation of intestinal gases. These are felt very strongly as pain or can trigger diarrhea or constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome is relatively complex, which means that food intolerance also plays a role. However, we also know that patients who have had infectious colitis, i.e., an infectious inflammation of the intestine, for example, caused by bacteria or viruses, have a significantly higher risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome afterward. In other words, these inflammatory processes can lead to changes in the way stimuli are processed in the intestine. As the disease progresses, patients become particularly sensitive to stimuli from food.
In the therapy of irritable bowel syndrome, we now use a so-called multi-modal model. We try to combine different building blocks. One component is nutrition, which plays a critical role. We look at whether the patient has a food intolerance. This could be lactose intolerance or fructose intolerance, which aggravates the symptoms. That means the patient will get nutritional counseling to avoid specific triggers. Some patients also benefit from what’s called the Mediterranean diet. This is a diet where sugars that are difficult to digest are avoided.
However, relaxation is also essential for irritable bowel patients. This can be autogenic training, for example, and treated with herbal substances, such as: Phytotherapy with peppermint, caraway, fennel, anise, or coriander. But there are also reasonable indications that probiotics, i.e., the administration of live bacteria, can help these patients because we often see that disturbances in the intestinal microbiome can exacerbate such an irritable bowel syndrome.
Are you continually troubled with the pains linked with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and you need to end all your miseries for good? Then you should truly consider trading your regular Western-style diet with one that packs in all of the nutrients you need to combat IBS… The Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet has shown great promise for alleviating some of IBS symptoms, so this diet is proving to be a great natural way to deal with this affliction without medicating.
According to expert guesstimates, IBS affects 10% to 20% of the planet’s population. While a great majority of IBS sufferers only experience mild symptoms from time to time, about 5% of all IBS sufferers experience severe symptoms. Such symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating and cramping, wind, chronic trots, and constipation. Some even experience alternating bouts with constipation and diarrhea.
Therefore what causes IBS? Well, nobody knows for sure, but experts accept that it could have some connection with hyperactivity in the gut. This might be due to abnormal serotonin levels in the stomach, bacterial infection, stress, and anxiousness.
Some pros also reckon that IBS may be caused by eating meat, lamb, pork, soybeans, and wheat. In addition, consuming extremely greasy, oily, and spiced foods and some dairy products can also trigger the condition. Still, some individuals find that gassy drinks, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners can also bring on the symptoms.
Considering the limitations imposed by the condition on your diet, can you still stick to the diet laws of a Mediterranean-style diet without running into some significant troubles? Well, you definitely can!
While you’ll have to try not to eat foods made with whole grain, bran, or cereals because of their insoluble fiber content, your gut can still endure the insoluble fiber content from other foods. Bear in mind that different foods will affect you in other ways. Hence the perfect thing for you is to keep a catalog of the things that you can safely eat, and you’ll be on the way to sounder health.
In addition, research showed that eating fresh fruits and vegetables and ample amounts of olive oil and omega-3 rich fish is extraordinarily beneficial for IBS sufferers. Doesn’t this reflect the diet suggestions of the Mediterranean diet? Well, yes, it does. Considering these things, anyone will need to agree that the Mediterranean diet can help chase your IBS symptoms away. Isn’t this another reason why you should think about making the switch to a Mediterranean-style diet? If you want step by step instructions on how you can conquer IBS for good, have a look at the IBS Miracle.
If we were to ask our intestines what they like best, their answer would be Mediterranean cuisine. There are good reasons for this.
Intestinal health starts on the plate: After all, what we eat most influences how our digestive system feels. So there are numerous ways in our daily diet to impact digestive health positively.
Why Mediterranean cuisine is so healthy
Mediterranean cuisine’s immensely high health potential lies primarily in the highly successful mix of ingredients. Large amounts of vegetables, salads, and fruits provide a lot of fiber, vital for healthy digestion. Of course, it also contains essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Through frequent consumption of fish and poultry, this diet also provides us with valuable protein and many omega-3 fatty acids. Not to forget the highly healthy olive oil, which flows abundantly in almost all dishes and lubricates digestion. It is not for nothing that the official guidelines also recommend the Mediterranean diet to maintain the health of the digestive tract.
A valuable contribution to intestinal health
Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet pulls the levers for our health on many levels. Among other things, it prevents elevated levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity – all dangerous risks, and not just for cardiovascular disease. In addition, because Mediterranean cuisine promotes digestion and activates metabolism, it is also an effective protective shield for the digestive tract.
Many of these symptoms and diseases can be effectively prevented with support from a Mediterranean diet. These include constipation and heartburn, diverticula, sac-like protrusions of the mucous membrane in the colon, and irritable bowel syndrome, to name but a few. It has also been proven that Mediterranean cuisine can counteract many forms of cancer – including the dreaded colon cancer. By the way, Mediterranean cuisine offers the ideal “sick food” even for those who already suffer from diseases in the digestive tract, Mediterranean cuisine provides the perfect “sickness healing food.”
Avoid white flour
What the central organ of digestion does not like is white flour. This means no white bread and pasta made from wheat flour on the palate. The intestine can well do without these ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine. However, they disagree with it. Therefore, replace white bread with baked goods made from whole grains. It would be best to choose pasta made from whole grain instead of wheat flour.
Abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, and constipation are associated with IBS. When the intestines go permanently crazy, life can become a torment. Although irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is harmless from a medical point of view, this is sometimes of little comfort to those affected. Especially when it is suggested that it is purely psychological or “imaginary.”
