Can you treat IBS at home?

Irritable bowel syndrome is painful and uncomfortable, but fortunately, it doesn’t result in any permanent damage. When you speak with your doctor, let him or her know how long you’ve had symptoms and how severe they are. IBS typically causes abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. The gastroenterology team at West Hills Hospital can develop an IBS management plan that you can follow at home.

Making changes to your diet
Certain foods can make your symptoms worse. Your gastroenterologist may ask you to keep a food diary and a symptom log to determine which foods are your triggers. If you need to follow dietary restrictions, consider speaking with a registered dietician to ensure your meal plan still has all the necessary nutrients.

Some of the most common IBS triggers include:

  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Sweetening agents
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Managing diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea causes dehydration, so it’s important to sip water throughout the day. Eating the following foods may help:

  • Bananas
  • White rice
  • Peeled, mashed potatoes
  • Baked or broiled chicken
  • Chicken broth

Vegetables are an essential part of your diet. To reduce the possibility of vegetables triggering your symptoms, you should peel them, remove the seeds and cook them.

Managing constipation
Your gastroenterologist may recommend that you take a fiber supplement or stool softener. You can also include the following foods in your diet to help stimulate bowel movement.

  • Prune juice
  • Dried fruit (like dried apricots)
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Whole grain cereals and breads

Drink plenty of water to help ease constipation.

Reducing gas and bloating
Your food diary can help you identify foods that trigger gas and bloating. These commonly include:

  • Beans
  • Dairy products
  • Beverages with fructose or sorbitol

Your doctor may recommend taking an over-the-counter gas remedy. If the problem is caused by dairy products, you can switch to dairy-free alternatives or take a lactase enzyme product when eating dairy.

Gastroenterological disorders like IBS are one of our specialties here at West Hills Hospital . We provide the compassionate, individualized care you need to support your health. Call our hospital in West Hills at (818) 676-4321 for general information.

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