Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Gas and Bloating


Dear Heather,

My symptoms are gas and bloating after meals.  I've determined that it is due to my diet and genetics.  I'm trying to change my diet and eliminate foods that cause gas (onions, cabbage, etc).  I had a comprehensive stool test done and it came back negative except for low bacteria counts in the small intestine.  I'd like to get your opinion on what I can do other than modifying my diet.  I'd also like to get your opinion on enzymes and other digestive aids.  Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions.


Hi Craig - please do see a GI doc for a firm diagnosis. Many issues, not just IBS, can cause gas and bloating, and you need to be tested for some things like celiac that a stool test wouldn't have covered.

There is a great page about managing bloating and gas here including info about fennel tea, which can give quick relief. There is more info on fennel here

Digestive enzymes can't hurt, might help. Probiotic have strong support for their use as well. Since you had low bacteria counts probiotics might be a really good bet for you. You can add on a prebiotic soluble fiber supplement to encourage their growth and actively help decrease gas and bloating as well.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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