IBS Living

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Sign up for this free program to get access to exclusive site content -- My Action Plan, digestion-friendly recipes, real-life "success stories" and more.

A special thank you

As a new member of Living Well with IBS, you can receive a $10 rebate on your next purchase of Citrucel. Ask your doctor about using Citrucel for fiber therapy . Click on the link below to download and print your voucher.

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IBS Causes and Triggers

Unfortunately, IBS can seem like a medical mystery. Medical experts know what it is -- a real bowel disorder that's affected by genetic, physical, emotional and lifestyle factors.

They know the signs and symptoms of IBS. But no one knows exactly why it develops. Your intestines have several muscle layers that continuously tighten and relax to propel food through your digestive system.

Did you know?

Certain healthy foods can cause IBS symptoms.
High-fiber foods such as beans and broccoli are good for your health. But some of these "gassy" foods are common IBS triggers. Methylcellulose, the fiber found in Citrucel with SmartFiber, is specially formulated to avoid causing excess gas*.

*Based on laboratory testing. Individual results may vary.

Face the future with hope

IBS seems to result from changes in the muscle function or nervous system signals between the brain and bowel, including reactions to stress, hormones and other factors.

Since IBS affects so many people today, it's a growing priority for researchers and the health care community. Improved treatments and medications are emerging, and together with better coping strategies they can help people control IBS symptoms and live full lives. To get the latest news on treatment approaches, join Living Well with IBS.

Think like a detective

The more a person with IBS can trace symptoms back to their "triggers," the better they can avoid them in the first place.

If you have IBS symptoms, see if any of the following triggers could be the culprit.


Large meals
Fried, fatty, spicy or junk/fast foods
Gas-producing foods such as beans, salads and "cabbage family" vegetables
Sugar-free sweeteners


Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea or cola
Carbonated beverages, which can be associated with gas
Alcoholic beverages
Low water intake

Physical factors

Menstruation and other hormonal changes
Intolerance to certain foods or food ingredients
Eating quickly or swallowing air
Change in daily routine, including during travel

Emotional factors

Stress, conflict or emotional upset
Depression and anxiety

Another way you can match your triggers to your symptoms is through a daily tracker or "diary."

Whatever you discover, be sure to share your thoughts and findings with your doctor. Consider enlisting your doctor's help in putting together an individualized action plan to avoid triggers and reduce your symptoms.


May or may not include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, others