What is IBS? How is it treated? What is the best probiotic for IBS? Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or spastic colon, is a painful, embarrassing disorder that affects roughly 20 percent of adults in the US. About 70 percent of those are women. The disorder causes severe abdominal pain and bloating. Also, chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, or a combination of both occurs hits sufferer.
The cause of IBS is a complete mystery to doctors and researchers. Researchers think hormonal changes cause IBS. So, it disproportionately affects women. Additionally, other theories include an overactive immune system and an imbalance the neurotransmitter Serotonin in the gut.
There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but there are treatment options. Doctors can prescribe anti-diarrheal and antispasmodic medications for diarrhea and abdominal pain. Also, some dietary changes and supplements can ease or eliminate symptoms.
It seems that the latest trend in treating IBS includes regularly ingesting probiotics. A mixture of live bacteria strains and yeasts, probiotics may help to balance gut flora. As a result, this can help improve digestive issues. Let’s see which are the best probiotic for IBS.
Best Probiotic for IBS Diarrhea
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is an isolated strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus that was removed from the intestinal tract of a healthy person and replicated. This probiotic strain is the most studied probiotic in existence. Research has verified that it successfully treats diarrhea. This powerful strain of probiotic is sometimes prescribed to treat IBS with diarrhea. In addition, other conditions that it treats are Crohn’s Disease, lactose intolerance, Rotavirus in babies and children, antibiotic-induced diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea. Interestingly, it also adis diarrhea as a side effect of chemotherapy.
Best Probiotic for IBS Constipation
Lactobacillus rhamnosus includes a wide variety of probiotic strains. Other strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lc35 have been shown to produce regular bowel movements. This aids those who suffer from constipation. This particular strain has been shown to be effective by increasing mucous secretions and converting bound bile salts into free bile salts. Then, these free bile salts act to pull water into the colon. Most importantly, in combination with the increased mucous secretions, it softens stool and aids in regular bowel movements.
Best Probiotic for IBS Combination
Bifidobacterium infantis is a combination of two species of the most dominant bacteria present in the gut of healthy infants and young children. Medical specialists recommended this strain for overall gut health and balance. Combination IBS can cause alternating periods of constipation, followed by periods of diarrhea. Bifidobacterium infantis can ease both symptoms and keep digestion at a healthy point somewhere in the middle. This one may be overall the best probiotic for IBS.
Idgard is another popular dietary supplement for treating IBS symptoms. However, this product does not contain probiotics. Ibgard is a brand name for simple peppermint oil. Peppermint oil has antispasmodic and analgesic properties. It works to help ease painful IBS intestinal cramping. Both diarrhea and constipation have reportedly decreased for many who have tried peppermint oil as an IBS treatment. Ibgard reviews submitted to unbiased medical websites are actually quite promising for those suffering uncontrolled symptoms.
Diets to Treat IBS
Certain foods can trigger IBS symptoms. For others, symptoms are triggered by eating in general. As a result, several specific diet plans have been developed to help those diagnosed with IBS identify and avoid foods that may trigger their worst symptoms. Changes in fiber intake may also ease or increase bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The FODMAP Diet is the most popular, recommended, and scientifically studied diet for people who suffer from food-triggered IBS. This diet divides each type of food into high FODMAP and low FODMAP categories. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Each FODMAP is a variation of fermentable carbohydrates, which have been shown to cause digestive upset in people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A basic list of high FODMAP foods includes:
Oligosaccharides: Garlic, onions, legumes, rye, and wheat.
Disaccharides: Lactose. (milk, yogurt, ice cream, and soft cheeses)
Monosaccharides: Fructose. (sweet fruits like mango and figs, honey, agave nectar)
Polyols: Certain vegetables and berries, artificial sweeteners.
(For a complete list of high and low FODMAP foods, a printable FODMAP Diet PDF is available.)
The FODMAP diet is broken down into three stages. During the first stage, avoid all high FODMAP foods completely until digestive symptoms have resolved. This can take anywhere from three to eight weeks. Next, the second stage involves slowly reintroducing high FODMAP foods. You’ll need to keep track of which ones cause digestive upset. Finally, the third stage consists of modifying the diet to fit which high FODMAP foods trigger your specific IBS symptoms. Avoid these trigger foods. Therefore, you can enjoy the high FODMAP foods that you can tolerate, as they contribute to healthy gut flora.
Extreme elimination diet
An extreme elimination diet for identifying IBS trigger foods is a very strict, but short ordeal. For seven days, you will eat a diet containing almost no fiber whatsoever. Rather, you will exist on rice, peeled potatoes, poultry, fish, rice milk, and water. After these seven days have passed, you will reintroduce possible trigger foods one at a time. Each day, you will try one portion of a potentially triggering food and write down any symptoms in the hours following. Reintroduce all the foods you normally eat, and you will be left with a list of trigger foods to avoid in order to keep Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms at bay.
Doctors frequently advise those diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome to eat a high fiber diet. However, this one-size-fits-all approach is flawed. The truth is, a person with IBS may suffer predominately with diarrhea, constipation, or may alternate between both. Furthermore, a high fiber diet can result in diarrhea, along with painful cramps and bloat that accompany it, much worse. Therefore, those who suffer from IBS diarrhea should eat a low fiber diet during flare-ups, and a moderate fiber diet otherwise. In addition, avoid raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains during a diarrhea flare up, and slowly reintroduce them after symptoms improve.
IBS Constipation, on the other hand, does call for a high fiber diet. To reverse constipation, eat fibrous fruits and vegetables raw, and up the whole grains. Also, consider adding a fiber supplement. Be sure to up water intake along with fiber to avoid gas and bloating. Adjust fiber according to your current symptoms if you have Combination IBS. So, increase fiber intake during periods of constipation, and decrease fiber intake during periods of diarrhea.
Living with IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a life-altering ordeal for many people. Shame, embarrassment, and even depression are common side effects of this disease. Doctors can’t test for IBS, a silent disease. As a result, lack of a concrete diagnosis increases the risk of someone who is suffering real and legitimate symptoms.
Too often, these symptoms end up dismissed by friends, family, and employers. Sometimes even medical professionals ignore the symptoms. Take your health into your own hands after an IBS diagnosis, or suffer from the disorder. Keep in mind, the best probiotic for IBS, along with fiber supplements and dietary restrictions do not require a doctor’s authorization. They can sometimes be more effective than prescription drugs for treating this elusive disease.