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    IBS Triggers and How to Avoid Them

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    When you know the things that can make your IBS symptoms flare up, called triggers, you can make a plan to avoid them. That way, you can work on keeping problems with constipation, diarrhea, belly pain, and bloating to a minimum.

    IBS is different for everyone, but it may help to keep track of how you react to the most common symptom triggers and learn to prevent them.

    Recommended Related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Is It IBS or Lactose Intolerance?

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance can seem similar. The symptoms they cause are nearly identical. But there are distinct differences in why they happen and how you handle them. If you have lactose intolerance, it’s because your body doesn’t digest one specific type of food: the sugar in milk. If you have IBS, on the other hand, many things can be behind your symptoms. You can have both conditions at the same time, but they are two separate problems.

    Read the Is It IBS or Lactose Intolerance? article > >

    1. Diet Triggers for IBS Constipation

    Some foods can make IBS-related constipation worse, including:

    • Breads and cereals made with refined (not whole) grains
    • Processed foods such as chips and cookies
    • Coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol
    • High-protein diets
    • Dairy products, especially cheese

    Better Diet Choices for Constipation:

    • Gradually boost your fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams per day until you're eating 25 (for women) or 38 (for men) grams per day. Good sources include whole-grain bread and cereals, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
    • Eat a moderate amount of foods that are higher in the sugar substitute sorbitol, such as dried plums and prune juice.
    • Drink plenty of plain water every day.

    Try ground flaxseed. You can sprinkle it on salads and cooked vegetables.

    2. Diet Triggers for IBS Diarrhea

    Foods that can make IBS-related diarrhea worse for some people include:

    • Too much fiber, especially the insoluble kind you get in the skin of fruits and vegetables
    • Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose, or sorbitol
    • Carbonated drinks
    • Large meals
    • Fried and fatty foods
    • Dairy products, especially in people who can’t digest the milk sugar lactose, called lactose intolerance
    • Foods with wheat for people who are allergic to or have a bad reaction to gluten.

    Better Diet Choices for Diarrhea:

    • Eat a moderate amount of soluble fiber. It adds bulk to your stools. Good sources are whole wheat breads, oats, barley, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, the flesh of fruit (not the skin), and dried fruits.
    • Don't eat foods at opposite temperatures, such as ice-cold water and steaming hot soup, in the same meal.
    • Stay away from broccoli, onions, and cabbage. They cause gas, which can make you feel worse.
    • Eat smaller portions.
    • Drink water an hour before or after meals, not while you eat.
    • Talk with your doctor or a dietitian if you think you may have a wheat allergy.

    To ease symptoms of bloating and gas, try to avoid gassy foods such as beans, Brussels sprouts, wheat germ, raisins, and celery.

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