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Diet and Nutrition

Eating for irritable bowel syndrome

01/17/2007

Question:

I have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrom and none of the medicines i have been suscribed have worked such as zelnorm*. Can u give me an idea of some of the foods that r good to eat and to stay away from? Also is eating alot of high fiber foods such as oatmeal a good idea?

Answer:

Thanks for your question.  Irritable bowel syndrome is a very individual disease, which can be exacerbated by many things, including stress.  For most people, a healthy diet, which includes high fiber foods, is recommended.  You may find that your condition worsens with foods or beverages containing caffeine, so you may want to avoid these.  Your best bet is to make dietary changes slowly, so that your bowels can get 'used to' having more fiber.  Add only 1 new fruit or vegetable to your diet per day.  Be sure also, to drink plenty of water so that the fiber will pass easily through your gastrointestinal tract.

I suggest keeping a food diary.  If you find that one food has made your condition worse, eliminate it from your diet.  You may wish to seek the assistance of a Registered Dietitian for more individualized meal planning.  Your doctor can refer you to one, or you may locate one on the American Dietetic Association web site (www.eatright.org).  Good luck.

* Learn important new information concerning the medication Zelnorm (tegaserod maleate)

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati