If you have IBS, then your GP will work with you to find the best treatment. They will also talk to you about ways you can manage the condition to reduce its impact on your daily life. Some of this advice will be diet-related.
So, for example, your doctor will typically talk to you about foods that are good for IBS and foods that are bad for IBS. They'll also talk to you about your fibre intake. While you may be wary of taking in too much fibre because of the effects it has on your digestive system, it's still important to get enough in your diet.
However, fibre takes various forms, and the type you eat can affect your IBS. Get the right mix and you could control your symptoms more effectively. What do you need to know?
Understand the Different Types of Fibre
Fibre can either be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibre breaks up when it comes into contact with water. Insoluble fibre doesn't.
Each type of fibre has a different effect on your digestive system and bowels. Soluble fibres tend to make bowel movements softer and wetter, while insoluble fibres typically bulk them up. In some cases, IBS sufferers can use different types of fibre to manage bowel movement problems.
Understand How Fibre Can Help Your IBS
People who suffer from IBS typically suffer from diarrhoea and constipation. Some only have one of these problems; others fluctuate between the two. Both symptoms can be debilitating and embarrassing to live with.
You may find that controlling your fibre intake more precisely can help alleviate both diarrhoea and constipation problems. This involves using fibre that targets the specific symptom.
So, for example, if you have diarrhoea, then it may help to cut down your intake of insoluble fibre. This kind of fibre can increase the frequency of bowel movements which could make your diarrhoea worse. On the other hand, insoluble fibre can help you deal with constipation more effectively. This fibre bulks up bowel movements, which may make them pass through your system more easily. If you add soluble fibre to the mix, your bowel movements could also get softer, which makes going to the toilet easier.
To find out more about different types of fibre, their effects on your bowels and their food sources, talk to your doctor. They can help you find the right dietary mix to supplement your IBS treatment plan.