Is There a Link Between IBS and Yeast?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a frustrating condition to live with. The symptoms -- pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating -- can be unpredictable and uncomfortable. Plus, experts aren’t sure what causes it.

Some people believe that a common fungus may be to blame for IBS: yeast, especially a type called candida. But so far, scientists don’t have a lot of evidence to prove there’s a connection.

What Is Yeast?

Just like mold and mushrooms, yeast is a type of fungus. Humans naturally have it on and in their bodies, especially candida. It lives on the surface of your skin and in your intestines.

Normally, the good bacteria that live in your body keep the amount of candida under control. But some things, like treatment with antibiotics, can lower the amount of bacteria you have. That can allow more candida to grow inside. Other things, like a weakened immune system or a disease like diabetes, also can mess with the balance between your body’s bacteria and candida.

Some people think that too much candida can cause other health problems, too, like fatigue, headaches, and IBS.

Is There a Connection Between Candida and IBS?

Right now, there’s not enough evidence to prove there’s a link between IBS and the yeast in your body. Scientists haven’t done enough research to know for sure.

A few studies have connected candida with more severe digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition that causes severe diarrhea, fatigue, and pain. But the findings are too weak for researchers to be able to draw much of a conclusion.

Although there’s no clear evidence of a connection, some people with IBS say they feel better when they change their diets to cut down on the amount of yeast in their bodies. Since yeast feed on carbohydrates like sugar, some experts suggest cutting out carbs for a short time and taking in more healthy bacteria called probiotics.

If you think that yeast, carbs, or other foods make your IBS worse, talk to your doctor or a dietitian. Get their advice before you try any kind of new eating plan or you cut any food groups from your diet.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on May 16, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Irritable bowel syndrome.”

About IBS: “Facts About IBS.”

CDC: “Candidiasis.”

Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal: “Chronic Rhinosinusitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case Report.”

mBio: “Bacteriome and Mycobiome Interactions Underscore Microbial Dysbiosis in Familial Crohn’s Disease.”

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: “Yeast metabolic products, yeast antigens and yeasts as possible triggers for irritable bowel syndrome.”

Gastroenterology & Hepatology: “Advances in IBS 2016: A Review of Current and Emerging Data."

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