Fiber Supplements to Beat Irritable Bowelll Syndrome (IBS)
Fiber supplements can be tremendously beneficial for IBS
sufferers. Although supplements such as Metamucil and Citrucel
are generally marketed as laxatives, and are very useful for
constipation sufferers, they can also be used to combat diarrhea
because they add bulk to the diet and can make waste food more
These supplements are not really medications ' most are simply
fiber products with no added drugs or herbs, and so they can be
taken long term on a daily basis without worrying about side
effects. They're just the equivalent of adding lots of fruit and
bran to your diet, but without having to eat daily apples or
worry about bloating from the bran.
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Do check, though, that the supplement you choose is just made up
of fiber and nothing more, as you will occasionally find one
that has added chemical laxatives or other ingredients that can
upset your stomach.
It is important to make sure you find the fiber supplement
that's right for you, as IBS sufferers often have very sensitive
stomachs. Some people find that the psyllium fiber in
supplements such as Metamucil can irritate their intestines, so
if that happens to you try one of the methylcellulose products
such as Citrucel, or other types of fiber such as acacia fiber.
Another point to be aware of is that some manufacturers use
artificial sweeteners in their products, and these can sometimes
cause problems for IBS sufferers. There should be a normal,
sweetener-free version to choose instead, and the amount of
sugar in a few spoonfuls should not have a huge impact on any
diet you are on.
Whatever type of fiber you choose, you must make sure to build
the dosage up gradually. If you add masses of fiber to your diet
all at once you will probably feel very gassy and bloated.
Instead, try just a small spoon of fiber once a day and build up
to the recommended dose on the label. Most supplements will
recommend that you take the product with lots of water, and to
make sure you are drinking enough water for the rest of the day
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It will take a little while before you see the effects of the
supplement, so don't give up if you don't feel better after a
few days. Try taking a supplement for one or two weeks to really
give it time to work.
These days there are many different ways to take fiber
supplements. You can buy the traditional powder form, which is
swallowed with water or soft food, or you can buy wafers,
tablets or capsules, which can be very handy if you need to
travel and don't want to carry a whole can of fiber with you.
Most people prefer to take one dose of fiber in the early
morning, perhaps with their breakfast, and then another with
dinner or just before their evening meal. You will need to
experiment to find the right dosage for your symptoms and the
best time to take the fiber, but if you can find a supplement
and dose that works for you it will be well worth the effort,
because you will have found a cheap, drug-free way to help keep
your IBS under control.
About the author:
Sophie Lee has suffered from IBS for more than 15 years. She
runs IBS Tales http://www.ibstales.com where you can read
hundreds of personal stories of IBS sufferers and a range of
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