What foods trigger IBS?
- Foods triggering constipation in people with IBS:
- Food products such as cereals and bread made with refined (not whole) grains
- Processed foods such as chips and cookies
- Carbonated drinks
- A high protein diet
- Dairy products, particularly cheese
- Fried and fatty foods
- A diet with too much fiber especially the insoluble fiber present in the skin of fruits and vegetables
- Fructose (a type of sugar)
- Sorbitol (a type of sugar alcohol used as a sweetener)
- Carbonated drinks
- Large or heavy meals
- Dairy products
- Foods containing gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) such as most cereal, grains, pasta and many processed foods.
What causes IBS?
The exact triggers of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) are not known. Research suggests that the condition is caused by a combination of problems. Different people may get IBS due to different triggers.
IBS is a type of functional bowel or gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. This means that although it causes disturbing symptoms, it does not cause any structural damage to the bowel. Functional GI disorders are caused by problems with how the brain and gut work together (brain-gut interaction). Thus, a faulty brain-gut interaction in some people with IBS may cause the food to move too slowly or too quickly through the gut. This causes changes in bowel movements.
Certain factors are associated with IBS. These include:
- Family history of IBS (genetic factors)
- Stressful or problematic early life events, such as emotional, sexual or physical abuse
- Some mental disorders including depression, anxiety and somatic symptom disorder (a condition in which a person feels extreme, exaggerated anxiety about physical symptoms such as pains and aches)
- Bacterial infections in the digestive tract
- Small bowel bacterial overgrowth, an increase in the number or a change in the type of bacteria in the small bowel
- Certain food intolerances or sensitivities such as sensitivity to processed or junk foods, carbonated drinks, caffeine and alcohol.
What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a medical condition affecting the large bowel. It is a group of symptoms occurring together, including repeated pain in the abdomen, cramping, bloating and changes in the bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation or both. The typical feature of IBS is that these symptoms occur without any visible signs of damage or disease in the gut. IBS can cause a huge amount of discomfort, however, it does not damage the intestines.
It is a common condition affecting about twice as many women as men. IBS is most often reported in people younger than 45 years of age. The exact cause of IBS is not known. The condition does not have any specific test for it. Tests may be done to exclude other conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and certain cancers. Most cases of IBS are effectively managed with diet, stress management, probiotics and medicine.
What is a low FODMAP diet for IBS?
Some of the foods containing FODMAPs are:
- Certain fruits and their juices including apples, mango, apricots, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, plums and watermelon
- Vegetables such as beans, cabbage, cauliflower, artichokes, asparagus, garlic and garlic salts, lentils, mushrooms, onions and sugar snap or snow peas
- Dairy products such as milk, soft cheeses, yogurt, custard, and ice cream
- Wheat and rye products
- Foods containing high-fructose corn syrup
- Food products including candy and gum, with sweeteners ending in “–ol,” (sugar alcohols) including sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foods To Avoid Related Articles
IBS SlideshowWhat is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Learn about symptoms, causes, and foods that trigger IBS. Get lifestyle tips for managing IBS through diet and with IBS medications.
IBS vs. IBD: Differences and Similarities
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) are both problems with the digestive tract (gastrointestinal or GI tract), but they are not the same disease. IBS is a functional disorder (a problem with the way the GI tract functions), and IBD is a disease that causes chronic prolonged inflammation of the GI tract, that can lead to ulcers and other problems that may require surgery. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, or UC.
Researchers do not know the exact cause of either disease, but they believe that IBS may be caused and triggered by a variety of factors (foods, stress, and the nervous system of the GI tract), while IBD may be genetic or due a problem with the immune system.
Common symptoms of both diseases are an urgent need to have a bowel movement, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and cramping.
There are differences between the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, for example, symptoms unique to IBD are:
- Joint pain or soreness
- Skin changes
- Rectal bleeding
- Eye redness or pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Feeling tired
Symptoms unique to irritable bowel syndrome include:
- Sexual problems
- Abdominal bloating
- Whitish mucous in the stool
- Changes in bowel movements and in the way stools look
- An urgent need to urinate
- Urinating frequently
Treatment for IBS is with diet recommendations from a doctor or nutritionist, medication, and lifestyle changes like stress management and avoiding foods that trigger the condition. Treatments for IBD depend upon the type of disease, its symptoms, and health of the patient. Surgery may be necessary for some individuals.
