Although the exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are unknown, it does not mean the symptoms people with IBS feel are not real. IBS is a common disorder of the digestive system, which can cause stomach and intestinal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. With IBS, there is no physical damage to the digestive tract; however, the symptoms can interfere with everyday life.
Stress seems to be one of the most common contributing factor to IBS symptoms. However, certain foods have also been shown to worsen symptoms. If you suspect you may have IBS, keep a food diary to help you pinpoint which foods may be a problem for you.
Trigger foods may include:
- Fatty foods
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Carbonated beverages
- Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli)
- Dairy products
As noted above, not all of these foods trigger symptoms in everyone. Keeping a food diary and eliminating one food at a time may be the most helpful for you. Also, try eating 5–6 small meals to help reduce symptoms.
Speak with your doctor about your symptoms. Although IBS is a common health problem, your symptoms could be something else entirely.