Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal condition associated with abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea.
About 10 to 15 percent of adults suffer from IBS, and only around half of these are diagnosed1. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and other problems related to bowel movements and the GI tract.2
While the exact causes of this condition are not well understood, diet, stress and the bacteria living in the gut are potential factors that trigger IBS symptoms. Even other factors such as how the brain and gut communicate, genetics and the level of certain hormones and other chemicals may also be involved in IBS. Because both internal and external factors influence IBS, lifestyle and nutrition habits can affect the condition.3
Certain foods or diets can make IBS symptoms worse. By avoiding foods that trigger IBS symptoms, keeping track of what is eaten and eating beneficial nutrients such as fibre, discomfort can be reduced. A healthcare professional may recommend a low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols) diet that is low in fermentable carbohydrates. Medications may be helpful in some instances, and new research on the benefits of probiotics shows that these may also be effective in people with IBS. GI health is a primary area of focus at Nestlé Health Science, and we are committed to finding and providing nutritional options to patients suffering from GI conditions.
- Grundmann O, Yoon SL. Irritable bowel syndrome: epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment: an update for health-care practitioners. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2010;25:691–699.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. American College of Gastroenterology website. patients.gi.org/topics/irritable-bowel-syndromeExternal Link Disclaimer.
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/. Accessed March 2015.