IBS with diarrhea: How to ease symptoms
IBS that mainly occurs with diarrhea is referred to as IBS-D. Diarrhea is defined as a change in the frequency or consistency of stools. Symptoms frequently associated with diarrhea include abdominal pain and discomfort, abdominal bloating, urgency to go to the bathroom and loose stools.
Note: If you experience any of the following, please contact your GP as this could indicate another medical condition.
- Blood in stools
- Unintentional weight loss
- Family history of bowel cancer, celiac disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Night-time diarrhea
- Chronic diarrhea (lasting more than 2 weeks)
Diagnosis of IBS with diarrhea
IBS is diagnosed by a healthcare professional based on symptoms and stool patterns. The Bristol Stool Chart is used to categorize the type of stool. There is a total of 7 stool types, and each differ by their consistency. Diarrhea is categorized as type 5, 6 and type 7. A normal stool should be type 3 or 4 as they are easy to pass. Type 1 and 2 indicate constipation.
How does your poo compare with the chart below?
Impact on your life
There is no doubt that IBS with diarrhea can have a huge impact on your life. The unpredictability of diarrhea may cause embarrassment and self-consciousness. This often leads to the avoidance of social situations where there is no bathroom nearby, not eating for hours before or during an important event and even missing work. The tips in this blog will help you effectively manage IBS with diarrhea.
Tips to ease IBS with diarrhea
1. Dietary Management
IBS with diarrhea can improve by temporarily reducing intake of fiber. Swapping wholegrain bread for white bread, brown pasta / rice for white pasta / rice reduces the bulk of the stool and decreases the transit of gut contents (less diarrhea). Other high fiber foods to reduce include sweetcorn, nuts and seeds.
Foods that reduce IBS with diarrhea
Adding fruits like ripe banana, kiwi, strawberries, grapes and citrus fruits to your diet helps gel your stool together and reduces diarrhea. Oats, ground flaxseed and chia seeds are a great option to have at breakfast if you want to ease IBS with diarrhea.
Drink more water
Diarrhea causes a significant amount of water in the body to be lost. To prevent dehydration, aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. This can easily be achieved by carrying a water bottle with you to work, school, the gym etc. as a reminder to have a sip! The water in cups of coffee and tea also counts towards your fluid intake however the caffeine in these could worsen diarrhea. My previous blog on How to Deal with IBS covers this in more detail.
Identify triggers of IBS with diarrhea
Many people report the onset of IBS with diarrhea upon ingestion of certain foods (eg, fried fatty foods, caffeine). Some people can easily identify the foods or drinks that cause diarrhea whilst others struggle to do so. If you cannot identify the cause of your IBS with diarrhea, keep a diary of your symptoms and what you have to eat and drink. This can help you and your dietitian to pinpoint what exactly irritates your gut. If you are considering completely removing a food group from your diet it is best to consult a dietitian first. This will ensure that your diet is nutritionally adequate.
For more tips on how to manage IBS including dietary changes, rest and exercise read my blog: How to deal with IBS .
2. Stress relief
It is hard to avoid getting stressed out these days as we live in such a fast-paced environment. Thankfully, there are many effective techniques available to manage stress. Simple breathing exercises help the mind and body realign. Exercises like walking and yoga are beneficial for gut health. Practicing mindfulness enables you to become fully present in your day. Regularly incorporating these techniques into your life will reduce stress levels and improve symptoms of IBS with diarrhea.
For a more detailed overview on how to manage stress please read my last blog: IBS and stress – try these 3 practical tips.
IBS relief program
IBS coaching offers an IBS relief program in English . The IBS relief program consists of 5 main pillars namely: awareness, eating, exercising, energy and resting. With this complete program you’ll discover how you can get rid of your stomach / intestinal complaints, with lasting results, in a way that suits you personally. We always treat everyone individually, focusing on you, your personal situation and your specific complaints. This is the only program you need to regain control over your intestinal complaints.
If you would like to find out more about Janna Koopman’s work as an IBS dietitian and coach, leave a comment below. Do you want more personalized advice? Please contact Janna for a free consultation.