Lonestar Gastroenterology

Foods to Avoid When You Have IBS

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Foods to Avoid When You Have IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that affects people worldwide and can be a mild annoyance or a severe digestive problem. There are many foods that can increase the risks of getting IBS, so let’s look at what to avoid.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive condition that affects up to 10 percent of people across the world and up to 20 percent of people in the US with a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Also referred to as spastic colon, irritable colon, spastic colitis, and mucous colitis, IBS is the overall term for a group of intestinal symptoms that often happen together. Though not related to other conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or gastrointestinal cancer, IBS can still be a major problem for your digestive tract.

The actual cause of IBS is not entirely understood but there are several factors and also many foods that lead to getting this condition. To better understand the effects of this digestive problem, let’s examine the impact it has on your body, the foods that make it worse, and methods of prevention and management.

Dr. Rajesh Mehta and the experienced medical team at LoneStar Gastroenterology in Austin, Texas can help you with digestive problems including IBS. Our interactive, comprehensive approach to gastrointestinal care allows us to provide a wide variety of solutions to your digestive system problems.

The effects of IBS on your body

Numerous factors increase the chances of getting IBS, including weakened strength in your intestinal muscle contractions, abnormalities in your nervous system, severe infection, and changes in your gut microbes. Any of these effects on your digestive tract can lead to cramping, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, which are often associated with this illness. Symptoms can be intermittent or persistent depending on the causes of your IBS, and this problem is more common in women than men.

IBS can worsen or happen more frequently during times of stress. Complications of IBS can lead to a poor quality of life and mood disorders like depression or anxiety (both of which can also make the condition worse).

Foods that make it worse

Your diet is vitally important to the health of a number of bodily functions, and what you eat can have a direct impact on your problems with IBS. These foods include:

  • Insoluble fibers: plant fibers can be easy to dissolve (soluble) or difficult to dissolve (insoluble) and the latter type can make bloating and pain worse
  • Gluten: this group of proteins found in grains can create problems for people with celiac disease, which is an allergy to gluten that can worsen IBS
  • Dairy: many dairy products are high in fat which can lead to diarrhea, so low fat dairy may be a better option
  • Fried foods: frying food can actually alter the makeup of food, which makes it harder to digest
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, and peas are generally healthy, but can exacerbate IBS symptoms
  • Processed foods: in addition to other health hazards normally associated with these foods, the additives and preservatives in them can cause IBS
  • Caffeinated drinks: caffeine is known to stimulate digestion, and can lead to diarrhea
  • Alcohol: these drinks dehydrate the body, which affect your digestion and can lead to IBS problems
  • Chocolate: the combination of fat, sugar, caffeine, and lactose in most chocolates can cause constipation
  • Certain vegetables: garlic, onions, broccoli, and cauliflower can create digestive problems like gas buildup and constipation

Prevention and management

Treating IBS often consists of a combination of dietary changes and medications. The low FODMAP diet is a common recommendation to manage IBS and prevent future episodes. This diet consists of reducing the amounts of dairy, wheat, rye, high fructose corn syrup, and sweeteners (sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol). Certain fruits and vegetables such as apples, cherries, mangoes, beans, lentils, cabbage, and cauliflower are also reduced with this diet.

Many medications and supplements are available to help with IBS, such as fiber supplements, laxatives, anti-diarrheals, anticholinergics, tricyclic antidepressants, SSRI antidepressants, and pain medications. Treatments vary depending on the factors that contribute to the digestive issues.

IBS is a problem that affects millions of people and can diminish your quality of life. Call today to make an appointment with Dr. Mehta at LoneStar Gastroenterology to reduce the impact it has on you.