Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Frequently Asked Questions 


  1. What is IBS and what are the common types of IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome also known as IBS, is a functional bowel disorder that roughly affects about 7-15 percent of the population worldwide. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 10-15 percent of adults suffer from IBS in the United States alone. The 3 common types of IBS include IBS-D (diarrhea type), IBS-C (constipation type) and IBS-M (alternating constipation and diarrhea). This is a very common condition where many people are still undiagnosed. 
  1. What are common symptoms seen in IBS?
The severity of symptoms is different for those with this condition. Symptoms may resolve for a certain amount of time and then reappear. Some symptoms may be mild while other symptoms can be severe leaving some sufferers feeling frustrated and effecting their quality of life. Some of the IBS symptoms that are commonly seen include abdominal pain, bloating, excess flatulence, nausea, diarrhea and constipation. 
  1. What causes IBS?
The cause of IBS is still unclear, and further research needs to be developed to get a better understanding of how this condition develops. There are a few conditions however that may contribute to the onset of IBS. Research has shown that stress and anxiety along with other psychological conditions may trigger gastrointestinal (GI) motility. The gut-brain axis, which is bidirectional, is thought to play a role in IBS. Other conditions that are thought to contribute to IBS include gastroenteritis (bacterial or viral infection causing inflammation of the stomach/intestines) and possible genetics. 
  1. How is IBS diagnosed?
IBS should be diagnosed by a gastroenterologist to rule out other conditions that may be similar to IBS. Your GI doctor should use the Rome IV criteria to help make the diagnosis for IBS while also perform certain labs to investigate other conditions. Screening for other conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory conditions may be helpful with making a correct diagnosis. 
  1. What is the best way to treat IBS?
It is recommended that once you have been diagnosed with IBS, to speak with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in this condition. Your dietitian will then decide if a 3 phased low FODMAP diet is suitable for you based on your medical history. Following a low FODMAP diet has been shown to reduce IBS symptoms along with other treatments such as lifestyle changes (exercises), supplements (peppermint oil), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and certain medications. 
  1. I love nuts, chia seeds, dates and chocolate! Are these foods suitable for someone with IBS? 

While some nuts are suitable for a low FODMAP diet such as pine nuts and brazil nuts, other nuts in excess amounts, such as almonds may become a high FODMAP food. Chia seeds is a wonderful seed to add to salads and smoothies for additional fiber content while it is also suitable for a low FODMAP diet. Dates also seem to be extremely popular, especially in sweets and other desserts. Dates can absolutely still be part of a low FODMAP diet as long as it is consumed in smaller amounts (1/3, pitted). Chocolate is overall a friendly low FODMAP food; however, it is important to know your tolerance level as this sweet treat can become a moderate to high FODMAP food if consuming more than 1⁄2 of a small bar or 5 squares. It is important to note that not everyone has the same tolerance level when it comes to specific FODMAPs and to know what works well for you. 

  1. Is it IBS or SIBO that I have?
It is unclear whether or not testing for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) with a breath test is valid. At this time, it is recommended to treat the symptoms and not the test results. SIBO can sometimes be confused with IBS since both conditions have similar symptoms. It is unclear whether SIBO causes IBS or if IBS causes SIBO. Certain medications such as antibiotics can be used to help treat both symptoms as well as following a low FODMAP diet. It is important to speak with your gastroenterologist to rule out other conditions that may be similar to IBS or SIBO. 


Meet Rebecca Goodrich-Daoud, MS, RDN, LDN

Rebecca Goodrich-Daoud MS, RDN, LDN is a Registered Dietitian practicing in California while also licensed in Florida.  Rebecca takes a holistic approach when working with her clients and is passionate in helping people reach their goals through nutrition and wellness.  

Rebecca loves working with all patients while also specializing in certain GI conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.  Rebecca also specializes in working with patients who have Chronic Kidney Disease and patients who are on dialysis.

Rebecca has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition and human sciences.  For more information, please visit

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