Relieve Your IBS Symptoms in 3 Steps

By JoAnn Ridout, MPH, RD, LD
June 9, 2015


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition affecting the large intestine and colon, and is characterized by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. A whopping 25-45 million Americans suffer from IBS, which is about 10-15 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Mayo Clinic.

I know all about IBS since I’ve been dealing with it my entire life. Fortunately, I found relief once I started working at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, and you can too! If you’re ready to heal from your IBS symptoms, keep reading. There is a lot you can do to start feeling better!

My IBS story and why I know you can get better

My experience with IBS has been life-long. I was born prematurely and wasn’t breast fed. As a result, I didn’t get healthy bacteria in my intestine (passed along to babies through breast milk). As a child, I routinely struggled with stomach cramps and constipation and never knew why or how to feel better. Looking back, I can see that this was the start of my suffering from IBS (predominately constipation) for many years to come. 

IBS_Doctor.jpgEvery time I tried to discuss my digestive issues with a doctor, I was told to take Metamucil®, eat more fiber and drink more water. As a practicing dietitian, I was already doing all of these things.

One doctor told me to use Miralax® and said it was safe to use on an ongoing basis, but I knew I shouldn’t be living on it and tried to use it only occasionally. I kept trying to find solutions, but I felt hopeless.

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I suspected foods may be triggering my symptoms, so I cut back on sugar, grains, and carbohydrates, and increased my vegetable intake, but I continued to struggle with constipation.

It wasn’t until I began training as a nutrition counselor at Nutritional Weight & Wellness that I began to learn more about food sensitivities, and how foods were affecting my gut health. I added healthy bifido bacteria to heal my intestines. I started taking Mixed Magnesium, and modified my eating plan by eliminating gluten and most grains. After a few weeks, I eliminated dairy products and added in more healthy fats like butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados. Within just a few weeks, I felt like a new person and had much relief from my symptoms.

I struggled with IBS for more than 30 years. Believe me, if I can get better, I know you can too.

Step-by-step guide to start relieving your symptoms


Step 1: Tweak your eating plan

Real foods will keep the intestinal inflammation down and avoid an IBS flare up. Choose well-cooked, easy-to-digest protein, cooked vegetables, and some healing fats like these:







Step 2: Populate your gut with good bacteria

The second step I recommend for people dealing with IBS is to help populate the gut with good bacteria. This means cutting back on or eliminating sugary foods and alcohol, reducing stress, and cutting back on use of pain medications—all of which negatively affect the intestinal lining.

I also recommend adding in a quality bifido bacteria supplement along with l-glutamine. The bifido bacteria and l-glutamine will begin the process of healing and rebalancing the intestinal lining. This is especially important during and after any antibiotic use since antibiotics will wipe out all bacteria in the gut (good and bad).

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Step 3: Figure out what your food sensitivities are

Another cause of IBS is food sensitivity. Often, foods containing gluten, dairy, grains, sugar, and nuts can contribute to the allergic response of IBS and can cause a flare up. For me, gluten and dairy products were a huge problem. Once I eliminated these foods from my diet, I experienced incredible relief.

IBS_Calendar.jpgTry figuring out what foods you’re sensitive to by doing an elimination diet. For two weeks, eliminate any gluten from your diet and see how you feel. Gluten is very commonly associated with IBS. Then, eliminate all dairy, and so on, to figure out which foods are causing your flare ups.

If you are struggling with IBS, we would love to help you. Please call us at 651-699-3438 to set up an appointment with a nutritionist. We are here to help you resolve your gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain!

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About the author

JoAnn has always appreciated the value of good nutrition because diabetes and cancer run in her family. Not only does JoAnn understand chronic diseases, but also she has taken on challenging and complex health conditions when she worked as a registered dietitian at Courage Center for 25 years. JoAnn brings extensive experience, along with compassion and understanding to your health concerns. JoAnn graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor of science in nutrition and dietetics and a master of science in public health. As a registered dietitian and nutrition educator, she has experience in therapeutic nutrition counseling, weight management, and nutrition education.

View all posts by JoAnn Ridout, MPH, RD, LD


Hello JoAnn,
Good article. Do you have any updates to mention?
Thank you

August 9, 2020 at 9:02 pm


Hi Tom,

Thanks for taking the time to read our article. We don't have any updates at this time.

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