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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the best treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

    I went to the pharmacy and they suggested i take mint oil pills to prevent my IBS, however i found it had no benefit. What other treatment options should i consider?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    Rebecca Hay

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Accredited Sports Dietitian (Acc SD). My experience over many years of working with people had lead me to … View Profile

    If you have been diagnosed with IBS it is worth investigating the Low-FODMAP diet. This has been shown to reduce symptoms in approximately 75% of sufferers of IBS.  FODMAP foods contain carbohydrates that are easily fermented by bacteria in the gut and in individuals with IBS cause many of the symptoms associated with IBS. You can find out more about this diet from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and work out if this is the treatment for you.

  • 3


    Ellen Moran

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Ellen Moran is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who promotes credible nutrition information, tailored to your personal health goals and needs. She has a special interest … View Profile

    I would also consider the Low FODMAP Diet, which reduces the intake of certain carbohydrates such as fructose and lactose, that can be typically poorly digested in people suffering IBS symptoms ( eg. bloating, excess wind, fluctuating bowel motions).
    Seek out a dietitian who specialises in the Low FODMAP Diet, so you can discuss whether this eating regime may be beneficial for you.

  • Julie Markoska

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am a Sydney based Accredited Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietitian recognised by the Dietitians Association of Australia.I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in … View Profile

    I agree with Rebecca and Ellen - it is worth trying the low FODMAP elimination diet under the guidance of an Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can find one in your area here:

    You could also try a probiotic either in tablet form from the pharmacy or as a drink from the chiller section at the supermarket.

    If you have constipation predomninant IBS you should also look at your fibre and water intake. Increasing your intake of soluble fibre (eg from oats) can help, but only if you are having plenty of water - if you're not having enough water the extra fibre can make the constipation worse.

    Julie Markoska
    Accredited Practising Dietitian & Nutritionist

  • Joan is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who has specialised in diet investigation of suspected food chemical intolerance. Tolerating Troublesome Foods is her latest book. Joan … View Profile

    There are many suggestions made about diet treatments for IBS. The truth is that each person can work out the diet that best decreases their particular symptoms. Beginning with FODMAPS is one option. Another is to do what I call diet detective work. With the help of a dietitian or my book Are You Food Sensitive? you can use what you know of foods you are fairly sure are a problem to give you leads.   
    You can look at your symptoms. They also give leads but remember it takes around 3 months to work out your diet. The initial diet is just the beginning to test foods from. Use the idea that we cut out foods in order to find our what foods to cut out! 
    Symptoms do not give clear leads, but where bloating is important FODMAPS can be one aspect of your initial diet trial. Where  pain, gut urgency, loosness, and strong discomfort with passage of a bowel motion are present it is worth investigating sensitivity to strong flavours and other suspect food chemicals. If you have a strong sense of smell and can detect stale foods in your refrigerator better than most people you know this will be helpful. For more information see information on Food intolerance and on IBS on the Articles section of my website

  • 1


    Liz Beavis


    Hi! I'm Liz Beavis - Food Intolerance Dietitian. I qualified as a dietitian (Masters of Nutrition, University of Sydney) in 1997 and ran a successful … View Profile

    I agree with all of the previous answers that some types of food intolerances may play a role in your symptoms, there are also many other diet factors that can play a role. For some people, increasing certain types of fibre may improve their symptoms (make sure you also are drinking plenty of water!), but for others adding more fibre can cause more bloating.
    Other foods that can trigger symptoms can include fatty foods, spicy foods, coffee etc.
    For some people benefit from particular type of probiotics (note, not all probiotics will improve gut symptoms, there are many different types and they all have different benefits) chat to an expert to find one that may help you.
    There is no single magic solution to IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a complex issue and can be triggered by any number of foods or environmental triggers, including stress.
    Our clinical approach is to tease apart your symptoms and your food intake to help you identify which foods (or food groups) may be playing a role in your symptoms. I would recommend finding yourself an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) with a special interest in IBS to help you take a stepwise approach to doing this.
    Liz Beavis APD

  • 2


    Dr Nitsa Stylianou

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Specialist in Adult Anxiety and Depression View Profile

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one of many symptoms associated with chronic anxiety.  You might like to address this underlying cause along with the sensible advice offered by the dieticians in this post.

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