IBS czyli zespół jelita drażliwego

What is IBS?

IBS – irritable bowel syndrome – is a chronic, idiopathic, functional condition of the digestive tract, manifesting itself by discomfort of the digestive tract, abdominal pain, disturbed rhythm of bowel movements, such as diarrhoea, constipation or diarrhoea with constipation. Approximately 25% of the population suffers from IBS, mainly women.

Diagnosing IBS

Disorders accompanying IBS can also be of organic origin (e.g. coeliac disease). Diagnosis of IBS must be preceded by a number of tests to exclude organic disorders. Please remember that IBS can be diagnosed only and exclusively by a physician.

Pathogenesis of IBS

Its aetiology is unknown. The following may contribute to IBS:

  • SIBO, i.e. small intestinal bacterial overgrowth,
  • irregularities in microbiome,
  • visceral sensitisation dysfunction and intestinal motor dysfunction,
  • psychological changes,
  • previous intestinal infections.

Multi-level treatment of IBS: diet, supplementation, pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy

Depending on an individual case, treatment of IBS often consists in multi-level therapy and collaboration of several specialists. The treatment is primarily based on introducing a special diet. A diet especially recommended in this condition is a temporary LOW FODMAP diet. It is also worth using supplementation, which is a very individual issue, however, probiotics, sodium butyrate and herbal preparations, e.g. Iberogast, are basic preparations that can be the most beneficial. Pharmacotherapy involving muscle relaxants or in certain cases even antidepressants is a frequent element in treating IBS. Psychological therapy is another level in treating disorders such as IBS.

Diet in IBS

A diet especially recommended in the irritable bowel syndrome is LOW FODMAP diet, i.e. diet with low quantities of easily fermenting polysaccharides, disaccharides, simple sugars and polyols. However, LOW FODMAP diet cannot be used all the time.

LOW FODMAP diet is divided into 3 stages.

Stage 1 – consisting in strict diet eliminating products rich in FODMAP:

  • lactose,
  • legume seeds,
  • rye and wheat,
  • fruit containing high quantities of fructose, such as apples, plums, apricots, mango, pear,
  • leeks, beetroot, onions, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, garlic,
  • honey, agave syrup, glucose and fructose syrup, polyols (e.g. maltitol, mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol),
  • pistachios, cashew nuts,
  • mushrooms.

Stage 2 – consists in gradual introduction of individual products and monitoring the reaction of the organism.

Stage 3 – consists in creating an individual base of well-tolerated products and maximum personalisation of diet.

Numerous studies show that LOW FODMAP diet seems efficient in treating some patients with IBS. Introducing LOW FODMAP diet and then stepping back gradually from it and personalising the diet should always be supervised by a dietician.