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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers (cont.)

Stress and Anxiety Triggers for IBS

Patient Comments

Most people who suffer from IBS notice increased stress and anxiety will worsen their symptoms. Avoiding activities that cause stress or anxiety may prevent IBS symptoms from occurring.

Menstrual Triggers for IBS

Patient Comments

IBS is twice as common in women than in men, leading some IBS experts to believe hormonal fluctuations and changes might play a role in IBS. In addition many women with IBS report an increase in symptoms during and around their menstrual period.

Some cells in the digestive system are responsive to estrogen and progesterone. These hormones change during the menstrual cycle and could affect the digestive system.

Other Triggers for IBS

Patient Comments

Eating while doing other activities can cause you to eat too quickly; not chew thoroughly; or to swallow excessive air, which can lead to worsening IBS symptoms.

Exercise helps prevent constipation and lack of exercise can worsen constipation.


Barrett, J. et al. "Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) and nonallergic food intolerance: FODMAPs or food chemicals?" Therap Adv Gastroenterol. Jul 2012; 5(4): 261–268.

Magge, S. et al. "Low-FODMAP Diet for Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). Nov 2012; 8(11): 739–745.

Muir, J. et al. "The Low FODMAP Diet for Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Gastrointestinal Disorders." Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). Jul 2013; 9(7): 450–452.

UpToDate. Patient information: Irritable bowel syndrome (Beyond the Basics).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/2/2015

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about IBS Triggers (Irritable Bowel Syndrome Triggers and Prevention):

IBS Triggers and Prevention - Diarrhea and Constipation

What foods trigger diarrhea or constipation with IBS, and what foods do you avoid to prevent IBS triggers?

IBS Triggers and Prevention - Stress and Anxiety

Do stress or anxiety trigger IBS symptoms for you? If so, what do you to decrease your stress or anxiety?

IBS Triggers and Prevention - Drugs

What medications (OTC or prescription) trigger IBS symptoms for you, and what medications do you avoid to prevent IBS triggers?

IBS Triggers and Prevention - Menstruation

What do you to help relieve IBS symptoms during menstruation?

IBS Triggers and Prevention - Other

What triggers worsen your IBS symptoms?

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