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Diet, Prebiotics and Probiotics for IBS-C

IBS-C or IBS with constipation is a condition that can impact your quality of life. Following a restricted diet such as the low FODMAP diet often provides symptom relief and is a great first step, however a restricted diet is only designed to be used short-term, not for years. Challenging the diet by reintroducing foods helps you to understand what is driving the symptoms and allows the diet to become broader; a diet with greater variety offers less chances of nutrient deficiencies and promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.

Prebiotics, probiotics and SIBO

Prebiotics and probiotics can help or hinder IBS-C, that’s why it’s good to experiment with different foods first to see what’s driving your symptoms. IBS (IBS-D or IBS-C) can be caused by SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), so if this turns out to be positive for you, then prebiotics and probiotics are usually best avoided in the initial treatment stages because it can cause symptoms to worsen. I discovered that SIBO, stress and endometriosis were all contributing to my IBS symptoms.

If SIBO isn’t causing your IBS-C then prebiotics and probiotics may be able to help.

Prebiotics and probiotics work well together, they are sometimes referred to as symbiotics; think of prebiotics as food for bacteria (or food for your probiotics). Prebiotics are found in many different foods, a lot of them aren’t low FODMAP so it’s important to be aware of this and test out different kinds of foods or prebiotics.

Prebiotics for IBS-C

Prebiotics are resistant to digestion until they reach the large intestine where fermentation occurs by bacteria, which creates metabolic end products such as short-chain-fatty-acids and other by-products which offer a range of benefits, including lowering inflammation and pH, promoting intestinal barrier integrity, increasing mineral absorption and regulating metabolism which affects satiety. Prebiotics can promote the growth of good bacteria which may offer relief from IBS-C.

Some prebiotics for IBS-C are:

  • Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG)1
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin can be found in foods such as garlic, onion, leeks, chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes2,3
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) can be found in lentils, chickpeas and beans3

Probiotics for IBS-C

Specific probiotic strains can provide a reduction in IBS symptoms, some probiotics which have shown benefits are:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus4
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus4
  • Bifidobacterium animalis4
  • Lactobacillus plantarum5

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Niv, E., Halak, A., Tiommny, E., Yanai, H., Strul, H., Naftali & Vasman, N. (2016).Randomized clinical study: Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) versus placebo in the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Nutrition & Metabolism 10(13). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-016-0070-5
  2. Paineau, D., Payen, F., Panserieu, S., Coulombier, G., Sobaszek, A., Lartigau, I., . . . Bornet, F. (2008). The effects of regular consumption of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides on digestive comfort of subjects with minor functional bowel disorders. British Journal of Nutrition, 99(2), 311-318. doi:10.1017/S000711450779894X
  3. Markowiak, P., & Śliżewska, K. (2017). Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients, 9(9), 1021. doi:10.3390/nu9091021
  4. Rodiño-Janeiro, B. K., Vicario, M., Alonso-Cotoner, C., Pascua-García, R., & Santos, J. (2018). A Review of Microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Future in Therapies. Advances in therapy, 35(3), 289-310. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-018-0673-5
  5. Ducrotté, P., Sawant, P., & Jayanthi, V. (2012). Clinical trial: Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. World journal of gastroenterology, 18(30), 4012-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i30.4012

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