Does an increase in dietary fibre improve the symptoms of IBS and constipation.
I get asked this question many times, especially by people that have been diagnosed with IBS (C) – ‘C’ for ‘constipation’.
Constipation is classed medically as having less than 3 bowel movements a week. I would class constipation as less than 1 bowel movement a day! The digestive system and gut is designed to digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate any solid wastes within around 24 hours. It therefore, stands to reason that if a person is having, on average, 3 meals a day, they should be having at least 2 or 3 bowel movements daily. In my IBS, digestive health and gut disorders clinic, I often have people consult me for colon hydrotherapy treatment because they haven’t had a proper bowel movement on 2 or 3 weeks. Can you imagine how that must feel! They feel as though they are being poisoned by their own body wastes, with painful bloating, headaches and anxiety.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), people that suffer with chronic constipation are at an increased risk of developing bowel cancer, especially if they also eat processed meats and are not eating minimum 25gms of fibre.
Fibre acts like an intestinal broom as its passing through the intestines, it brushes against the walls of the intestines, collecting any debris along the way, helping to keep the bowel spick and span. Fibre also expands in the intestines, initiating peristalsis, those wave-like contractions that help push the solid wastes and gases along and out the rectum.
We also need fibre in our diet as it helps keep our cholesterol levels healthy and it’s a prebiotic too, food for our gut bacteria. Of we don’t feed our gut bacteria, it will die and this puts us at an increased risk of developing IBS and auto-immune diseases.
One of the easiest ways to increase fibre in the diet and so help to relieve symptoms of IBS (C) is to take a natural Fibre supplement. My own Just For Tummies Fibre capsules (here) are made from sugar-beet fibre, sourced from Holland. Each tablet provides 440mgs of fibre. They are gluten and dairy-free and are suitable for vegans and at just £10 for 60, are within the budget of most people.
If you are suffering with chronic constipation, I would also suggest you have colon hydrotherapy treatment with a registered and regulated therapist. For one in your area, visit The Association of Registered Colon Hydrotherapists, the oldest and largest colon hydrotherapy association in Europe.
For diet advice to help increase transit time in the bowel and relieve constipation, take a look at our Constipation Diet Plan.