Irritable bowel syndrome is not imaginary
First of all, it must be stated: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not an imaginary disease but an organic one. This has been sufficiently proven. It means there is a disorder in the intestine. And the distressing sensitivity of the digestive organs has a lot to do with what we eat. That, too, is certain.
What goes wrong with the irritable bowl?
The causes have not yet been conclusively clarified. However, several triggers have been identified. The intestine is complex and sensitive, with approximately 100 trillion bacteria and 100 million nerves.
In irritable bowel syndrome patients, numerous disturbances are found in the intestine, including Changes in the intestinal flora (microbiome), the immune system, the nervous system (altered perception of stimuli and pain), and inflammatory processes. In addition, in about 30% of those affected, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is post-infectious, i.e., the result of a previous infection, primarily if it was fought with antibiotics.
Symptom based diagnosis
A prerequisite for diagnosing IBS is gastrointestinal endoscopy to rule out other, more severe cases, for example, gastritis, peptic ulcers, or cancer.
According to the current ROM-IV criteria, IBS is present if the following features are met in the preceding three months:
Recurrent abdominal pain (at least one time per week) is associated with at least 2 of the following three factors:
Defecation (bowel movements)
Change in stool frequency
Change in stool consistency.
The symptoms must have existed for at least six months in total.
Irritable bowel syndrome is very multifaceted.
Diet for irritable bowel syndrome: Mediterranean diet or FODMAP diet?
Many irritable bowel patients have food-related complaints. For lasting relief, individualized and specialist-guided nutritional therapy is advised.
First, you have to determine which foods cause which complaints and what is good for you. A food diary is helpful. We can gradually work out an individual, adapted diet based on this. There is no standard therapy.
One of the dietary strategies recommended by the guidelines is a FODMAP-reduced diet because those affected often react very sensitively to certain sugar-like compounds. In addition, wheat products or gluten can also trigger symptoms.
The Mediterranean diet is the only diet for which a life-prolonging effect has been proven. It has proven its worth for centuries, not only in the countries around the Mediterranean. Scientific studies have shown that we in the more northern countries can also effectively prevent obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. During a bread test, an olive oil tasting, and a tasting with Mediterranean dairy products, we will see for ourselves in this course that it is pretty easy to combine health and pleasure.
The Mediterranean diet benefits all those who value enjoyable food and want to stay healthy into old age, including those who want to lose a few pounds. The Mediterranean diet is particularly beneficial for cardiovascular risk patients, diabetes, or people affected by lipid metabolism disorders, elevated blood pressure, high blood fat, or uric acid levels. In addition, people suffering from rheumatic diseases such as chronic polyarthritis or knee joint arthritis could significantly alleviate their pain. Some achieved complete freedom from pain.
Traditional Mediterranean cuisine has positive effects, among other things, on chronic inflammatory bowel diseases; (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), and even some cancers. In addition, especially in the gastrointestinal tract, allergic diseases such as asthma or neurodermatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, or retinal detachment in the eye.
FODMAP means non-absorbable fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols.
This sounds more complicated than it is. It refers to fermentable polysaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyhydric alcohols. These include fructose, lactose, and sugar alcohols such as sorbitol.
These are found in many foods and are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. This is because the blood insufficiently absorbs them through the intestinal wall. The residues then migrate to the large intestine, where bacteria ferment them. This leads to gas accumulation, which causes abdominal pain.
Studies with irritable bowel patients have shown that a diet low in FODMAPs significantly alleviates symptoms.
In addition to macrobiotics such as Innovall RDS, which build up the intestinal flora, the FODMAP diet, developed initially for IBD patients, has proven particularly effective for many irritable bowel patients.
Treating irritable bowel syndrome with FODMAP diet
The abbreviation FODMAP is composed of “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.” These are:
They can increase the osmotic influx of water into the intestine, causing diarrhea. In the large intestine, these carbohydrate compounds also cause increased meteorism during the bacterial breakdown, triggering flatulence. Another mechanism of action of the FODMAP diet is the reduction of gluten-containing foods and the resulting avoidance of food intolerance, which is present in many individuals with wheat products.
The table clearly shows that a very narrowly lived FODMAP diet severely restricts the foods allowed. As a rule, therefore, after about one month, patients with IBS will begin to reintroduce individual foods into the diet to investigate tolerance in this way. Then, after some months, an individual food plan can be provided in such a way whose effects on everyday life are manageable.
A randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 30 subjects published in the journal Gastroenterology has shown that a diet with a low FODMAP content compared to an average Australian diet can significantly reduce the main symptoms of IBS (flatulence, bloating, pain).
Similar results were obtained in a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology with 15 IBS patients (ROME III criteria) who received a diet with a high proportion of fermentable carbohydrates (50 g per day) or a low proportion (9 g per day). On days with high FODMAP content, it was found that gastrointestinal symptoms increased, and subjects felt fewer symptoms.
Further dietary advice for patients with irritable bowel syndrome
Scientists from the British Dietetic Association (BDA) have also published general recommendations for people with IBS in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.
In summary, a change in diet can provide relief for many irritable bowel patients, even without causal therapy. However, the study authors point out that such a significant nutritional change must be monitored as it deviates from a regular diet. In the first few weeks, one must ensure that no lack of nutrition develops. If you want step by step instructions on how you can conquer IBS for good, have a look at the IBS Miracle.