When it comes to IBS, the question we hear most is, ‘So, what can I eat?’

The answer, unfortunately, is not that simple. What works for one person, may not work for another. So, what can you do?

Get a diagnosis
IBS is a common disorder of the gut brain interaction leading to abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation. If you are experiencing symptoms please make an appointment with your GP, and don’t self-diagnose.

Once you have an IBS diagnosis, diet and lifestyle is the first line treatment.

Keep a 12-week diary
The IBS Network has designed a 12-week Wellness Diary where you can note how you are feeling and what you are eating which may help you better understand your IBS symptoms and identify any patterns that emerge. You can plan your weekly meals, read about the experience of others, and log your achievements and positives. You can buy the diary here for just £7.25 including postage and packing.

Complete The IBS Network self-care programme
An IBS diagnosis can be devastating and confusing. To help, The IBS Network provides a FREE self-care programme. The comprehensive course includes information about the nature, causes and management of IBS. You can access the programme here.

Members have access to more in-depth information here.

Check your healthy eating and lifestyle

  • Try to eat three regular meals a day.
  • Try not to skip any meals or eat late at night (smaller meal sizes may ease symptoms).
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two units per day and have at least two alcohol free days a week.
  • Reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks. Try to have no more than two or three cups a day.
  • Reduce your intake of fizzy drinks.
  • Drink at least eight cups of fluid per day, especially water or other non-caffeinated drinks.
  • Try to cut down on rich or fatty foods including fast food, crisps, chocolates, cakes and fatty meats.
  • Reduce your intake of processed foods and cook with fresh ingredients where possible.
  • Limit your fresh fruit and vegetable portions to three per day.

Work with a dietitian
Ask your GP to refer you to a state registered dietitian if you are struggling to make changes or if you are losing weight as a result of dietary restrictions.

Order your Wellness Diary here.

Find out more about IBS and diet here.