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Home > Health Library > Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Controlling Symptoms With Diet
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a problem with the intestines. IBS can cause belly pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Most people can control their symptoms by changing their diet and easing stress.
No specific foods cause everyone with IBS to have symptoms. Many people find that they feel better by limiting or eliminating foods that may bring on symptoms. Make sure you don't stop eating all foods from any one food group without talking with a dietitian. You need to make sure you are still getting all the nutrients you need.
You can manage your IBS by limiting or not eating foods that may bring on symptoms, particularly diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Don't skip meals or wait too long between meals.
Be sure to drink water in addition to your other beverages. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
Vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, peas, radishes, and raw potatoes may not be digested well by your body and can cause gas and bloating.
These are high in fructose. People who have IBS may not be able to digest fructose well. This can cause diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
Lactose is a sugar found in milk. People who have IBS may have worse symptoms when they eat or drink dairy.
Fiber affects each person who has IBS in different ways.
If you have diarrhea, try limiting the amount of high-fiber foods you eat. This includes vegetables, fruits, whole-grain breads and pasta, high-fiber cereal, and brown rice.
To reduce constipation, add fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day and drink plenty of water.
FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are in many types of foods. It stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
If you have digestive problems, these can make your symptoms worse.
A low-FODMAP diet is when you stop eating high-FODMAP foods for about two months. Then you slowly add them back in to your diet to see what foods cause digestion problems.
Track what you eat, your emotions, activities, and your symptoms after eating. If you notice patterns of symptoms after eating certain foods, you can try removing those foods from your diet.
Many people find that their IBS symptoms get worse after they eat. Sometimes certain foods make symptoms worse.
Make sure that you don't stop eating completely from any one food group without talking with a dietitian. You need to make sure that you're still getting all the nutrients you need.
Foods most commonly listed as causing symptoms include:
Other types of food that can make IBS symptoms worse include:
Current as of:
May 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: May 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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