Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder characterised by abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits which are not associated with any abnormalities seen on routine clinical testing.
The symptoms are often lower abdominal pain, bloating associated with alteration of bowel habits, and abdominal discomfort relieved with defecation. IBS can have a knock-on effect on the function of the liver, gallbladder and kidneys, which in turn gives rise to nutritional deficiencies; thus making the condition worse.
Poor eating habits such as skipping meals, low intake of fibre and fluid, excessive fatty food intake, sensitivity to milk and other dairy products, and excessive caffeine and alcohol need to be addressed as a first step in helping relieve symptoms in IBS.
The most common dietary treatment for IBS has been a high fibre diet. While this is still a positive recommendation for many sufferers, especially those who suffer from constipation, some will not benefit from an increase in dietary fibre, and in some cases the symptoms may even worsen. As with any change in diet the increase in fibre should be gradual, involve a variety of fibres and an adequate fluid intake



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