IBS, otherwise known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, causes a range of miserable symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, cramps, gas, and pain. It’s a very common disorder and most people are told by their doctor to “get on with it”. However, if you suffer from intense abdominal pain and severe diarrhea most days, living with IBS is no run at all. Medications can provide IBS relief, but it is a good idea to try to cure the root cause of your problems.
A Gluten-Free Diet
The first thing you should do is take a look at your diet. The exact causes of IBS are not always clear, but many IBS sufferers have found that eliminating gluten and grains from the diet completely cures their distressing symptoms.
Coeliac and Gluten
Coeliac disease is a serious health condition. If left untreated, it can cause bowel disease and long-term health problems. Coeliac patients are allergic to gluten. If they eat anything containing gluten, they suffer an immune response within 24 hours. This causes inflammation and pain. When you have IBS, you are not allergic to gluten, but you are very likely to be sensitive to gluten; and grains in general. Cutting out gluten could ease your symptoms and restore your gut health within weeks.
Going gluten-free is not a quick fix. It can take several months for all traces of gluten to be removed from the body and if you accidentally eat anything that contains gluten, your body will react accordingly.
Going GF is Not Difficult
Following a gluten-free diet is a lot easier these days. Supermarkets all have “free from” sections where you can find a range of gluten-free foods, including bread and cakes. Most GF bread is not great. It tends to be dry, crumbly, and not terribly tasty. If you love bread, have a go at baking your own GF bread. The internet is full of recipes and you will come across plenty of bloggers writing about their gluten-free journey. If you can’t spot anything, ask the server if they can prepare something for you. Jacket potatoes, omelets, fish, salad, and simple foods are generally safe.
Gluten is often hidden in sauces and pre-prepared dishes. Get into the habit of reading the labels and watch out for malt vinegar and anything containing flour or grains. Oats are safe to eat, however, have porridge for breakfast, or eggs.
Eating Out on a GF Diet
Eating out is not a problem, either. There are a number of big restaurant chains that include gluten-free dishes on their menu.
A gluten-free diet has become something of a fad in the last couple of years. It is now trendy to say you are “gluten-free”, “dairy-dree”, or vegan. However, trendy or not, eliminating gluten from your diet could completely eradicate your IBS symptoms, so if medication isn’t helping or you are fed up or avoiding social occasions because your gut won’t behave, going gluten-free is definitely worth a try. If, after three months, you haven’t noticed any improvements, then perhaps gluten is not the problem. If this is the case, try the FODMAP diet instead, as you could be intolerant to other foods, too.