IBS Awareness Month

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects approximately 15% of the United States population, causing abdominal pain and changes to the frequency or appearance of your bowel movements. It also commonly causes cramping, bloating, and gas buildup. Although these symptoms can occur in anyone with this condition, they occur more commonly in people with the following forms of IBS:

IBS-C, also known as IBS with constipation, is mainly characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, infrequent bowel movements, and difficulty passing stool. IBS-C is not life-threatening, but it can be painful and disruptive to your daily activities. It also has no cure and is generally treated through dietary and lifestyle adjustments.

IBS-D, also known as IBS with diarrhea, can also lead to constipation, abdominal pain, gas buildup, and bloating. However, certain other symptoms, such as diarrhea, watery stools, and some degree of loss of bowel control occur approximately 25% of the time in people with this form of IBS, with constipation occurring less than 25% of the time. IBS-D triggers can include stress or certain food products, such as milk, wheat, red wine, or caffeine.

IBS-M, also known as IBS with mixed bowel habits, presents symptoms associated with both IBS-C and IBS-D, as well as common IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain. Bouts of constipation and diarrhea alternate between one another in people with this condition.

Post-infectious IBS generally occurs after an infection in the intestines. The most common culprit is gastroenteritis, which can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting due to inflammation in the intestines. Post-infectious IBS most often occurs as IBS-D or IBS-M, with a smaller number of cases presenting symptoms of IBS-C.

No matter what form of IBS you experience, working with a gastroenterologist can help you manage your symptoms effectively. You can schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet is a short-term, elimination diet designed to help people living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Research shows that following a low FODMAP diet as recommended by a doctor or nutritionist can reduce symptoms in up to 86% of people diagnosed with IBS or SIBO.

The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. They can trigger symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea in some people.

High FODMAP foods that are notorious for causing digestive symptoms include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Products containing lactose such as milk, cheese, or ice cream
  • Dairy alternatives such as coconut milk (in the carton) or soy milk
  • Foods containing fructose such as apples, pears, watermelon, agave nectar, or honey
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Snow peas
  • Ingredients found in calorie sweeteners such as isomalt and xylitol

Excluding these foods temporarily from a diet for about two to six weeks, or as recommended by a physician; then slowly reintroducing them, can help identify which foods are causing symptoms to occur.  Once it is determined which foods are causing symptoms, they will be limited or avoided.

The FODMAP diet is very restrictive; therefore, it is beneficial to plan your meals. Your nutritionist or physician may recommend that you base your meals around low FODMAP foods such as:

  • Almond milk
  • Vegetables such as eggplant, spinach tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes
  • Fruits such as grapes, pineapples, or strawberries
  • Proteins such as chicken, lamb, or fish

A low FODMAP diet is not for everyone. It can do more harm than good to those who have not been diagnosed with IBS or SIBO.  Low FODMAP diets can also be challenging; however, working with a physician or dietitian can help you to stick to the guidelines and maintain proper nutrition.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor or dietitian at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For many people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), finding out which foods agree with them and which foods cause them discomfort is essential to living successfully with the disease.
IBS is a condition whereby certain foods will cause intestinal discomfort after being consumed. These symptoms can include:
• Bloating
• Gas
• Nausea
• Abdominal cramps
• Diarrhea or constipation
There is no general rule of what to eat and what to avoid in treating IBS. A physician will go through a patient’s daily diet and see if there are certain foods that are more likely to act as irritants. Foods that typically cause a problem for people with IBS  have a high concentration of insoluble fiber which are found primarily in whole grains and vegetables and that do not dissolve in water.  Insoluble fiber rich foods pass through the intestine almost intact and can act as a natural laxative.  The foods that physicians who treat this disease recommend avoiding include:
• Nuts
• Caffeine
• Chocolate
• Beans
• Cabbage
• Raisins
• Broccoli
The act of eating and chewing  stimulates the digestive tract.  It has been suggested that instead of eating one or two full meals every day, eating five or six smaller portion meals may prevent   the digestive tract from becoming over stimulated.
To make an appointment with a physician specializing in IBS at Jamaica Hospital please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Stress Affects Your Digestive System

Our brain and gut are mostomach pain -178554755re in sync than you may realize.  For instance, the very thought of food can cause the stomach to produce digestive juices or the thought of giving a big presentation may cause constipation or uncontrollable bowels.The brain and gut are in constant communication. This direct relationship causes our gastrointestinal system to be sensitive to emotions and reactions such as stress.

When we are stressed, our brain sends signals for chemicals such as adrenaline, serotonin (a hormone that affects mood and is found in the digestive system) as well as the stress hormone cortisol to be released.  These hormones can cause adverse reactions.

Stress negatively affects our digestive system in many ways. It can cause a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation.  These symptoms can further develop into gastro intestinal (GI) disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

There are several things you can do to reduce stress and improve gut health. Practicing stress-management techniques such as exercising regularly, avoiding stressors, socializing, getting sufficient sleep or relaxing can greatly minimize your levels of stress.

In addition to practicing stress reduction techniques, you can support your digestive health by drinking less alcoholic beverages or consuming less sugar- as too much sugar can cause an imbalance in the ratio of good and bad bacteria in the stomach. Increasing your intake of foods that promote digestive health such as those rich in probiotics or foods that aid the body in producing digestive enzymes is also helpful.

The gut is often referred to as “the second brain” of the body. If you are experiencing consistent complications of the digestive system, your body is probably trying to tell you that there may be a bigger problem. Make an appointment with a gastroenterologist who specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal, liver, and pancreatic disorders to examine your symptoms.

Jamaica Hospital’s Division of Gastroenterology consists of board-certified gastroenterologists who provide high quality and expert care to patients who suffer from such conditions in both inpatient and outpatient settings. To schedule an appointment, please call 718 206 6742 or 718 206 7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Some Bacteria be Good for You?

Bacteria. The word alone makes us think of infection, disease and illness. We hate all bacteria, right?

ThinkstockPhotos-482096272Actually, there is such a thing as GOOD bacteria. They are called probiotics and they help you maintain a healthy digestive system. They do this by lowering “bad” bacteria that can cause infections and other problems. Sometimes we don’t have enough good bacteria in our systems (for instance, like when we are on antibiotics). A lack of good bacteria can cause a variety of digestive issues. By taking probiotics, we are replacing those good bacteria which are sometimes lost.

Probiotics are most commonly taken to help prevent or improve common digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Others have suggested that they are also beneficial in treating skin conditions, such as eczema, improving urinary and vaginal health, and preventing colds and allergies.

Your body naturally generates probiotics, but if you want to increase your good bacteria levels, you can take probiotics in supplement form or get them by eating certain foods, most notably yogurt and other fermented products.

Probiotics are natural so they are generally considered safe to take, even in supplement form. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor about the best way of incorporating probiotics into your diet.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.