Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may vary from patient to patient. To counteract the symptoms associated with this condition, it is advisable to pay attention to nutrition, limiting the consumption of foods containing the so-called Fodmaps.

Professor Silvio Danese, Head of the Centre for Chronic Inflammatory Intestinal Diseases of Humanitas, who was a guest in the studio at “Il mio medico” on TV2000, spoke about this topic.

“The irritable bowel is a functional disease, it is due to a change in the function of the colon and small bowel and not to an organic problem. The symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient: abdominal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and swelling can occur, as well as more general disorders such as fatigue, tiredness and headaches.

For the diagnosis of irritable bowel, a specialist examination is sufficient, in which the doctor will listen to the patient’s history and proceed to an objective examination; any other examinations are necessary to exclude other pathologies”, explains Prof. Danese.


Foods to include and avoid

“There is no fixed rule for feeding, each patient has his own individual tolerance to different foods. For some time now, so-called Fodmaps have been identified, a series of foods containing so many small sugars that our intestines have difficulty digesting. Examples include milk and dairy products (due to the presence of lactose), pasta, biscuits, legumes, rye and wheat.

For example, green light is given to grapes, carrots, citrus fruits, tomatoes, lettuce and mature cheeses.

It is important to understand personally which foods contribute to the persistence of symptoms and which ones help. Then you have to keep in mind what your personal dose of tolerance is, to know how far you can go in your daily life,” the professor explains.


A healthy intestine

“In general, it is advisable to drink a lot of water (about two liters a day), to exercise regularly, to walk at least half an hour a day, helps intestinal motility. Fibers also help gymnastics in the intestine.

Vitamin D also plays a role as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties; it has also been shown that patients with lower levels of vitamin D are more at risk of developing symptoms of irritable colon or true inflammatory colitis. To ensure vitamin D for the body, it is sufficient to get only 20 minutes of sun exposure a day and consume foods containing it such as fish, milk and eggs,” concludes Prof. Danese.


Watch the interview with Professor Silvio Danese and the service, filmed in Humanitas: