What are the Foods to Avoid with Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2018
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)is a medical condition that can cause frequent abdominal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. While medical researchers do not yet fully understand what causes this condition, many sufferers find that certain foods tend to aggravate their symptoms. The most commonly agreed on foods to avoid with irritable bowel syndrome include those that are very processed; contain large amounts of fat, caffeine, and fiber; and contain dairy or wheat. It is important to understand, however, that a food that triggers symptoms in one irritable bowel syndrome sufferer may present no problems for another. Therefore, figuring out the foods that each person should avoid can involve a process of elimination.

Determining which foods are worsening irritable bowel syndrome often depends in part on the symptoms the sufferer is currently experiencing. This is because many people find that certain foods aggravate diarrhea, others contribute to constipation, and still others encourage bloating. Diarrhea related to IBS may be aggravated by foods that are high in fiber or fat. Some people report that dairy products and foods containing wheat can aggravate diarrhea, although sensitivity to these foods may actually indicate an intolerance for lactose or gluten.


Those with irritable bowel syndrome-related constipation may wish to try avoiding highly refined foods, such as cakes, cookies, and processed breads. Consumption of substantial amounts of protein might also contribute to constipation. Some irritable bowel syndrome sufferers also find that drinks containing caffeine, particularly coffee, can lead to this problem.

Bloating and abdominal discomfort are familiar symptoms to most sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome. Foods to avoid in order to curb these unpleasant symptoms may include fiber-heavy choices like beans and broccoli. Some IBS sufferers report that simply limiting portion sizes and eating slowly can reduce flare-ups of bloating and abdominal pain.

It is important to understand that a food that causes symptoms in one sufferer may be eaten by another person without any problems. Therefore, determining which foods to avoid with irritable bowel syndrome can be a process of trial and error. Some health experts suggest that people keep a log of their daily food intake and symptoms to make it easier to pinpoint any symptom triggers. When a sufferer experiences symptom flare-ups, he or she can examine past journal entries to determine whether a particular food item was also consumed prior to previous flare-ups.



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