Doctors recommend that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) increase their dietary fiber intake to manage symptoms.
IBS is a group of gastrointestinal symptoms that can significantly affect a person’s lifestyle.
Symptoms usually ease as an individual learns to manage the condition.
This article explores the different types of dietary fiber and their effects on IBS. It also discusses how to get enough fiber and when to speak with a doctor.
No evidence suggests that any particular fiber or diet can cause, prevent, or cure IBS. However,
Fiber is a plant-based nutrient known as bulk or roughage, which aids digestion and improves bowel movement. It is present primarily in plant foods, such as:
Scientists believe that IBS may be due to low dietary fiber intake, and consuming a fiber-rich diet following a doctor’s recommendation can help.
Soluble fibers are water-soluble plant-derived foods. Digestive bacteria break them down into gases and by-products, such as short-chain fatty acids.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is not soluble in water and adds bulk to stool, improving bowel movement as food passes through the digestive tract. Some examples of insoluble fiber include the following:
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
Fermentable fibers are readily fermented by colon bacteria, while nonfermentable fibers are not.
Some examples of fermentable fibers include:
Examples of nonfermentable fibers are:
Soluble and highly fermentable dietary fiber
The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal disorders (IFFGD) notes that consuming too little or too much dietary fiber can lead to IBS.
A person should consult a doctor to determine the correct dietary fiber intake for their condition.
In addition to eating more fiber, a doctor
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are high in fermentable dietary fiber. A low FODMAP diet is low in these substances.
A person with IBS can get adequate fiber by following a low FODMAP diet. This
|proteins||fish, beef, chicken, lamb, prawns, eggs|
|whole grains and starches||oats, corn, lentils, quinoa, potatoes, cassava|
|fruits||kiwi, limes, guava, grapes, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries|
|vegetables||carrots, eggplant, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, spinach, pumpkin, bell peppers, kale|
|nuts||almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts|
|seeds||sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds|
|dairy||lactose-free milk, Greek yogurt, other low fat yogurts|
|oils||coconut oil, olive oils|
|beverages||peppermint tea, green tea, water|
|condiments||salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, paprika, ginger, mustard, pepper|
A person should contact a doctor if they are experiencing symptoms of IBS. These
- abdominal pain
- mucus in stool
- changes in stool shape
- irregular bowel movement
A person should also consult a doctor if symptoms do not improve after making the necessary dietary modifications.
IBS is a gastrointestinal condition that causes discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract.
Research suggests that sufficient intake of dietary fiber can improve IBS symptoms. Additional evidence indicates that consuming a low FODMAP diet can significantly benefit people with IBS.
Doctors recommend a low FODMAP diet as a safe and inexpensive nutritional therapy. If a person has symptoms of IBS or does not improve after following the recommended dietary modification, they can speak with a doctor.