Ask Dr. Ty: Foods to avoid with irritable bowel pain?

I began the FodMap diet last week for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. It has helped some, but I am experiencing bloating and flatulence. The constipation is chronic. If I don’t take fiber or a laxative, I am in trouble the next day. Many days I have to cancel any activity because of this problem. What can I use to ensure regularity?
– asks Norma L. on Facebook

Norma, I’m sorry you’re dealing with irritable bowel syndrome — also called IBS for short. It’s a very frustrating condition. And as you probably know, there’s no known cure. But, you are right — fiber can help.

However, you have to be careful with the types of fiber you’re choosing. There are certain foods that are notorious for causing bloating and the pain that comes with it.

Those include: Bananas, apricots, prunes, beans, onions, carrots, raisins, brussel sprouts, wheat germ, pretzels and bagels. Try taking them out of your diet and see if your bloating improves. Some people with IBS find that products made of synthetic fiber are actually more effective than natural sources of fiber anyway.

For the constipation and other symptoms of IBS, a few studies have looked at taking peppermint oil — one study used 187mg — three times a day before meals with some success.

Lastly, it’s not a food, but certain anti-depressant medications can help with the way the body processes the pain of IBS. If you’re plagued by these symptoms daily, and you’ve tried everything else, it may be something to consider.

Dr. Tyeese Gaines is a physician-journalist with over 10 years of print and broadcast experience, now serving as health editor for Dr. Ty is also a practicing emergency medicine physician in New Jersey. Follow her on twitter at @doctorty or on Facebook. Send your questions to

Note: The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider with questions. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.