How to get rid of IBS

First of all, hello!
If you ended on this blog, chances are you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or maybe one of your relatives does. Maybe your doctor was not able to properly identify your problem.
For the last 3 years, as an IBS sufferer myself, I have tried many ways to deal with this condition. When I started, my everyday life was all about IBS: I often had to cancel activities with friends, my mealtimes were perfectly calculated so that my crises would not happen while going out, I would suffer like hell almost every day.

Fortunately, those days are over for me, I am now almost symptom free. It was a long struggle, but worth it.
So you probably want to know what I would advise as the most efficient methods to deal with irritable bowel syndrome.
Before I answer this, I need to know where you stand: are you ready to make real changes in your life? Or do you just want a complement that will reduce the symptoms?

Easy and quick ways to deal with IBS

Ok, so you are not ready for a big change yet. Maybe your symptoms are just mild, maybe you need time before you take such a decision. that's ok, it took me 2 years before I decided to make the jump. Here is how I can help you:
  • L-glutamine (for IBS-D sufferers) : Incredibly effective if you have diarrhea. Start with 1g, 30 minutes before meals. You can increase to 2g. Be careful, it tends to excite, give bad temper or alter sleep patterns. But if you stay below 5g per day, you should be fine. Can be found online, or in sports stores.
  • Psyllium (for IBS-C sufferers) : take 2g before meals. You can increase the quantity. Psyllium is a plant and contains lots of fibers. Really effective against constipation. Can be found online.
  • Calcium (for IBS-D sufferers) : Take 500mg before meals. Some people find this more efficient than l-glutamine. Calcium supplements are very easy to find.

Getting rid of IBS

If you are motivated enough, I found ways to make almost every symptom disappear.
  • The low.-carb diet: Works incredible. Just eat less than 70g of carbs per day. Be warned, the first week is tough to go through. After a month, I sometimes forget I had IBS in the first place! Although low-carb is enough for lots of us, you may want to still stay away from classical trigger foods, like fructose, lactose and gluten. I haven't had one single bout of diarrhea since starting it. Read my two months under the low-carb diet review.
  • The low-FODMAPS diet: This one is becoming very popular. I was under it for 3 months, with excellent results, but symptoms came back when I was under heavy stress. But it may be easier to follow than the low-carb diet, so you may want to go for it.
When trying one of these methods, stick to it for at least two weeks, these need time to have an effect.

In this article, I wanted to give you a quick start to deal with your IBS the most efficient way possible. Of course, there are many other ways, like hypnotherapy, the Standard carbohydrate diet that are worth mentioning. But I'll let you discover them by browsing this blog!
Oh, one more thing, I love to hear success stories, so please leave a message when you try something out! Even if it did not work, it is worth knowing. I started this blog with one objective: if I could help just ONE person reading this feeling better, it would make my day.
Looking forward to hearing from YOUR success!

33 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks a lot for your maintaining this blog.
I am 21 years old and have debilitated by IBS for the past 4 years. I will be starting on SCD soon and am very grateful to you for the honest and clear documentation of your experiences!

Jeremy,
Singapore

Guillaume said...

Thanks a lot for the kind words! Best of luck on your attempt.

Kate Wells said...

Hi Guillaume,

Im 22 and have recently been diagnosed with IBS, having had symptoms for the past four years. I was wondering whether you could explain the differences between IBS-D and IBS-C as I can't find much on the web.

Greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kate (UK)

Guillaume said...

Hello Kate,

IBS-D is diarrhea predominant IBS. IBS-C is constipation predominant IBS. A few people have both in alternation, this is known as IBS-A, for Alternating.
So depending on the type of IBS you have, the supplements you want to look for are quite different.

Guillaume

Anonymous said...

just one question:
am a D-IBS

does the Calcium alone without the FODMAP can control my diarrhea ?

Guillaume said...

Hello,
It's not really possible to say. For some calcium is very effective, and if you have mild symptoms it could be enough. For others the only solution is a change in diet.

Anonymous said...

Hello I've just been having these these pains in my stomach so what would be best for me

Guillaume said...

hello,
Hard to say, I would advise to get tested for food intolerances as a first step. Or maybe eliminate lactose, gluten and fructose for one week and see how it goes.

Anonymous said...

OK thanks

But what I wanna know is what would be the best medication for me to take to fix this IBS
Thank you for your words

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am 14 years old and i have had IBS-D for the past 3 years and it has been so completely awful. nothing has worked and i will try the low carb diet now to see if it helps.. thanks!

Domen Leskovec said...

Hello, Guillaume.

I find your blog really useful. I am medical student from Slovenia and I have had IBS-D for 3 years. I read a lot of papers and came to the same conclusions as you - low carb and FODMAP.

My story
It all started with food poisoning in 2008. One month later I developed reactive arthritis (both ankles and left knee) and rheumatologist presribed sulfasalazine. Arthritis passed after 4 months. In june 2010 sulfasalazine was discontinued. In a week or two really bad IBS-D started. This was time of exams and thought that stress was to blame (but at the same time I began eating a lot of whole wheat bread and dairy - yogurt and kefir).

