Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Facts

Quick GuideIBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment

IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment

Is there an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diet?

What you eat and how you eat can affect IBS symptoms. While it may not be possible to completely prevent IBS symptoms, you may find that certain foods trigger IBS symptoms. To help figure out which foods cause you symptoms, a doctor may suggest keeping a food diary.

Some foods can help in the prevention of symptoms.

Foods to eat that may provide IBS symptom relief (home remedies and others) for some people

  • Dietary fiber supplements
  • Water
  • Low-fat foods
  • High-carbohydrate foods (such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and whole grain breads)
  • Probiotics (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium) and prebiotics
  • Some people report kefir or aloe vera juice helps symptoms. Talk to a doctor about these home remedies.

A high-fiber diet may help relieve constipation in some cases of IBS, but it may also worsen some symptoms such as bloating and gas. The current recommended daily fiber intake is 20-35 grams daily. Most people fall short of this daily fiber intake and can benefit from a small increase in fiber, but it is best to increase the amount in your diet slowly.

A low FODMAP diet may also help relieve symptoms of IBS. FODMAP refers to a group of short-chain carbohydrates (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) that are not well absorbed in the small intestine and are rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. These bacteria produce gas, which can contribute to IBS symptoms. The lists of foods both high and low in FODMAPs are extensive. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc. (IFFGD) has suggestions of foods to eat and foods to avoid if you follow the FODMAP diet for IBS. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Foods to avoid or limit if you have IBS

  • Dairy products, including milk and cheese (Lactose intolerance symptoms can be similar to IBS symptoms.)
  • Certain vegetables that increase gas (such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) and legumes (such as beans)
  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Alcohol, caffeine, or soda
  • Foods high in sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chewing gum
  • Nuts
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/9/2016

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