Rawan Aljaras, MD: The Impact of Diet on Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Dr. Aljaras talks about the importance of focusing on diet when examining irritable bowel syndrome.

In an interview at the American College of Gastroenterolgy 2021 conference, Rawan Aljaras, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine, discussed the various ways in which diet can influence a patient’s gastrointestinal health.

Aljaras explained how important it is to continuously monitor trends in diet because of how closely related diet is to the gastrointestinal system. Certain diets have been proven to affect bowel movements and multiple gastrointestinal disorders.

When asked about an optimal diet for irritable bowel syndrome patients, Aljaras stressed the importance of fiber.

She reflected on how making dietary lifestyle changes can be a difficult process for a patient. Working with the patient to take baby steps and view the goal as a moving target is her focus.

“I feel like it’s always very easy for us as physicians to talk to patients about committing to lifestyle changes,” Aljaras said. “It's never easy in real life.”

As for the effect that the pandemic has had on patients’ diets, Aljaras said the impact was negative for everyone. She emphasized the amount of stress that came with the pandemic.

Many people were trying to keep up with life as usual even through the stress of quarantine. The impact of this could potentially be seen by doctors as a result of the poor dietary habits developed throughout this time and the effect they could have on the gastrointestinal system.

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