DIETARY CHANGES

 CAPS Free Diet

A CAPS free diet is one that does not contain any coffee, tea, alcohol, caffeinated soda pop(Coke, Pepsi, etc.), cigarettes, aspirin, chocolate, spicy foods or pepper. All of these foods or drugs can increase stomach acid secretion and/or decrease the stomach's ability to withstand the effects of stomach acid. Even decaffeinated coffee contains acids that can cause stomach irritation. Decaffeinated or herb tea is O.K. on this diet. Cigarette smoking in and of itself is a potent stimulator of stomach acid production. If you follow all the above recommendations except that you still smoke, stomach irritation may continue.

In general, you should try to eat dinner in the evening by 7 P.M., and have nothing thereafter except water until you go to bed. This helps to assure stomach emptying before bedtime and prevents reflux of stomach contents and acids back up into the esophagus.

 

High Fiber Diet

A high fiber diet is one that contains large amounts of fiber-undigestible complex carbohydrates. Fiber stays in the intestinal lumen and draws water with it. This helps to increase the bulk of the stool, add water to it to soften it, and prevent constipation (and, at times, diarrhea, too). You should try to eat some food high in fiber with each meal. Such foods include whole grain breads, whole grain cereals, under cooked vegetables and fresh fruits. For individuals with more severe bowel problems, or if you have difficulty eating some foods with high fiber content, you can take an over the counter fiber supplement. Examples of this are Citrucil, sugar free Metamucil, Perdiem plain, and Fiberall. They should be used as directed. Start off by taking a small dose for a week or two weeks, then gradually increase the dose as needed to soften the stool. These fiber products are quite safe to take for years at a time, because they are not absorbed, and simply add bulk and water to the stool. They are FAR SUPERIOR to laxatives, which usually work because they cause bowel irritation, and often spasm. Laxatives taken chronically for months or years are often the cause of serious and chronic irritable bowel problems with cramping, gas and bloating. The primary side effect of bulk fiber products is a feeling of bloating. This effect can be minimized if they are taken in a small dose first and then gradually increased every several weeks. They generally do not work immediately, but their effects will be noticeable after about 10 days.

 

Treating Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be caused by bowel infections with bacteria or parasites, bowel irritability, diverticuli (outpouchings of the large bowel wall), drugs, or irritants. When the specific inciting agent is treated, the diarrhea usually will subside within a few days. However, there are several things you can do to hasten your recovery. First, avoid bowel irritants such as caffeinated coffee, caffeinated tea or caffeinated soda pop. Start off with a bland diet for the first several days. Milk and milk products should be avoided. The reason for this is that when severe diarrhea occurs, the bowel temporarily loses some of its enzymatic ability to digest milk. The result of this is that milk stays in the gut and is broken down by bacteria, causing gas, cramps and possibly more diarrhea. After the diarrhea has stopped for 3 to 5 days, slowly start to add milk products back into the diet. You CAN help the bowel by eating live bacterial culture yogurt, or, when you start to add milk back into your diet, by drinking live culture sweet acidophilus milk. These food products contain live bacteria that can help to repopulate your bowel with "friendly" bacteria after having a bout of diarrhea. This can significantly shorten the duration of diarrhea in some individuals, who have had their normal bowel bacteria destroyed by antibiotics or severe purging.

Revised 8/08

 

ŠTed A. Tobey, M.D., Inc. ~ All Rights Reserved