IBS May Be Caused by Foods, Stress

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause a wide range of symptoms that may be helped by following a specific IBS diet. Approximately 20 percent of adults suffer from this digestive disorder that can make life miserable when a flare-up occurs.


What is IBS?

IBS is a digestive disorder that affects the large intestine, or colon. Though it can be an uncomfortable disorder, it doesn’t cause permanent changes or damage to the intestines, unlike ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

What are the Symptoms of IBS?

IBS symptoms can vary from person to person but may include:

  • Abdominal cramping or pain
  • Feeling bloated
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stool that contains mucus

These symptoms can be mild to severe. Additionally, many people can go for periods of time without symptoms before a flare-up occurs and symptoms begin again.

What Causes IBS?

Scientists aren’t sure of the exact cause of IBS, but research and studies have been giving them a better idea. Most researchers believe that it is due to a miscommunication between the brain and the digestive tract. When communication is faulty, it can cause spasms and contractions to occur in the digestive tract that can lead to pain. The spasms and contractions may also speed up digestion, resulting in diarrhea, or slow down digestion, resulting in constipation.

IBS causes stimuli that don’t normally affect others to result in digestive problems. These stimuli may include:

  • Eating certain foods, such as chocolate, spices, beans, fruits, fats, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, carbonated beverages, milk or alcoholic drinks
  • Stress or mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety
  • Changes in hormones, such as when women are going through their menstrual cycle
  • Antibiotics that can destroy helpful bacteria in the gut
  • Digestive illnesses, such as salmonella or gastroenteritis
  • Genetics

What are the Different Treatment Options?

IBS treatment may include dietary changes, medications or exercises. Avoiding foods that can cause symptoms to flare-up can help relieve symptoms. Medications are available to control the symptoms of IBS, such as anti-diarrhea medicine, medicine to relieve gas and fiber supplements to reduce the likelihood of constipation. Regular exercise can also help food to be digested properly and reduce symptoms.

Though it can be a frustrating disorder, keeping track of when symptoms occur and what foods and stressors were present at the time can help flare-ups from occurring