For many of us, eating is something we do without giving any thought to what we eat or where we are when we eat. For millions of Americans diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), however, mealtime has become something they have to plan ahead for and know that afterwards, they’ll suffer.

Living with IBS is no picnic and while the condition isn’t completely restricted by gender (studies show that women are more likely than men to have it), it also isn’t restricted by age. Even children can live with this uncomfortable condition.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) presents with symptoms like gas, painful bloating, pain in the abdomen, fatigue and often alternating bouts of constipation or diarrhoea. Some sufferers must be near a bathroom immediately after eating.

But the good news is that recent developments by researchers indicate that studies show there are identifiable reasons behind the symptoms. The reasons are found in the substances of the food eaten.

Those substances are the basis of the diet known as the Low-FODMAP diet. The acronym for FODMAP means Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, and Polyols.

Certain foods containing these substances are known as gassy foods, which might not cause any problems in a person without IBS, but for those who do have the condition, can cause extreme discomfort.

They produce higher levels of gas and abdominal bloating and research has shown that these foods are not as easily digested, putting more water into the stomach and intestines. What happens is that these foods aren’t tolerated well in the small intestine and end up being fermented within the body.

This fermentation happens quickly because of the intestinal bacteria and causes the bloating. Bloating within the intestines is one of the theories thought to be the culprit behind some of the IBS discomfort.

Usually, when someone who suffers from IBS eats trigger foods, the food acts as a catalyst to start the symptoms associated with IBS. On this FODMAP diet, by not eating the foods that can trigger the consequences of having IBS, patients won’t have the same ferocity or length of IBS symptoms.

Some of the foods high on the FODMAP scale are apples, watermelons and peaches while bananas, strawberries and grapes are on the low end of the scale. A full edition of the diet can be received from a dietician or through online websites.

By making dietary changes, a person with IBS can improve their pain and discomfort in a matter of days by eliminating foods that cause the symptoms. Patients who stick to a limited food diet do end up feeling better.

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