IBS treatment: Fiber and No Caffeine


Topic: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), June 2000

Dr. Lee:
A viewer with IBS was told by her doctor to increase fiber in her diet and also to cut out caffeine, what is your opinion on that?

Dr. Marks:
Well, with respect to caffeine there are no studies that show that caffeine has an effect on irritable bowel, so I can't really comment there.

As far as fiber, the studies, as I previously mentioned, have been contradictory, but there have been some studies that show that fiber--which fruits and vegetables contain--can improve irritable bowel syndrome. But most fruits and vegetables can cause loose stools especially when eaten raw. This occurs because of the effects of fiber, which is primarily cellulose in the fruits and vegetables. However, when eaten in normal quantities it is rare that fruits and vegetables cause troublesome diarrhea. If fruits and vegetables do cause diarrhea, then something else should be considered such as fructose intolerance, which is a rare problem, but since some fruits are high in fructose it can be a cause of diarrhea in those individuals.

The published answers represent the opinions and perspectives of the doctors and pharmacists of MedicineNet.com and are for educational purposes only. They should not be used to replace or substitute for timely consultation with your doctor. Accuracy of information cannot be guaranteed.

Please remember, information can be subject to interpretation and can become obsolete.

Back to Doctors' Dialogue Index

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors