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How Long Does an IBS Flare Up Last?

How Long Does an IBS Flare up Last?

One very common question asked by majority of people is “how long does an IBS flare up last?” There is no straight answer to this question because there are many factors that affect IBS, such as age of an individual, lifestyle and the symptoms. Duration of IBS flare up vary from individual to individual. Some people do not face IBS flare up while some face this problem almost regularly. On an average IBS flare up may last from six weeks to almost six months. In some cases stress and anxiety may cause IBS flare up but that is for a brief period of time. IBS flare up may also occur because of unhealthy or inappropriate eating habits. In case symptoms of IBS flare up may last for long then patients should immediately visit the medical experts and undergo physical examinations like colonoscopy and endoscopy. Low FODMAP may help in reducing the IBS flare up.

How Long Does an IBS Flare Up Last?

IBS Prevalence

Research has revealed that nearly 25 to 55 million people in United States suffer from irritable bowel syndrome i.e. IBS. In fact approximately 30 to 40 percent of people visiting health expert (gastroenterologists) are IBS Patients. Reports further revealed that in western countries the percentage of people suffering from IBS varies from six to twenty two percent, out of which approx 14 percent are women and nineteen percent are men. IBS can affect both men and women of any age group.

Prevalence of IBS is almost same in African Americans and Caucasians but it is comparatively less in Hispanics. Experts say that older people are less prone to irritable bowel syndrome compared to younger people. This problem is not limited to only western countries, instead’ the problem is also very common in some of the non-western countries like Japan, India, Africa and China.

How Effective is Low FODMAP Diet for IBS Flare-Up?

Low FODMAP diet is a very effective diet plan for patients suffering from IBS flare up. The diet plan has two phases and it is highly suggested that one should consult an expert dietician who will explain the patient about both the phases in detail. This is so because not all patients can have same tolerance for Low FODMAP diet that is why health experts undertake different approach for treating this problem.

Let’s take a look on both the phases of Low FODMAP diet for IBS flare ups but one thing that every individual should know is that there is no one size fits for all. This diet plan is highly nutritious and effective but dieticians should tailor the diet plan as per the requirement of the patient. One thing which every patient should take care of is that they should not completely rely on information available in internet, in books or any other literature because self diagnosis and planning own diet plan without expert’s advice.

Phase 1: Phase one of the diet for IBS flare ups impose strict restriction on intake of all high FODMAP food for almost four to six weeks. Dieticians help patients in knowing about these foods and will also suggest healthy alternatives to ensure patient take a proper healthy diet. Symptoms exhibited by patients while on phase 1 diet is noted. Once the first phase is successfully completed doctors explain the patient about the second phase of the IBS flare ups diet.

Phase 2: In the second phase of the diet for IBS flare ups, food items that were completely restricted in the first phase are introduced in the diet again with quantity that best suits the patient. This is the phase where the actual tolerance level of the patient towards FODMAP is identified so that their long term plan can be decided. This is very important to know how comfortable patient is with FODMAP for the diet plan created for the patient should not be over restricted. This is not the end dieticians also provide guidance on how the elements are reintroduced in the diet so that the symptoms are gradually minimized.

Note: Diet plan created for the patient is low FODMAP diet and not No FODMAP diet. No FODMAP diet plan is not recommended to any patient for long run, hence; one should consult the doctor and know more about the different aspects of low FODMAP diet plans for IBS flare ups.


  1. Monash University – Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/starting-the-low-fodmap-diet/
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: Diagnosis and Management: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng129/chapter/Recommendations#lifestyle-and-dietary-advice
  3. Gastroenterology Research and Practice – Diet in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What to Recommend, Not What to Forbid to Patients! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017400/

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 8, 2023

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