There is lots of confusion about fiber and Inflammatory Bowel Disease and justifiably so- it is confusing for me too. But- I can clarify it for you and hopefully we won’t get even more confused
The reason it is an issue in the 1st place is that if you have IBD- let’s say IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome- it is obvious that your bowel is irritated- evidenced by pain and diarrhea. This is because if you eat some fiber you are essentially dragging rough stuff over an already irritated place. This should be a no brainer for any medical professional- but be forewarned- if you go to the emergency room with an attack of diverticulitis (itis meaning pain-irritation) you will surely be told by the doctor to eat lots of fiber. Huh? Ok- here is the accurate rule of thumb about fiber and any inflammatory bowel disease.
I should first say that all of this is temporary-until you get this mess straightened out- then you can eat whatever you want. Try to follow me on this-
1. If you have IBS- Colitis-UC-Crohn’s- Diverticulitis- Leaky Gut or just lots of urgent diarrhea especially just after eating- you should be eating a low fiber diet- no raw fruit- raw vegetables- no nuts- seeds or corn.
2. This also goes for fiber supplements. Please– NEVER do a colon/bowel cleanser when you are in this state-
this would be the fastest way to accelerate your symptoms- bloody stools – mucus & another trip to getting bad advice at the emergency room & then Prednisone!
Now- this is where it can be complicated-
3. When you are being PROPERLY treated-you will be using supplements that will be putting down layers of microscopic tissue- the mucosal lining- on top of the damaged tissue. This will start to protect it & should show up as decreased symptoms.
4. A naturopathic doctor- experienced in holistic gastro-enterology will be able to interpret the body’s language -symptoms- and guide you as to when you need to re-introduce fiber to the diet- when & what kind.
5. The reason for more fiber at this time is that it is needed to hold the stool together- sopping up the excess water.
It is also essential for strengthening the bowel muscles & creating proper peristalsis. This can be tricky.
6. Not only do you need to determine when the bowel will tolerate the fiber- you also need to determine what kind of fiber is needed. Tricky business. It has taken me 30+ years to figure this out.
7. The GI tract has 8 distinct groups of muscles and each one needs a different type of fiber. Not only that- but you must be able to determine which group is the one- if not all of them- that is damaged.
It’s all about being fluent in body language and how to read the symptoms.
8. At this stage you need to use the PROPER fiber supplement with 8 DIFFERENT types of fiber for each muscle group- one size does not fit all. The wrong one can set you back. Dietary fiber- from foods -at this stage is too rough and unpredictable- and I can’t depend on you guys not eating a huge bowel of Doritos during the super bowl- someone does it every year and calls me at half time all freaked out. Imagine me- sitting there watching the New England Patriots about to win another super bowl & some guy screaming at me about diarrhea! Yup- that’s my career choice.
9. Once we have you stable- no symptoms-pain- bloating -diarrhea etc we take away the fiber supplement and then strategically re-introduce fiber foods 1 x 1 until you are able to eat any food -even 6 bowels of popcorn washed down with 14 beers with no ill effects.
10. There you have it- the proper use of the simplest form of food that we consume- fiber-complicated by having a manmade condition- IBD.