Q:

What is irritable bowel syndrome, and what foods should be avoided for symptom reduction?

A:

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Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine that causes cramping pain, alternating diarrhea and constipation, gas, and bloating, according to Mayo Clinic. Many patients with IBS find their symptoms, especially diarrhea, worsen after they eat certain foods, claims WebMD. These foods often have caffeine or artificial sweeteners.

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Other patients are sensitive to chocolate, alcohol, fried foods or foods with too much insoluble dietary fiber, claims WebMD.

Other foods to avoid include bacon, baked beans, cauliflower and mayonnaise. Also eschew raw fruits, raw vegetables and prune juice, states the UPMC. Large meals and very hot meals might also worsen the effects of IBS, so medical professionals suggest that patients eat smaller portions, but don't skip meals.

Patients should avoid foods that trigger their IBS, and try soluble fibers such as those found in beans and barley, claims WebMD. They should also drink several glasses of water a day, especially with meals. Soluble fibers slow down the passage of food through the gut, while lots of water helps to speed it up. Foods rich in soluble fibers not only prevent diarrhea but constipation as well, claims the UPMC.

Medical experts are not quite sure what causes IBS, says Mayo Clinic. However, it is not an inflammatory condition and doesn't increase the patient's risk of colon cancer.

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