Low carb high fat (minimal plant food) was the first thing that really helped me. With that came the ability to fast - for 18 to 24 hours, which I is really helpful after crisis. Eventually I discovered the FODMAP diet.

Now I combine all 3 strategies: I fast after crisis happens (usually after eating with family or friends - can't control the ingredients in food). Then low carb, high fat for a day or two (eggs and bacon, fatty meat - beef ribs, sardines and butter) - virtually no plants. When things calm down and bloating passes, I add FODMAP safe foods - mainly (very ripe) bananas, cooked potatoes and cooked carrots - I can eat a lot of these. Then I also add moderate amounts of citrus fruits (oranges, mandarins and lemons) and hard cheese - parmesan. I consume only small amounts of FODMAP friendly vegetables - few leaves of lettuce, few olives, one tomato. Recently I found out I can safely eat homemade blood sausage (made from blood, meat, white rice or buckwheat). If I can, I cook all my food at home.

Using combination of these 3 strategies all my symptomes go away in 1 to 3 days. Based on what I have read, I believe the main cause of IBS is altered gut flora (in my case as a consequence of food poisoining). These 3 strategies don't cure the cause of my IBS, but using them I can succesfully avoid symptoms.

Sources:
Effects of fasting therapy on irritable bowel syndrome.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17078771

A Very Low-carbohydrate Diet Improves Symptoms and Quality of Life in Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693479/

FODMAP principle
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=fodmap

I have read your blog and got new ideas that I am going to test: vitamin D and calcium.

Thank you for your effort on this blog. I really appreciate it.

Guillaume said...

Hello Domen, many thanks for your very interesting message. I would also recommend you to have a go at l-glutamine.

Anonymous said...

Is white rice ok for you? Actually I eat 625g of white rice a day, and meat, eggs, fish, oils. And I feel great, but I think the same would be without rice. There is one thing I can't understand - probiotics cause diarrhea.
All the other sources of carbohydrates, like vegetables, fruit, potatoes, pasta, bread are very bad for me.
I'll try calcium and l-glutamine, I hope it will help :)

Guillaume said...

Yes, white rice is the only high carb food that I find easy to digest. If one does not want to cut on carbs, it's a great way to get some. I react to probiotics quite poorly as well!

Anonymous said...

You are saying that it is the only high carb that you can eat without problems. Is there any other carbs, which are not "high" and may be ok for us?

Did you try maltodextrin? It's one of the ingredients of mass gainers.

Guillaume said...

Well, lots of moderately high carb foods are ok for me, like bananas, or cashew nuts for example. I used to think that white beans and lentils were ok, but I know consider I am better off without them.

Michael Stierstorfer, MD said...

Hello Guillaume and followers,

I am a dermatologist in suburban Philadelphia and thought you would be interested in research my group reported in the March 2013 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, "Food Patch Testing for Irritable Bowel Syndrome". We found that by performing skin patch testing (a simple, painless procedure we often perform in evaluating patients with a sometimes difficult skin rash called eczema) to many different common foods and food additives on patients with IBS or IBS-like symptoms, we were able to identify foods to which many of the patients reacted, and when they avoided eating these foods, their IBS symptoms significantly improved or disappeared. We feel this is a significant advance in the understanding of IBS and have proposed that some people with "IBS" really have "allergic contact enteritis"; in other words, these same foods are causing a similar reaction in the intestine as they do on the skin, with the resulting inflammation affecting intestinal motility, causing the IBS symptoms. You can google our article to learn more.

I am happy to answer any questions about our research.

Anonymous said...

Guillaume, did you try peppermint tea?
You wrote that probiotics are bad for you. For me too. It may be something like SIBO.
I started eating bread again, because I don't have time to cook white rice, potatoes and millet all the time...
Eating bread gave me gases and diarrhea, but when drinking peppermint tea with every meal (and chewing food much longer) - it's great. I think peppermint is killing bacterias in small intestines or stopping their reproducing. And I feel much better, maybe that's because of less toxins (which bacterias produce).
It seems like I've got a little constipation now, but I don't eat fruit and vegetables at all, yet. I'm going to add small amounts of them from low FODMAP list and constipation should be gone (normally I never have constipation, but diarrhea all the time).
Did you have any experience with that? It's so simple and tasty...

Lindsey said...

Hi Guillaume, your blog makes really interesting reading. I've just started my own blog http://healthy-happy-ibsfree.blogspot.co.uk/

I am currently doing an eliminations diet with the aim of reintroducing foods to find what works for me. There is SO MUCH conflicting advice out there, it's boggling!!! I have to keep reminding myself to listen to my own body and work out what works for me. IBS is really individual.

Guillaume said...

Thanks for all the comments, everyone! Concerning pepperming tea, I regularly drink some of it. I can't say I have experienced less symptoms, as the low-carb diet eliminates them. But it is a well known help for IBS sufferers.

Anonymous said...

hi Guillaume i only really get IBS D when im stressed out or anxious about something so im not sure weather its anything in my diet triggering it i was on mabeverine for a while and that did it help , if it is anxiety related how do i stop it ?

Guillaume said...

