September 25, 2016
font size

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Triggers and Prevention

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

IBS triggers and prevention facts

  • Foods and drinks that dehydrate the body can trigger constipation in IBS patients.
  • Fatty foods can trigger diarrhea in people with IBS, but specific food triggers of diarrhea and other IBS symptoms may vary between individuals.
  • Stress and anxiety can stimulate IBS symptoms in many IBS patients
  • Drugs like antibiotics, antidepressants and/or medicines that contain sorbitol may trigger IBS symptoms
  • In many women with IBS, menses and/or menstrual pain is related to the onset of IBS symptoms
  • Other triggers for IBS symptoms may include lack of exercise, eating while under stress, eating foods that are very hot or very cold.
  • There are several ways to reduce or stop many of the causes that trigger IBS symptoms; for example, eat a balanced diet, avoid food and drinks that dehydrate the body or may cause diarrhea, keep a journal to identify personal triggers of IBS, reduce stressors or causes of anxiety, and discuss medications you are taking that may be triggering your IBS symptoms with your doctor.

What foods in the diet trigger constipation in IBS?

Any food or fluids that tend to dehydrate a person is likely to trigger constipation in people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Foods that people with IBS should avoid include:

  • Chocolate
  • Dairy products such as milk and cheese (particularly those that contain lactose),
  • Red meat,
  • Unripe bananas
  • Items that contain caffeine if you are slightly dehydrated.
  • Coffee, carbonated drinks and alcohol may lead to dehydration and constipation in IBS patients (and other people, too).

Foods that help prevent constipation

Foods that help prevent constipation in people with and in other people include:

  • Prunes
  • Various types of beans
  • Whole grain breads like rye bread
  • Pears and fruits like kiwi
  • Vegetables that will help boost fiber intake
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2016


GI Disorders

Get the latest treatment options.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers, Prevention Related Articles
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations