When it comes to managing IBS symptoms, smart eating is your first line of defense. Doing the low-FODMAP Diet is an amazing way to learn what foods trigger your symptoms AND what portion sizes keep your belly calm.
But sometimes supporting strategies are needed, which is why I'm doing a 3-part series on Calm Belly TV to help you deal with the 3 major symptoms of IBS:
Fun topics, right!? Okay, they may not be fun, but there's a lot you can do to deal with these symptoms besides just watching your intake of high-FODMAP foods. That's what I'll be covering in the series.
If you're not familiar with Calm Belly TV, it's my weekly live video chat on Facebook every Wednesday at 5:45 PM central time. I cover a topic that's usually a frequently asked question about FODMAP and IBS, and then I always take time to answer your questions.
Click here to follow Calm Belly Kitchen on Facebook so you don't miss the next episode of Calm Belly TV.
Want to get even more support from people who know what you're going through? Click here and request to join the Calm Belly Kitchen Crew, our private Facebook group!
Not on Facebook? No problem, I always upload CBTV episodes to my YouTube channel! Now onto Part 1 of the series:
3 Ways to Deal with Constipation (and 1 thing not to do)
Watch the video to go deep on this topic, or keep reading to get the main points.
Just the key points:
First thing's first: Calm Belly Kitchen is an educational resource and doesn't replace personalized medical advice. Check with a doctor before starting any new dietary treatment or supplement.
Let's recap: A low-FODMAP diet can help decrease constipation a lot, but additional treatments and strategies are often needed.
Why? FODMAPs are one of the major causes of IBS symptoms, but many other factors play a role in your digestion:
- The food you eat (fiber, fat, etc)
- Your hormones
- Bowel motility (how fast food goes through your system)
- Life stress
In my experience and in my work with clients, I've seen that learning your personal trigger foods makes a huge difference. Still most people need supporting strategies to deal with constipation.
3 Strategies to Manage Constipation with IBS
1) The food you DO eat is important, so include a variety of fiber:
- Insoluble fiber: Adds bulk, pushes stool through the bowels; found in fruit and vegetable skins and whole grains
- Soluble fiber: Softens stool; found in fruit, veg, legumes, nuts and seeds (flax and chia are especially good for constipation)
- Resistant starch: Feeds the good bacteria in your gut with prebiotic fiber; found in under-ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, and legumes (canned, rinsed lentils and chickpeas are great low-FODMAP options)
>>> Water: Acts as a stool softener; important if you're taking soluble fiber products such as Metamucil
2) Fiber supplements
- Metamucil and similar products contain soluble and insoluble fiber
- Ground psyllium contains soluble and insoluble fiber
- Heather's Acacia Fiber contains only soluble fiber, which is thought to promote optimal bowel motility >>> works for both constipation AND diarrhea
3) Magnesium Citrate
- Helps relax bowel spasms so it does not cause a sense of urgency unless you take a very large does
- Has a gentle osmotic effect...so it pulls water into the bowel, softening stool so it's easier to pass
- Recommended not to exceed 900 mg/day
- Experiment to find a dosage that works for you
One Thing NOT To Do To Manage Constipation
Stimulant Laxatives (such as ExLax)
- Only use for a limited time and exactly as directed
- Stimulant laxatives are addictive because they reduce your natural bowel contractions and train your body to be dependent on their irritant effect
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
Be sure to join the CBK Facebook group so you get reminders before each episode of Calm Belly TV!