Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS as it is more commonly known is a common gastrointestinal condition contributing to uncomfortable symptoms including: abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhoea and constipation [1].

 What Causes IBS?

The underlying cause of IBS is unknown. Infection, malabsorption and/or intolerance issues, stress, diet and medications can all contribu
te to the exacerbation of symptoms in individuals with IBS.

How is IBS diagnosed?

If you are experiencing any of the listed gastrointestinal symptoms on a regular basis you should visit your GP to discuss all possible causes. Food intolerance and/or malabsorption of lactose, fructose and sorbitol are relatively common and can be tested for by completing breath hydrogen and methane tests.

Can you treat IBS?

There is no one specific treatment for IBS, simply methods for symptom reduction. Discussing appropriate symptoms reduction techniques with your doctor is advised. Evidence shows that a diet known as the low FODMAP diet has led to marked and sustained improvement in all gut symptoms in 74% of 62 patients with IBS and fructose malabsorption [2]. This diet involves the restriction of poorly absorbed, short chain carbohydrates, collectively known as FODMAPs.


[1] Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) [Internet]. Melbourne, VIC: Digestive Health Foundation (DHF); c2010. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); 2010 Aug. Available from:

[2] Shepherd SJ, Gibson PR. Fructose malabsorption and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: guidelines for effective dietary management. J Am Diet Assoc 2006; 106: 1631-1639


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