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Sunday, May 10, 2009

What about coffee? Isn't decaf okay for IBS?

"Nope - just one cup of coffee is all it takes to completely disrupt the gut of most people with IBS. Coffee is a very powerful GI tract irritant - and it's NOT the caffeine that's the culprit. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can aggravate IBS as well, but this just means that regular coffee has an awful double whammy.

Decaffeinated coffee is still practically guaranteed to trigger abdominal spasms, diarrhea, and a very unpleasant sense of urgency. Why? Because all coffee beans, decaf included, contain an enzyme that irritates the entire digestive tract.

Interestingly, though coffee is known for its laxative effect and many folks with IBS-constipation use coffee for just this reason, the end result will actually be a worsening of IBS symptoms - including constipation."
Please go here for the full article about "Help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Frequently Asked Questions". This is an excellent website resource about irritable bowel syndrome.
Gary comments:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the fastest growing ailments of modern times. The treatment of it is vexed and confusing to say the least and generally unsatisfactory. Medical treatment generally consists of prescribing "safe" opiate drugs.

Here in New Zealand, coffee consumption has risen alongside IBS over the last 20 years or so. Before then New Zealand was principally a tea drinking nation. While I do enjoy the occasional cup of coffee I am aware of the many health risks of habitual consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages (To read more about the downside of tea, coffee, chocolate etc, just follow the keywords below this article). The connection of coffee consumption with IBS is an interesting one.

While coffee consumption is just one of many factors in IBS it may be a significant one for many IBS sufferers. Coffee also contains caffeine which can seriously add to stress related symptoms. Cutting coffee and caffeine in general out of one's life is one of the easier measures one can take to manage IBS. So, if IBS is a problem for you (even if it is only suspected) why not cut the coffee and see what happens over the ensuing months?

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