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Greg Galler, M.D., a board-certified specialist in Gastroenterology, pinpoints which foods to monitor and recommends keeping a food diary to track which ones lead to discomfort

For many irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers, eating certain foods can trigger abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea or bloating. Identifying, limiting or eliminating offending foods can help provide relief in some cases.

Though the exact cause of IBS has been rather difficult to pinpoint, certain foods which may worsen symptoms include:

  • Foods high in sugar content.
  • Fatty foods.
  • Gas-producing foods such as beans, cabbage and broccoli.
  • Caffeine in excessive amounts.
  • Alcohol.
  • Wheat, rye or barley.

IBS isn’t life-threatening, but the symptoms can interfere with one’s quality of life. Dietary changes may prove beneficial. However, since IBS varies from one person to another, there is no specific diet that can be 100-percent recommended.

I suggest keeping a diary and recording what is eaten, along with any adverse symptoms associated with specific foods.  Be careful not to eliminate a food too quickly, as there could be a combination of factors causing the gastrointestinal distress.

I also recommend that IBS sufferers schedule a medical evaluation with a gastroenterologist and bring their food diary with them. Together, doctor and patient can identify foods that worsen symptoms, form a plan to avoid the offending foods and, if necessary, plan for additional medical treatment or prescription medication.

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Greg Galler, MD

​I believe in giving patients individualized, personal care. I also believe in offering patients additional services and information that they would not normally receive, specifically regarding research studies and the new information and medical advancements that those studies can offer.