Treatment for IBS can include dietary changes, getting regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, taking fiber supplements, taking over-the-counter medications like laxatives, and medications prescribed specifically for IBS, such as alosetron and eluxadoline (via the Mayo Clinic). Dr. Lee focuses on “a revision of one’s diet.” She says, “Your physician may recommend a higher-fiber diet, cutting out potentially inflammatory foods with gluten, and following something called a low-FODMAP diet.”
FODMAP is an acronym for many different carbohydrates: Fermentable Oligosaccharides (fructans and galactans), Disaccharides (lactose), Monosaccharides (fructose), and Polyols (sugar alcohols). “These are typically additives in processed foods that can cause bloating and gas once it passes through the digestive tract, which interacts with the body’s natural probiotics,” says Dr. Lee. All the bacteria in our body, whether good or bad, can get disrupted by these foods.
Dr. Lee suggests taking high-quality supplements to re-align your body’s probiotics. She also recommends getting enough fiber. “What you do want to focus on is fiber from natural products and foods,” she explains. “Fiber also comes in various forms, soluble and insoluble, which should be eaten in good proportions.” According to Dr. Lee, you should add fiber little by little so as to not overwhelm your gut and cause even more gas and discomfort. “Some say to focus on ultimately eating more than 40 grams daily, but you have to be careful with titrating up. Start slow and go up 5-10 grams of fiber weekly to reach your goals.”