Hi,
Unfortunately I am still struggling with this part myself. Known methods are hypnosis, relaxation methods, and meditation. You may want to have a look on the hypnosis related articles on the blog.
As for your IBS, I used to be like you, no problem unless stressed. It got worse over time. So my advice would be to try to eat low FODMAPs foods. Of course you don't need to be very thorough about it, but keep in mind that IBS can become worse. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi I have been an IBS sufferer for over 20 yrs... have been very affected by these debilitating sitaution. I even ended up Divorced after a 24 yr marriage 30 yr relationship... with whom was my first and only till still now! I have thought about suicide sue to this , feel trapped , as if I am alive but cant live!! I am paranoid about doing anything outside my home! I have been thru therapy and still no help my mind just doesnt seem to think about anything but this pain! I did see some differance while on the Lolw carb diet a few yrs ago but didnt really think it was the diet , however I still lived with the fear, which is wht bothers me the most, will I ever be able to get this fear out of my head?

Guillaume said...

Hi Lissette,

I'm terribly sorry to hear how much you suffered from your condition. First of all, I don't think the fear can go away without controlling the symptoms on a day-to-day basis. For that, I highly recommend that you start a low-fodmaps, relatively low-carb diet (You can have a look at the associated articles on the blog). After two weeks, you should feel like a different person!

As for the fear of going out, it's unfortunately something that we all have to some degree, and I am still working on it. You may want to have a look at the hypnotherapy articles on this blog. I had written a post on reddit about what I am trying to do right now concerning this issue:

_ progressive desensitization: go out regularly. Start easy, like a few minutes close to your house. Then increase the difficulty.
_ meditation is known to help with stress-triggered responses a lot
_ hypnotherapy. There is a good program called "the ibs audio program" that helped a lot of people. For me it didn't do much, but it's worth a try.
Overall, I suffer from the same problem, but I found out that I need to fight it, otherwise the fear will reinforce itself. Also we need to keep in mind that it's going to take years to train our subconscious.
I'd also want to ask you a simple question (and for others reading this as well). We are all afraid of going out, granted. But in your whole life, how many times did you really have an accident? How many times were you not able to find a toilet in time? For me, the answer is surprisingly low. It's 1. And nobody noticed anything.

Hope this helps a bit!

Anonymous said...

Hi.... Your questions were also asked by the therapist and when I REPLIED which was had an accident once.. but had episodes being far from home a few times and thts what made it worse for me, with the fear.. since the pain is so unbearable... She said to me< And yet you survived> I know I did but yet it is still hard.. and I know I shouldnt sound so negative but it is so hard I also think I cause it half the time because I do worry and think about so much I make myself stress and feel as if it triggers it! I am fine when am home < this is my safe haven> however any mention of going out forget it right away I feel anxious and scared.. and I do have to go out I have things to do tht noone can do for me... However I do them close to home and at times when I know there no traffic , not busy where am going and stuff like tht... and tht amone makes me mad!!!! I want to live a normal life do things, go anywhere and interactive with no worries..I love the out doors and being out when I felt normal! Anyhow will start the lowcarb diet as soon as I can get all I need and let you guys knw how its going.. Thank you so much for having this Blog and lets all pich in to help eachother with this since we are the only ones tht truely understand how we feel!

nasir iftekhar said...

Nice and informative especially the point of low carb diets although its tough to start with...anyways will please visit my post on this subject as I also think that there is one more killer final solution for all types of IBS. Well please let me know how you think, I am not doing marketing..already getting enough traffic just wana help people.

Read it here: http://www.blogoftheworld.com/life-style/item/346-final_treatment_of_ibs.html

thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi I got the l-glutamine today se how tht works out , however I have one question , can I take tht and calcium at the same time or do one or the other? cuz I am taking the calcium for afew days now and have not gotten any IBS episodes so , so far so good. Now I want to try it with the l-glutamine.

Guillaume said...

Hi,
Well, both tend to fight diarrhea, so both at the same time could trigger constipation. if you feel fine with calcium alone, I wouldn't recommend adding anything.

Anonymous said...

So far so good and yes am a lil constipated but feel alot better ... now all I have to get rid of is the anxiety and fear of becoming ill!! Thanl u so much for your help havent drunk immodium in 2 weeks now!!

Guillaume said...

Glad to read that!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog. I've been suffering for many years and my case seems a bit more difficult than the average. I remember attempting low-carb and even zero-carb back in 2009. It didn't work for me.

There is a typo: Where it says Standard Carbohydrates should be Specific Carbohydrates.

I've been following the SCD since 2009 but, although it helped, I am far from cured.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog, and for keeping track of all the options out there. Have you looked into the no/low starch diet recommended for people who are HLA-B27 positive? The kickas.org forum is a good place to start. I'm interested to hear your experiences on that.

Marvin said...

This is really an informative blog! The first step really to fight IBS is to make your body healthy. Need more nutrients to energize your body. Then after avoid foods that triggers your symptoms. Me as much as possible I tried to avoid oily foods since it is hard to digest. But one of food that triggers my IBS were junk foods or process foods. Make notes fellow sufferers. Being vigilant to what you eat is one of the key to minimize your symptoms!

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