Brown, AC, et al. "Existing Dietary Guidelines for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis." Medscape.
Lehrer, J. "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Medscape. Updated: Apr 04, 2017.
Rowe, W. "Inflammatory Bowel Disease." Medscape. Updated: Jun 17, 2016.
Romanowski, A, MS, RD. "Matching the Right Diet to the Right Patient." Medscape. Jan 27, 2017.
IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea)
IBS-D or irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea refers to IBS with diarrhea. Symptoms of IBS-D include
- intestinal gas (flatulence),
- loose stools,
- frequent stools,
- abdominal pain,
- diarrhea, and
New non-FDA approved IBS tests may help diagnose IBS and IBS-D. Treatment of IBS-D is geared to toward managing symptoms with diet, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Ibsrela (tenapanor)Ibsrela (tenapanor) is a prescription medicine used in adults to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Serious side effects of Ibsrela include diarrhea. In children, Ibsrela can cause serious dehydration. The most common side effects of Ibsrela include swelling, a feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (distension), gas (flatulence), and dizziness.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a GI (gastrointestinal) disorder with signs and symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, increased gas (flatulence), abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and food intolerance.Two new tests are now available that may help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea and constipation (IBS-M) irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Treatment for IBS includes diet changes, medications, and other lifestyle changes to manage symptoms.
IBS Triggers (Prevention)Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disease that can affect the quality of those who suffer from this condition. People with IBS can make lifestyle changes that may modify or control the number and severity of episodes. Certain foods, medications, and hormone levels may trigger IBS episodes, for example fatty foods, dairy products, eating foods in large quantities, foods that contain high levels of sorbitol, foods that produce intestinal gas (broccoli, onions, cabbage, and beans), chocolate, caffeine, physiological stress, some antibiotics, some antidepressants, medicine with sorbitol, and menstrual pain. Exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes can decrease IBS flares, and prevent the number and severity of IBS episodes of diarrhea and constipation.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) QuizWhat are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Take this quiz and get quick facts on causes and treatment options for this common and uncomfortable digestive disorder.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children is a functional gastrointestinal disorder with signs and symptoms of:
- Abdominal pain
The cause of IBS is unknown, however, certain foods, stress, anxiety, and depression may contribute to the symptoms of IBS. There is no cure for IBS in children; however, medications, dietary changes, and stress management may relieve symptoms.
Low FODMAP Diet for IBS
FODMAPs are foods that contain sugar alcohols and short chain carbohydrates. The gut can't digest them very well. There are "low" FODMAP foods and "high" FODMAP foods. Foods high in FODMAPs lay in the gut and ferment, which causes symptoms of:
- Excessive gas
- Abdominal pain
Some people with digestive diseases and disorders, for example, IBS, microscopic colitis, IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), and other functional bowel disorders often are placed on a low FODMAP diet to decrease the amount of high FODMAPs foods in the diet, which create uncomfortable symptoms.
magnesium citrate (Citrate of Magnesia, Citroma)Magnesium citrate (Citrate of Magnesia, Citroma) is an OTC medicine that retains water in the intestines to relieve constipation. A magnesium citrate supplement is used for treating heartburn. Side effects include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and an electrolyte imbalance. Dosage depends whether it is an adult or child being treated. Magnesium citrate interacts with some antibiotics. Magnesium citrate (Citrate of Magnesia, Citroma) is an over-the-counter medicine that helps relieve and treat constipation. Magnesium citrate supplements also are used for treating heartburn.
Side effects of magnesium citrate include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and an electrolyte imbalance.
Dosage of magnesium citrate depends on a person’s age. Magnesium citrate should not be combined with some antibiotics, for example, doxycycline (Vibramycin), tetracycline, minocycline (Minocin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and levofloxacin (Levaquin).
MoviPrep (PEG-3350, Sodium Sulfate, SodiumChloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Ascorbate)MoviPrep is a prescription bowel prep medication used by adults to clean the colon before a colonoscopy. Serious side effects of MoviPrep include changes in certain blood tests, ulcers of the bowel, bowel problems (ischemic colitis), and serious allergic reactions.
Neomycin SulfateNeomycin Sulfate is an antibiotic used to reduce the risk of infection during surgery of the bowel. Neomycin is also used to reduce the symptoms of hepatic coma. Common side effects of neomycin sulfate include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.