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Foods to Avoid When You Have IBS

Foods to Avoid When You Have IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects as many as 45 million people, many of whom are women.

At Gastro Center of Maryland, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of IBS in women and men.

Our board-certified gastroenterologists design a care plan to reduce bloating, abdominal pain, and other symptoms of IBS. An important strategy in your treatment includes diet changes that eliminate foods that trigger IBS symptoms.

What to know about IBS

IBS is a disorder that affects your digestive system. While it’s not completely clear what causes IBS, it may relate to dysfunction in the nerve pathways that transmit signals from your brain to your intestines.

Nerve dysfunction leads to painful muscle spasms in the small intestine and the colon, which contributes to ongoing episodes of diarrhea and constipation.

IBS symptoms can also cause  extreme sensitivity in your intestines, and this in turn causes them to react negatively to bacteria and certain foods.

Eliminating triggering foods from your regular diet can prevent new IBS symptoms from occurring and existing symptoms from getting worse.

6 foods to stop eating now if you have IBS

IBS trigger foods differ from person to person, so foods that bother your intestines and colon may not have the same effect on someone else.

However, there are known foods that affect most people with IBS, including the following:

1.Dairy products with lactose

Milk, ice cream, cheese, and other dairy products that contain lactose can cause bloating and gas. This reaction may be due to a lactose intolerance in people who don’t produce enough of the enzyme needed to break down the sugars in milk and other dairy products.

One exception to the dairy rule is yogurt, which contains live cultures that break down lactose that triggers gas and other symptoms.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine in coffee, soda, chocolate, and tea contributes to IBS symptoms like diarrhea. 

Because caffeine is an ingredient in many foods, it’s important that you read labels on foods, medications, and supplements carefully.

3. Carbonated drinks

Carbonated waters and sodas can produce bubbling in your gastrointestinal tract that contributes to IBS discomfort.

 Avoid carbonated beverages and add more plain water to your diet to stay properly hydrated.

4. Sugar-free products

Foods that contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol can trigger diarrhea, so be sure to read labels and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you can.

Additionally, if you suffer from IBS, you should avoid chewing gum. Chewing increases the amount of air you swallow, which can increase your risk for gas.

5. High fructose products

Foods with high fructose corn syrup can aggravate your gastrointestinal tract and lead to gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.

While many processed snacks and drinks contain high levels of fructose, there are also natural foods like apples and pears that contain fructose. To prevent IBS symptoms, opt for berries, bananas, citrus, and other low-fructose foods.

6. Alcohol

Alcohol affects people differently, but consuming large amounts can trigger diarrhea and aggravate other IBS symptoms.

The type of alcohol you drink can also affect your intestinal tract in different ways. Products like beer, whiskey, and red and white wine may be less irritating than rum, sherry, and ciders that contain carbohydrates that your gut may not easily absorb.

For more dietary tips to manage IBS, call the Gastro Center of Maryland office near you today to schedule a diagnostic evaluation or book an appointment online.

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