Ten Quick Food Tips to Improve IBS

Condition affects millions over 55

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, Recipe Doctor
Courtesy of Elaine Magee

Twice as many women are likely to suffer from it than men. Up to 20% of Americans suffer from it. It’s irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that challenges millions of people over the age of 55. Perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, for example, have a high prevalence of IBS-like complaints. 

About a third of people with IBS have the diarrhea-predominant type (sometimes characterized by frequent, urgent stools), a third have chronic issues with constipation, and a third alternate between the first two types. The main symptoms experienced by people with IBS include a mixture of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Irregular pattern of defecation at least 25% of the time
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Mucus in stools 
  • Abdominal bloating and swelling
  • Feeling of incomplete emptying of the rectum
  • Gas attacks
  • Intensifying symptoms during menstruation

The bad news with the “irritable bowel,” which is more sensitive and reactive than a regular bowel, is that the cause is unknown and no real cure is available. The good news is that the condition won’t kill you or impair your health, and gastroenterologists have found that diet changes DO help most people. So, with that in mind, here are 10 quick food tips to improve IBS.


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