If you’ve ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach or found yourself wanting to use the bathroom when you’re nervous, anxious, or upset, that’s the connection between your brain and your gut at work. Sometimes, this stress causes vigorous contractions of the intestines causing severe intestinal cramps (aka spastic bowels).
It is possible that too much stress can affect how the gut functions, and might result in irritable bowel syndrome.
People with IBS that’s caused by stress need to be mindful of their emotions and stress levels in order to avoid exasperating their condition.
IBS can also be triggered by food intolerance. Food intolerances are common in people with IBS, raising the possibility that IBS is caused by food sensitivity or food allergy.
One of the most common types is lactose intolerance, or when a person’s stomach is unable to properly digest lactose, which is a type of sugar usually found in milk and milk products. Aside from lactose, fructose and sorbitol are also sugars that can potentially trigger IBS.
Foods that can increase intestinal gas, such as legumes, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, can also trigger IBS or worsen IBS by causing cramps.
For people with IBS triggered by food intolerance, the best way to manage their condition would be to avoid trigger foods entirely.
One possible reason why people experience IBS is that they might have a low-fiber diet. Fiber is important because it helps clean the gut, and it also keeps bowel movements regular. People who have IBS triggered by low fiber usually experience stomachaches, stomach cramps, as well as constipation.