T Nation


About a year and a half ago, my girlfriend was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). The main complications she had included chronic constipation, severe cramping and bloating. She has identified the majority of foods that have caused the constipation, and have eliminated them from her diet. Unfortunately, this means she has had to eliminate many of the high fibre, green leafy vegetables. Now, the main problem she has is severe bloating. She will go from having sliced abs in the morning, to being incredibly bloated later on in the day. Since we started going out, my girlfriend has made some incredible lifestyle and nutrition changes, and has worked very hard at getting herself in shape. However, the onset of IBS has caused a lot of dietary problems for her as she continues to try to eat healthy. I was just wondering if there was anyone else out there that has had to deal with IBS, and if they had any suggestions on eating healthy with the disease. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Has she cut out grains from her diet? And dairy products? They could be the main culprits.

I’ve dealt with ulcerative colitis, which I know is not the same. Lets just say that fiber is particularly effective on me…

I’ve got it controlled with sulfasalazine and monitoring my sleep patterns.

My girlfriend has Crohn’s disease, which is related. She has to stay away from fiber, mostly. Cashews are okay though, and split pea soup, which she loves (?), even though it’s fairly high fiber. Also, try to avoid the corticosteroids such as prednisone. Fish oil also helps. She benefits from supps that speed recovery time and antioxidants, due to increased free-radical production. Also, water intake has to stay high, which she doesn’t find too pleasing, but that keeps the bloating at bay. Boy, becoming buried by B’s.

Just to be clear here, Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis together are “Inflammatory Bowel Disease” or IBD. Irritable bowel sydrome, IBS, is a completely different process and condition.

I wanted to say that it is sweet that you would think about posting for her!! You rock!
I know there has been a link to emotional stress. High strung, worrie warts tend to suffer!!!( Nerves atach all along the digestive track)

Another clue could be chronic CANDIDA!!! (Lack of good bacteria)
Both would be worth looking into.
P.S. Allot of people I know use BIOSTRATH DROPS to help calm it down ASAP!
Wishing you the best E~

I have several friends with Colitis, and although it’s not the same as IBS here’s what they’ve found to be true about diet.

Calcium helps A LOT. All take calcium supplements and have learned that it’s really important that they don’t miss a dose. All take it right before going to sleep.

Fiber just has to be taken in small doses and it’s usually ok.

When colitis flares up, minimizing intake of wheat products also has helped get it back under control. (i.e. a Gluten Free Diet)

Besides that I recently saw something on the local news about a correlation between fructose intake and IBS. The general gist of the study indicated that high doses of fructose - like a soda’s worth - triggered IBS in a lot of people. If her diet is in order, she’s probably not drinking much soda, but are there other sources of fructose in her diet that she could eliminate?

I’d like to reinforce what Natedogg said about grains. I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 13. Fortunately I didn’t suffer the same bloating that she does, but I found that when I cut out grains or limited it to about 1 serving a day or oatmeal that things improved. Peanuts, cashews are highly allergenic, and alot of people are also sensitive to commercial dairy (I myself do much better without dairy).

You should also be wary of all sugars, they cause a whole lot of inflammation in the bowel.

I also noticed that when I first cut out grains and added more vegetables that I was a big gassey for a while but that passed after three weeks. I think the body jsut needs to get used to them.

But all that said, it’s all about trial and error. I’ve had the condition for about 12 years now and it doesn’t bother me at all. You just have to make a note about what specific foods cause problems and weed them out. It takes time and patience. Good luck.

I believe that high and especially chronic refined sugar consumption also tends to lend itself to candida.

Honestly, look at the foods that are outside the scope of human evolutionary biology. Of course, reinforcing what has been said already; grains, legumes, dairy. Just as some people are more sensitive to the high level of carbohydrates (in particular, processed carbohydrates) tat were never part of the human evolutionary diet, many people tend to be more sensitive to these foods a la allergic reactions, digestive problems, etc.

So really, it would be in her best interest to try cutting out each of these things for a period of time and seeing if her problems get better. Or, even better, (in case it’s more than one thing), and cutting one out would show no noticable difference), she could cut out or HEAVILY decrease the amounts of all this stuff in her diet for a while, then slowly start adding back in as is relevant, and monitoring her changes over time.

Hopefully, this will help.