Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that affects almost 10% of the population, and especially women. Doctor Beatrice Salvioli, gastroenterologist at Humanitas, spoke about this in an interview for Rai1’s program “Time and Money”.


Its main symptoms are:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Cramps

What are the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

There are many causes, and psychosocial factors definitely play a part in this. “Our intestine is a sort of second brain, and many people tend to let off some emotional steam on stomach and intestine themselves. These organs become the somatization target of anxiety or depression. Doctors should reassure their patients, listen to them and help them understand their disorders. They are not neurotics. In fact, research has shown that symptoms in these people depend on alteration both in the intestinal bacterial flora and in the neurotransmitters reaching the brain. Patients should neither get scared nor feel misunderstood. On the contrary, they should listen to their own body and try to make their psychical and physical life better by keeping some time for themselves and enjoying activities that make them feel well”, the doctor recommends.

Other factors are:

  • Individual predisposition
  • Alterations in the motility of the digestive tract
  • Intolerances and allergies
  • Chronic consumption of antibiotic medications
  • Stress

Foods to Avoid

If you suffer from irritable bowel, you should avoid top-fermenting foods such as:

  • Foods containing high quantities of fructose (cherries, mango, peaches, canned fruit, dried fruit, fruit juices)
  • Fructans (artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, leeks, lentils)
  • Galactans (chickpeas, lentils, beans, soy beans)
  • Polyols (mushrooms and artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol and xylitol)

Diagnosis and Treatment

Patients get a clinical diagnosis and also specific exams to exclude the presence of other diseases that manifest themselves with similar symptoms. It is worth underlining that the true irritable bowel syndrome never becomes a malignant disease.

“The treatment is only partially pharmacological, because natural remedies such as herbal medicine and complementary medicine such as acupuncture may be a great help. A correct lifestyle is also paramount. The right diet, and physical activity, yoga or meditation in order to achieve stress-relief. Medications are not completely effective if you don’t intervene on your lifestyle and everyday life”, Doctor Salvioli says.