by Kyle Boshoff

Digesting the facts of IBS

A poor diet can aggravate Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Digesting the facts of IBS
A poor diet can aggravate Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the digestive system, which leads to abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhoea and bloating. One of the contributing factors to IBS is diet as many foods can affect your symptoms.

Problem Foods:

Dairy products

People who are lactose intolerant should not consume any dairy products. This is because their body lacks the enzyme, lactase, that breaks down the sugar – found in dairy products – called lactose. Symptoms typically cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea and flatulence.

High-fibre foods

While high-fibre foods are often recommended for a healthy and balanced diet, people with IBS may have increased symptoms of diarrhoea, flatulence and pain. For this reason, the sufferer will need to moderate how much fibre they consume per day.

High-fat foods

Fried foods and foods that contain a lot of fat are generally bad for everyone, but it can irritate the digestive system a lot more if the person suffers from IBS.


Caffeine is a stimulant and a mild diuretic, found in coffee, chocolate and energy drinks. It can irritate the intestines causing cramping and diarrhoea.


Alcohol affects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract of the digestive system. For people with IBS, alcohol acts as an irritant in the GI tract, often causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, bleeding.

If you suffer from IBS, it is highly recommended that you find the 'trigger' that causes your symptoms. To do this, many people are put on, what is called, an elimination diet. An elimination diet is a diet plan where the sufferer is made to eat certain foods, document when they were consumed and if they suffered any IBS symptoms afterwards. This type of diet should only be considered once you’ve spoken to a doctor. 


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