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5 Common Causes of Diarrhoea in IBS: Understanding Triggers

Are you tired of dealing with urgent and uncomfortable bowel movements? You're not alone. Diarrhoea is a common symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and understanding its triggers can be key to finding relief. In this guide, we'll explore the five most common causes of diarrhoea in IBS.

Cause Number One - Consumption of FODMAPs

FODMAPs, short for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, are small carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in various foods. While these foods are typically considered healthy, they can trigger diarrhoea in individuals with IBS. The most common FODMAPs that may cause symptoms include sorbitol, mannitol, lactose, and fructose. Foods rich in these FODMAPs include dairy products like milk and yoghurt (lactose), fruits like mangoes and honey (fructose), and vegetables like cauliflower and sweet potatoes (mannitol).

Cause Number Two - Excess Caffeine Intake

Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can stimulate the bowel, leading to urgent bowel movements. Additionally, the acidity of coffee and the warmth of hot drinks can further exacerbate symptoms. Limiting caffeine intake to less than 200mg per day and avoiding warm beverages, especially in the morning, can help manage diarrhoea symptoms.

Cause Number Three - Excess Alcohol Intake

Alcohol can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, increase urine output, and trigger acid reflux or heartburn, all of which can contribute to diarrhoea. Limiting alcohol consumption to your individual tolerance, which may range from 1 to 6 standard drinks per day, can help manage symptoms. Opt for low-FODMAP alcoholic drinks like white wine, beer, gin, vodka, and tequila, and avoid high-FODMAP options like red wine and cocktails made with fruit juices.

Cause Number Four - Chilli or Spice

Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the digestive system and trigger diarrhoea. To add flavour to your meals without exacerbating symptoms, opt for alternatives like garlic-infused olive oil, ginger, and dried herbs. If you enjoy spicy foods, experiment with mild chillies or spices like paprika in small amounts to gauge your tolerance.

Cause Number Five - Fried, Greasy, or Oily Foods

Consuming excessive amounts of fried or greasy foods can worsen diarrhoea and even lead to reflux in some cases. These high-fat meals take longer to digest and may require additional enzymes, leading to digestive discomfort. Choose heart-healthy fats like olive oil and limit your intake of fried foods to manage symptoms effectively.


To find relief from diarrhoea, it's essential to find your triggers like FODMAPs (especially Mannitol, Sorbitol, Lactose and Fructose), excess caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and greasy meals. By identifying the underlying cause of your symptoms, you can take proactive steps to manage them and improve your quality of life.

In my next blog post, I'll share effective strategies to find relief from diarrhoea quickly. Stay tuned for more tips and insights on managing IBS symptoms and promoting gut health.

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