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Can IBS Cause Heart Palpitations?

IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome is an ailment that is typically identified by one or many of the following clusters of symptoms like abdominal pain and recognizable changes in the pattern of bowel movements. Irritable bowel syndrome has four main types of symptoms: constipation is predominant, diarrhea is predominant, both are common, or neither of them occurs very frequently.

Can IBS Cause Heart Palpitations?

Can IBS Cause Heart Palpitations?

Yes, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS can cause heart palpitations. One of the most serious non-gastrointestinal symptoms of IBS is heart palpitations. Other commonly observed symptoms include depressive disorders, headache, backache, kidney issues like facing problems in emptying the bladder at a go, problems while starting to urinate, lessened sexual desires, fatigue and anxiety.

Heart palpitations can occur when pressure builds up in the abdomen during digestion especially in the patients of irritable bowel syndrome. Excess stomach gas and acid can push against the sternum causing pressure against the chest. As a response, the heart compensates this pressure by palpitating and thus maintaining its normal functioning throughout this short term pressure. At times also the excessive intestinal gas can applies pressure to the Vagas Nerve, causing heart palpitations in turn.

Heart Palpitations Caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome Can be Controlled with Changes in Diet

One of the best ways to keep heart palpitations caused by IBS in check is to maintain a healthy diet. Dietary elements that are likely to cause palpitations, diarrhea, gas, bloating and chest flutters should be summarily avoided.

However, one must take the help of a professional dietician in figuring out a diet regime suiting his or her conditions and should be careful enough to not altogether stop eating from a particular food group without the dietician’s instructions. This is because one needs to give all the necessary nutrients to the body and make sure that no nutritional deficiency takes place in the bid to control the heart palpitations caused by IBS.

The following are some of the ways of controlling heart palpitations caused by IBS with an effective diet:

  • One should chew one’s food properly; eat slowly and in quiet, relaxed conditions so as to aid digestion and reduce heart palpitations.
  • Diarrhea, bloating and gas inducing food like milk products, carbonated drinks, caffeine, foods high in sugar, alcohol, fatty foods, vegetables like cabbage, broccoli & beans, artificial sweeteners xylitol and sorbitol which are often utilized in sugarless candy and sugarless gum, should be absolutely avoided.
  • Skipping meals make the condition of irritable bowel syndrome worse. One should be very careful about not skipping meals at all.
  • The gap between two consecutive meals should also not be too long.
  • The urine of a healthy individual should be light color yellow / clear as water. To achieve that, one must drink plenty of water.
  • Limit your intake of fresh fruit to 3 portions a day.
  • Limiting caffeine intake to a maximum of 1 cup a day.
  • Adding fibers to the regular diet, drinking lots of water and exercising regularly helps significantly in keeping constipation in check. Keep a daily diary of what you eat and whether you have symptoms after eating.
  • The intake of carbonated drinks and alcohol should also be limited and monitored to effectively manage heart palpitations caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Watching the intake of heavy fiber foods like cereals, rice, whole grain breads, pasta, and contributes heavily in providing relief from symptoms like bloating and gas.
  • Resistant starch found in foods like bread reheated or cold potatoes & cereal does not get digested properly and can help in gas formation and stomach bloating. Such foods should be avoided.
  • Intake of soluble fiber found in foods like oats can help in reducing gas, bloating etc…
  • Reduce stress.
  • Keeping a food diary: Keeping a daily food diary to keep track of what has been eaten and whether there were any symptoms after eating certain foods, has been found to have helped many IBS patients.

Avoiding Foods that Could Potentially Worsen the Condition of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

It has been found that irritable bowel syndrome or IBS symptoms typically get worse in patients right after eating. This is because of certain food substances which make the conditions worse. A list of such food items is provided below:

  • Fried, especially deep-fried food.
  • Hot spices.
  • Smoked food.
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Pizza
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Cabbage
  • Beans and peas.
  • Onions
  • Cream.

Other Specific Food Items that Worse the Symptoms of IBS:

There are some other, more specific types of elements in foods that have the potential of making IBS symptoms worse.

  • Almost 1 in 10 individuals with irritable bowel syndrome has lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk. Non- lactose intolerant irritable bowel syndrome patients have also reported about their condition getting worse after having dairy products. But one should not stop having dairy products altogether. The remedial measures could be spreading the amount of intake of dairy in very small portions along the day and having products with reduced lactose content like cheese and yogurt.
  • Fructose (a sugar which is found in fruits and sweet vegetables) does not get digested properly by irritable bowel syndrome patients and causes bloating and gas which result in heart palpitations. Hence, it should be avoided.
  • Artificial sweetener known as sorbitol (found in drinks, sugar-free chewing gum, & sugar-free sweets.) increases chances of having diarrhea.
  • A very common digestive system side effect of caffeine is the acid reflux. Hence, its intake should be limited to reduce heart palpitations caused by IBS.


  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome
  2. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Heartburn and IBS: What’s the Connection? https://www.aboutibs.org/ibs-diet/heartburn-and-ibs-whats-the-connection.html

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 8, 2023

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