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Can you Eat Spicy Food with IBS?

Spicy foods often lead to loose stools, heartburn and indigestion in many people. IBS is a medical condition that is closely related to inability to digest or tolerate certain foods resulting into irregular bowel movements. Thus, it is important that you avoid spicy food if you have IBS. The strong chemical substances such as capsaicin present in the spicy foods can lead to burning or irritation on the inner linings of the stomach or intestine. These strong substances present in the spicy food are not easily digestible and thus move through slowly down the intestine.

Can you Eat Spicy Food with IBS?

Can you Eat Spicy Food with IBS?

Spicy food can trigger diarrhea like symptoms in some individuals. If you are among such individuals, then it might be Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) triggered by spicy food. It is a common condition that usually occurs when the bowel muscles become too sensitive to be controlled by brain. This results into diarrhea like symptoms in body when you eat certain foods like spicy foods. IBS can be easily managed by taking care of your diet. Spicy food is not recommended if you have IBS as it can make the symptoms worse.

However, it must be noted that every type of spicy food is not does not trigger IBS. In fact, most of the spices like ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin etc. do not harm people with IBS. The main spice that you need to avoid is chilli. The tolerance levels can vary from person to person. Thus, some people can afford to have spicy food more often than others. It consists of strong substances that can make the rectum more sensitive and cause burning sensation in the gut. The risk is higher if you are suffering from IBS. Some people who eat chili regularly do not feel any pinch as they develop tolerance.

One of studies conducted in Thailand reveals that people who had been ingesting chili capsule regularly for a period of 6 months experienced lesser burning sensation as compared to those who did not take capsule. When we eat chili, it stimulates a pain receptor known as ‘transient receptor potential vanilloid 1’ (TRPV1). As we eat chilli more frequently, the sensitivity is reduced and our body is able to tolerate spicy food without causing too much discomfort. However, this is not true if you are suffering from IBS. Eating spicy food frequently will make the symptoms worse.

Medical experts are still trying to find out the exact causes of IBS. For now we just know that there are certain food items that can trigger IBS or make the symptoms worse. The choice of food can vary from person to person depending upon his tolerance levels to specific foods. Certain spices like chilli are known to trouble people with IBS and thus it is usually restricted. You can still try it and note down the response to see if you are tolerant to spicy food. If your body does not show any signs of trouble, you can eat spicy food. However, this is not true in most cases of IBS.


  1. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Diet: https://www.iffgd.org/diet-treatments/ibs-diet/
  2. Mayo Clinic – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms & Causes: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016
  3. 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
  4. The American Journal of Gastroenterology – Capsaicin-Containing Chili Capsules in Treatment of Non-Organic Dyspepsia: https://journals.lww.com/ajg/Citation/2000/11000/Capsaicin_Containing_Chili_Capsules_in_Treatment.29.aspx

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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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