Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful medical condition. It’s characterized by gastrointestinal disturbances. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but certain foods are more likely to cause bloating and cramping than others. Those who suffer from IBS should increase their soluble fiber intake and decrease their insoluble fiber consumption. That means more oats, barley, and legumes – and less wheat bran and whole grains. Each person may find that they have a specific food or group of foods bad for IBS symptoms. These are some of the most common trigger foods that may be wreaking havoc on your digestive system.

1. Dairy

Many people – not just those with IBS – experience discomfort after eating dairy. Lactose intolerance and IBS symptoms are almost identical, so some individuals with IBS may not even realize that they are lactose intolerant. The human digestive system cannot easily process milk from cows, goats, and other animals. Some people find that they react badly to cows’ milk but more readily tolerate goats’ milk. Depending on your ancestry, you might be more readily able to process dairy – some cultures are a predisposition to this particular food. Milk is high in fat which is a trigger for those who suffer from diarrhea. The excess fat in dairy foods, especially cheese, can trigger loose bowels and irritation. There are many options available if one decides to cut dairy out. Almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk are all great-tasting alternatives.