Diet and Supplements

Diet alone can rarely manage SB bowels, but parents and adults have found that some foods cause more problems than others, and there are some foods that help prevent constipation.

Almost universally, the SB community says they must limit bananas, white rice, and dairy products (especially cheese). Many people also find benefits to limiting or eliminating processed foods, white sugar and flour, and fast food. Some recommend almond milk instead of cow’s milk to aid digestion.

Whole, real foods are best for our bodies, including our digestive tracts. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains provide the fiber needed to help move waste through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber slows digestion and creates large, soft stools that help trigger the bowel to move, while insoluble fiber speeds up digestion. Good sources of fiber especially include wheat bran, beans, the seeds and skins of fruit, wheat bread, brown rice, lentils, whole grains, and vegetables.

A note about fiber: The average person does not eat enough fiber, and we should all increase our fiber intake gradually. Doing so too quickly can actually cause constipation instead of preventing it. This is especially true for people with SB. Slowly increase fiber intake, and even more importantly, drink LOTS of water. Without adequate water, fiber can turn stool into a brick in a neurogenic bowel.

Let’s face it. Some people–especially young children–are very picky eaters! We can barely get them to eat ANYTHING, much less fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Why do our picky eaters love cheese and bananas so much? So we do the best we can, and sometimes supplements help us out. Examples include:

Fiber supplements such as Benefiber

Even if you or your child are eating the healthiest diet, watch out for foods that trigger constipation or diarrhea. They are different for each person. While one kid may eat applesauce daily to stay regular, it can be constipating for another. One person may love eating watermelon all summer and it serves as a great source of extra fluids, another may have blow outs every time they eat watermelon. Keep a food diary if constipation and blowouts happen often, especially if you already have an effective bowel program in place.

Next: Stool Softeners and Laxatives