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Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common disorder of the digestive system. Symptoms for IBS can be wide-ranging, including stomach cramps, stomach ache, trapped wind, bloated stomach, stomach pain after eating, constipation and diarrhoea. Many people experience some, but not all, of the long list of symptoms. If you haven’t had an official diagnosis of IBS, it is important that you discuss your symptoms with a health professional.

IBS occurs when the function of the gut is compromised but the structure remains normal. The wrong foods and stress are two of the main triggers for IBS developing. A lack of digestive enzymes, low stomach acid levels, imbalance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria and yeasts, a high protein diet or too many sugary foods and fizzy drinks are some of the causes of bloating and other symptoms of IBS.

Stress impacts on our health in many ways and is often implicated in digestive problems. It is important to consider this when looking for triggers for your health concerns and to identify what changes you can make to manage your stress levels.

It is really important for people that have IBS to know that there is a lot that can be done to help the condition. It is not a case of looking for a cure for IBS but looking at the triggers for the symptoms and identifying what steps you need to put in place to help overcome them. Our one-day digestion workshops run by a leading nutritionist, behavioural change coach and complementary therapists look at the how to improve digestion. Receive expert advice on learn what is digestion and how to support your digestion system. Learn from our behavioural coach on how manage your stress levels and enhance your overall health and wellbeing with specialist techniques. For more information, see our digestion workshop.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in women. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in men.

Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as common in women as it is in men. Symptoms in men and women tend to be the same but, as detailed above, many people only experience some of the symptoms. These symptoms may change over time and you may also have periods of no digestive problems.

Stomach cramps, stomach ache, trapped wind, bloated stomach, stomach pain after eating, constipation and diarrhoea are all common symptoms of IBS. They can make you feel tired and restricted socially, as well as affecting your self-confidence. However, most people can take steps to put themselves back in control of their digestion. We teach you how to do that in our one-day digestion workshops.

IBS and diet. Food for IBS.

Food intolerances and sensitivities can be common triggers for IBS. Intolerance to wheat, dairy products and soya are all very common. You may also find that fatty foods upset your digestion. This is often due to your gall bladder not releasing enough bile into your digestive tract rather than an intolerance to fat. For every reaction that you experience, it is important to not just treat the symptoms but address why the symptoms have developed in the first place. This is the key to long-term improvements in your condition.

It is important to ensure you are drinking enough fluids throughout the day and ideally, restricting your intake of caffeinated, alcoholic and fizzy drinks. Choose soluble-fibre based foods and limit your intake of insoluble-fibre; for example try swapping wheat-based products such as bread for oat-based alternatives such as oatcakes.