What to Eat During an IBS Diarrhea Flare-Up

What to Eat During an IBS Diarrhea Flare-Up

Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be unpredictable and frustrating. Whether you’re experiencing IBS-D (diarrhea predominant) or another type of IBS, diet plays a major role in preventing and controlling flare-ups.

That’s why Dr. Prem Chattoo at Hudson River Gastroenterology includes dietary guidelines when treating individuals with IBS. When you’re experiencing a flare-up, it's crucial to understand which foods can help alleviate symptoms and which ones can exacerbate them.

Here's a guide from Dr. Chattoo and his team about your diet during an IBS diarrhea flare-up. 

Stay hydrated

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration. It's essential to drink plenty of fluids. Aim for clear, hydrating liquids like water or herbal (non-caffeinated) teas.

Dr. Chattoo may recommend sports drinks or other nutritional beverages in moderation. However, artificial sweeteners can trigger diarrhea in some people, so they should be avoided if that’s the case.

Because coffee is a natural stimulant, Dr. Chattoo also recommends at least limiting or avoiding coffee altogether if possible.

Make temporary changes

IBS-D diets during a flare-up can be somewhat restrictive, so they might be a temporary solution. The goal is to rest the digestive system and get the inflammation under control. Then, add foods back slowly, adjusting as you go until your symptoms are managed.

A number of people with IBS find relief by following a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that some people find difficult to digest. This type of diet, again, is a temporary step in helping you define which foods tend to trigger your IBS-D symptoms.

Foods to include during an IBS-D flare

Because high-fat foods can sometimes trigger IBS-D symptoms, we generally recommend avoiding fried items, buttery dishes, and heavy creams during a flare.

Additionally, spices, especially the hotter ones, can irritate the gut and may cause or worsen diarrhea in some people with IBS-D.

Otherwise, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet to ensure you’re receiving the calories and nutrients necessary for your overall health.

Thus, dietary recommendations may include:

Lean protein

Include lean meats, eggs, and fish to ensure adequate protein intake during an IBS flare. Avoid heavily spiced and processed meats (sandwich meat, etc.) and fried foods. Poach or boil eggs to avoid added fats.

Fruits

Berries and other fruits with seeds are harder to digest. So, during a flare, try bananas, cantaloupe, papaya, and other seedless fruits. Make sure the fruits are ripe to make digestion easier.

Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are a mainstay in a balanced diet. However, vegetables should be well-cooked and not fried during an IBS flare-up. Homemade broths and soups are an excellent way to include vital nutrients from lean proteins and well-cooked vegetables in your diet without stressing your digestive system.

Some vegetables that many people find difficult to digest during a flare, no matter how well-cooked, include:

Reintroduce vegetables to your diet slowly after your symptoms have quieted.

Grains

Oats, brown rice, popcorn, barley, and bread made with wheat are good sources of fiber in a balanced diet. However, they may trigger worsening symptoms during a flare.

On the other hand, potatoes (without skin) and carrots contain soluble fiber that may help bulk your stools during an IBS-D flare-up.

Dairy

Products made from cow’s milk may worsen symptoms due to their lactose content. We typically recommend avoiding milk, ice cream, and pudding. Some aged cheeses (i.e., cheddar, Colby, Swiss) and yogurt have only trace lactose and may be better tolerated.

Everyone with IBS has a unique set of triggers. Schedule a visit with Dr. Chattoo at Hudson River Gastroenterology today for a customized treatment and diet strategy that fits your needs. Call the office or request an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Which Foods Are Triggering My Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a common digestive disorder that can turn mealtime into an uncomfortable experience for many individuals. Understanding the foods that trigger acid reflux is crucial for managing symptoms and improving your overall digestive health.

Understanding the Dangers of Chronic Constipation

Constipation is a common, usually temporary issue that most prefer to avoid whenever possible. However, long-term constipation can indicate a condition that requires medical attention. Find out why you shouldn’t ignore chronic constipation.

Ways to Avoid a Crohn's Flare-Up Over the Holidays

Unfortunately, the combination of rich foods, stress, and changes in routine so often associated with holiday celebrations can trigger a Crohn’s flare-up. Our specialist provides helpful tips for managing Crohn’s during the holidays.
When Does Diarrhea Require a Medical Evaluation?

When Does Diarrhea Require a Medical Evaluation?

Diarrhea is a common ailment that everyone experiences from time to time. It's usually caused by minor illnesses or dietary issues and often resolves within a few days. However, there are times when diarrhea signals a problem that requires medical attentio
When to Schedule Your First Colonoscopy

When to Schedule Your First Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is one of the most successful cancer screening and prevention tools available. But when should you schedule your first one? That depends on your medical history and your family’s, too.