Dietary ideas for constipation predominant IBS

By Tara Whyand, Specialist Dietitian & Nutrition Advisor to

In this article, I discuss dietary ideas which are commonly prescribed for constipation predominant IBS. This is where the main symptom of IBS is constipation, and it can occur with or without wind.

Eat enough fibre
Try to gradually increase your fibre intake. Fibre sources include wholegrains, oats, vegetables, fruit and linseeds (flaxseeds). Linseeds help to soften stools and make it easier to pass. Try adding one tablespoon per day of brown or golden linseeds (whole or ground) to breakfast cereal, yoghurt, soup or on salad. Have a small glass/teacup (150ml) of fluid with each tablespoon of linseeds taken. If wind is an issue do not exceed the portion size, avoid eating extra wheat bran too.

Drink enough fluid
When you increase your fibre intake, you also need to increase your fluid intake. Although evidence for improvement is limited, some people who are clearly not drinking enough to keep stools moist will benefit from drinking over two litres a day. If you are losing fluid from heat or exercise you’ll need a little more to replace your losses. Fluids must be non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated, and drunk regularly throughout the day.

Movement such as walking or jogging is great for getting the bowels moving and helping to ease trapped wind. Exercising everyday can have a dramatic impact on body confidence because the abdomen is likely to look less bloated. Some people find that floor exercises and pilates/yoga can also help.

Make time for yourself
Some people don’t make enough time to go to the toilet because they are in a rush. It is important to go when your body tells you or you may find it more difficult later on. It may also make wind build up which can cause unwanted distension.

Try a Probiotic
Try a high strength multistrain probiotic. If other dietary suggestions haven’tt worked, having a daily probiotic often helps. Bacteria have many roles in the bowel, one is to provide moisture to stools so they pass easily. There are also medications to soften stools which can be provided by a GP.

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