IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Triggers and Prevention

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • 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

5 Foods to Avoid Constipation

Sometimes nature just doesn't call. At some point, everyone has experienced the gas, bloating, and discomfort of constipation. Fortunately, there are certain foods you can eat and avoid for relief.

When planning your healthy diet, it helps to include plenty of high-fiber choices to help you stay regular. Try these five foods:

  1. Prunes
  2. Beans
  3. Kiwi...

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

IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment

IBS triggers and prevention facts

  • Foods and drinks that dehydrate the body can trigger constipation in IBS patients.
  • Fatty foods can trigger diarrhea in people with IBS, but specific food triggers of diarrhea and other IBS symptoms may vary between individuals.
  • Stress and anxiety can stimulate IBS symptoms in many IBS patients
  • Drugs like antibiotics, antidepressants and/or medicines that contain sorbitol may trigger IBS symptoms
  • In many women with IBS, menses and/or menstrual pain is related to the onset of IBS symptoms
  • Other triggers for IBS symptoms may include lack of exercise, eating while under stress, eating foods that are very hot or very cold.
  • There are several ways to reduce or stop many of the causes that trigger IBS symptoms; for example, eat a balanced diet, avoid food and drinks that dehydrate the body or may cause diarrhea, keep a journal to identify personal triggers of IBS, reduce stressors or causes of anxiety, and discuss medications you are taking that may be triggering your IBS symptoms with your doctor.

What foods in the diet trigger constipation in IBS?

Any food or fluids that tend to dehydrate a person is likely to trigger constipation in people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Foods that people with IBS should avoid include:

  • Chocolate
  • Dairy products such as milk and cheese (particularly those that contain lactose),
  • Red meat,
  • Unripe bananas
  • Items that contain caffeine if you are slightly dehydrated.
  • Coffee, carbonated drinks and alcohol may lead to dehydration and constipation in IBS patients (and other people, too).

Foods that help prevent constipation

Foods that help prevent constipation in people with and in other people include:

  • Prunes
  • Various types of beans
  • Whole grain breads like rye bread
  • Pears and fruits like kiwi
  • Vegetables that will help boost fiber intake
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2016

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  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Constipation

    If you have IBS-related constipation, what are the triggers? What dietary changes have you made?

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  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Diarrhea

    Do you get IBS-related diarrhea? Discuss the triggers and dietary changes you have made.

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Stress and Anxiety

    Does stress or anxiety trigger your IBS? What changes have you made to alleviate these triggers?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Other Triggers

    Discuss the things that trigger symptoms of IBS and ways you try to prevent recurrences.


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