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How to Control IBS Without Medication

Updated on April 2, 2014

Control IBS Without Medication

Upon being diagnosed with IBS a GI specialist will most likely prescribe a medication to get things moving again. Taking medication for the first month, upon diagnosis, will help regulate ones system again while relieving the uncomfortable, and sometimes painful symptoms of IBS, but for those who desire not to be on medication for the rest of their lives can control IBS symptoms with a healthy diet (lifestyle change) and exercise.

What to Avoid

  • Refined foods, such as, breads, cereals, chips, and cookies.

  • Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose, the sugar substitute sorbitol, and carbonation can worsen IBS symptoms.

  • Diets that are too high in protein (lean meats will reduce IBS symptoms).

  • Too much fiber. Foods with insoluble fiber can worse IBS related diarrhea. Fiber found in the skin of fruits can worsen diarrhea symptoms.

  • Gas producing foods, such as, broccoli, onions, cabbage, beans, pretzels, brussels sprouts, bagels, wheat germ, raisins, and celery.

  • Large meals.

  • Fatty foods, especially fried foods.

  • Dairy (especially cheese).

  • Wheat or gluten.

What to Consume

  • A moderate amount of fiber (approximately 25g per day). Good sources of fiber are: whole wheat breads, oats, barley, brown rice, the flesh of fruit (as opposed to the skin), and dried fruit without added sugars.

  • Vegetables that are not gas producing (steamed vegetables are also easier on the digestive system).

  • Drink at least six to eight glasses of plain water a day.

  • Daily Vitamins.

A Healthy Diet (Lifestyle Change)

Discovering a healthy diet that suits not only ones lifestyle but minimizes ones flare ups is the utmost important factor in controlling IBS. Just as every person is different, every case of IBS have different triggers that intensifies and makes ones symptoms worse. Unfortunately the only way to determine which foods cause IBS flare ups in an individual is for one to become aware of their body, and to eliminate and/or decrease the intake of those particular food or beverage items.

Prevention Strategies

There are prevention methods one can take to ensure that their IBS is more controlled. A high fiber diet is important for those diagnosed with IBS, but too much soluble fiber can worsen symptoms related to IBS. A moderate amount of soluble fiber will create bulk in the colon preventing spasms and discomfort. One should be aware of nutritional labels before purchasing any foods, by avoiding foods with too much sugar, fat, artificial sugars, and preservatives will help prevent IBS flare ups. Another way to prevent discomfort and pain is to eat smaller portions more frequently instead of large meals less frequently. This will allow the body to digest more regularly and prevent constipation. One does not necessarily have to avoid all gas producing foods altogether, but one must decrease the amount consumed daily. Also, one can consume a small amount of fat per day as long as it is healthy fat found in whole eggs, avocado, raw olive oil, and coconut, but one must be aware of their fat intake and keep it at a minimal amount per day.


Exercise is also a critical component in ensuring one does not experience the painful symptoms of IBS. Since exercise boosts ones metabolism, exercise ultimately allows one to have normal bowel movements while ensuring a healthy physique. It is easy to get the body moving and integrating exercise into ones daily routine. If one lives close to work one can make a plan to walk or bike to work at least once a week. One can invest in some dumbbells and/or kettle balls of different weight to dedicate at least twenty minutes to a home workout when one has down time during the day. Exercise at least three times per week will reduce stress, boost ones metabolism, and regulate ones body to help prevent IBS flares.

Other IBS Triggers and Prevention Methods

Stress and Anxiety
practice healthy living, eat balanced and healthy meals in smaller portions more frequently, get regular exercise, and make sure to get enough sleep. Participate in fun and/or relaxing activities during “down time”. Planning ahead will ensure a sense of control to eliminate anxiety and stress.
Certain drugs (perscriptions)
become aware of the effects of each drug, consult with a physician about switching medication or what is best to take to relieve pain and discomfort caused by IBS.
Mentrual cycle
it is difficult to prevent symptoms during a womans menstrual cycle, but one can ease the discomfort and pain during this time. A physician can prescribe oral contraceptives and/or PMDD medication.
Eating too Quickly
eat small meals more slowly; eat with awareness.
Chewing Gum
stop chewing gum, eat healthy snacks instead.
Lack of Exercise
become more active and try to move the body for at least 30 minutes a day (of moderate exercise) or at least 20 minutes three times a week (for a heavier workout).
IBS can cause an extreme amount of discomfort in the lower abdomen. Learn how to control IBS without medication to relieve the pain and gain control.
IBS can cause an extreme amount of discomfort in the lower abdomen. Learn how to control IBS without medication to relieve the pain and gain control. | Source
Live a healthy and active Lifestyle to control IBS symptoms.
Live a healthy and active Lifestyle to control IBS symptoms. | Source

How I controlled my IBS with a Healthy Diet and Exercise

IBS can be very confusing and difficult to control. Learning what my body can tolerate was not a smooth path to follow, I hit bumps, rocks, hills, twists, turns, and pot holes along the way, but after time I discovered that a healthy diet of all natural and/or organic foods that I prepared and cooked at home were less likely to cause my stomach any discomfort. For quite some time coffee was causing discomfort, but eliminating coffee from my lifestyle proved impossible, so I made the switch to organic coffee which has served wonders for my digestive system. Eliminating pesticides, hormones, and additives in my food and beverages has proved to be a healthier option. For my body, I must consume 25g of fiber per day, and no more than 30g of healthy fats per day, a good amount of protein, while avoiding gas producing foods, foods high in wheat or gluten, and avoiding cheese and milk altogether. I strive to eat six to seven small meals a day. I also discovered that exercising at least three days a week relives the pain and discomfort related to my IBS and regulates my system (so that I am able to go to the bathroom like a normal person). Personally I found the medication prescribed was only masking my symptoms instead of allowing my mind to become more aware of my body. So I personally chose to not continue using my medication to control my IBS, but instead I chose to learn what my body can tolerate now that I have been diagnosed with IBS.


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