IBS: Can food preservatives worsen the condition?

Food preservatives are typically found in various packaged foods and beverages including carbonated drinks and potato chips. These preservatives are used to prolong the freshness of various foods. Even though the preservatives could not cause irritable bowel syndrome, they can trigger abdominal pain and cramps. Once an individual is suspected with irritable bowel syndrome, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor so that a proper diagnosis can be given.

Overview on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the large intestine or colon. It is considered common and causes bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and mucus in the stool among those who have IBS.

The condition can cause discomfort but will not cause any lasting damage to the large intestines. The symptoms of the condition vary from one individual to another. Some can experience mild symptoms while others suffer from debilitating pain.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Conditions affecting the stomach such as gastroenteritis can trigger the development of IBS and make the symptoms worse.

What are the possible causes?

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is still unknown. When it comes to a healthy colon, the walls of the large intestine are coated with muscles that relax and contract to propel food from the stomach via the intestines up to the rectum.

As for those who have IBS, the contraction of the intestinal walls is longer which triggers the flare-up of the symptoms. In addition, those who have abnormalities in the nervous system and colon are more likely to suffer from IBS.

Food triggers

In some individuals with IBS, food might trigger the symptoms. Foods that are packed with preservatives are likely to cause bloating, gas, diarrhea and stomach pain among those with IBS. Due to this, the individual must stick with fresh foods and those that are made out of natural ingredients.

The packaged or packed foods including biscuits, chips and cookies along with coffee, alcohol and carbonated products can aggravate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. When planning the right diet, avoid foods that contain high levels of oil and fat since these can irritate the digestive tract.

What are the other possible triggers?

Among those who have been stressed out and given a diagnosis of IBS, the signs and symptoms might be worse. Take note that stress could not cause the condition, but it can make life a lot of difficult.

Conditions affecting the stomach such as gastroenteritis can trigger the development of IBS and make the symptoms worse. Take note that women are more likely to develop the condition and this is linked to hormonal changes in the body. In most cases, the symptoms are worse during and before the menstrual cycles.


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