WebMD recommends that people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, avoid caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, dairy and artificial sweeteners. They should also avoid food that causes gas or bloating and anything high in sugar or fat. Food should be eaten slowly and regularly with plenty of water.
Although managing IBS through diet is tricky and time-consuming, WebMD recommends taking the time to figure out which foods trigger symptoms. Diet changes are the primary way of treating IBS, although stress management and physical therapy can supplement diet. People's individual triggers are unique; although high-fiber diets used to be recommended for everyone with IBS, studies have demonstrated that results vary across the board, with some patients reporting improved symptoms and others displaying abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
While experimenting with diets, the International Foundation for Functioning Gastrointestinal Disorders suggests eating five to six small meals spaced throughout the day. Large meals can overstimulate the gut. These small meals should be eaten at a slow pace. IBS sufferers who experience constipation should focus on eating breakfast every day, because this is the meal that stimulates the colon the most. The foundation proposes removing suspected trigger foods for 12 weeks before slowly adding them back in and monitoring symptoms.