Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive condition that affects around 5–10% of people worldwide.

It can cause digestive symptoms, such as bloating, abdominal pain/discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, and changes in your bowel movements.

Though the cause of IBS isn’t fully understood, diet may play a role in exacerbating IBS symptoms.

IBS can’t be cured, but there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help some people.

In particular, there has been a growing interest in juicing as a way to manage IBS symptoms. However, little research exists on the topic, which may have you wondering if juicing is beneficial or harmful for people with IBS.

This article tells you whether juicing is good for IBS and provides other useful tips.

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Juicing is a process that extracts the juice and nutrients from vegetables and fruit. It removes any solid matter, such as peels, seeds, and pulp.

Often, homemade juices contain more vegetables and less fruit, resulting in less sugar than your typical store-bought juices.

Drinking juices can be part of a healthy diet and can help you get in additional nutrients, since most people struggle to consume enough vegetables and fruit each day.

That said, whether juicing helps with IBS symptoms is uncharted territory. No quality research on the topic exists.

However, juicing may help those that are sensitive to insoluble fiber, which is indigestible fiber found in the skins of fruit and vegetables. Though usually beneficial, this “roughage” can sometimes trigger IBS symptoms.

By juicing vegetables and fruit, you’re removing the insoluble fiber but still getting the important vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber found in these foods. Additionally, you’re consuming more fluids, which may help with constipation.

But it’s important to work closely with a trained healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian (RD), to help identify your triggers and ensure you’re still meeting your fiber needs.

Summary

There’s little research on whether juicing can relieve IBS symptoms. In theory, it may help people that get triggered by insoluble fiber, or “roughage.” Beyond this, juicing can help increase your nutrient and fluid intake.

While there is no research on the subject, juicing may potentially trigger IBS symptoms in some people.

It is well-established that some people with IBS are sensitive to FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols), which are types of carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruit, grains, and other food products.

Considering they’re found in various amounts in vegetables and fruit, drinking juices that contain high amounts of FODMAPs may trigger IBS reactions. That said, people with IBS are sensitive to different FODMAPs, so what may trigger one person may not affect another.

It’s important to note that unless advised by a dietitian or other healthcare provider, you do not need to limit or avoid FODMAPs. In fact, they have many health-promoting properties, such as acting as a prebiotic to feed healthy gut bacteria.

If you’re interested in juicing, it may be a good idea to select low-FODMAP vegetables and fruit, such as carrots, kale, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, guava, passionfruit, pawpaw, and oranges.

Summary

Juices may be high in FODMAPs, which are carbohydrates that many people with IBS are sensitive to. Therefore, you may want to make juices with low-FODMAP vegetables and fruit.

A juice cleanse is a popular fad diet meant to supposedly “detoxify” your body and promote weight loss by only consuming juice for a period of time — sometimes for days.

While research on juice cleanses and IBS is non-existent, it’s probably not a good idea to do a juice cleanse in hopes of alleviating your IBS symptoms.

Juice cleanses are highly restrictive and rarely provide sufficient calories and nutrients, especially protein and fat. Further, they’re very low in fiber, which is important for healthy bowel movements.

In some cases, a dietitian may recommend bowel rest for people with severe diarrhea to allow their bowel to heal.

However, bowel rest should be done under strict medical supervision to ensure the person meets their nutrient needs and never involves a juice cleanse.

If you are considering a juice cleanse, it’s important that you discuss it with a healthcare provider. They may recommend alternative solutions, such as a low-FODMAP diet, eliminating trigger foods, and other lifestyle modifications.

Learn more about why juice cleanses aren’t recommended here.

Heads up

Trying to “do it right” when it comes to nutrition may feel tempting, but it can backfire.

If you are preoccupied with food or your weight, feel guilt surrounding your food choices, or routinely engage in restrictive diets, consider reaching out for support. These behaviors may indicate a disordered relationship with food or an eating disorder.

Disordered eating and eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender identity, race, age, body size, socioeconomic status, or other identities.

They can be caused by any combination of biological, social, cultural, and environmental factors — not just by exposure to diet culture.

Feel empowered to talk with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, if you’re struggling. You can also chat, call, or text anonymously with trained volunteers at the National Eating Disorders Association helpline for free or explore the organization’s free and low cost resources.

Summary

There is no evidence that juice cleanses help with IBS. They’re also low in calories and important nutrients, so they’re best avoided.

If you’re struggling with IBS, consider these helpful tips:

  • Seek the advice of a healthcare professional. IBS is highly individual and affects people differently. Working with a multidisciplinary healthcare team (like an RD, a gastroenterologist, and a psychiatrist) is important so you can receive personalized care.
  • Identify your trigger foods. Different foods trigger IBS symptoms in different people. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your body and see what it can tolerate. An RD can help you identify potential triggers through an elimination trial or food journal and help ensure you’re doing it properly and safely.
  • Prepare your own meals. Making your own meals helps you know which ingredients are in your food, which may ease worries about accidentally eating trigger foods.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Eating large meals can cause your stomach to swell and promote more activity in your gut, which may worsen symptoms.
  • Limit carbonated, caffeinated, or alcoholic drinks. Carbonation increases gas, while alcohol and caffeine may irritate the gut.
  • Try peppermint oil. Peppermint oil has been linked to improvements in IBS symptoms, especially abdominal pain, in some individuals. If you want to try using peppermint oil, run it by a healthcare provider first.
  • Consider other lifestyle habits. Getting proper sleep, managing stress, and staying physically active are all linked with better IBS management.
Summary

Some diet modifications may help to alleviate your IBS symptoms. However, it’s best to work with a healthcare team for personalized care.

Juicing can be an easy way to get in extra vitamins and minerals, especially if you struggle to eat enough vegetables and fruit each day.

That said, while it may be tempting to try juicing treat your IBS, there’s not much research to support it.

In theory, juicing may decrease your intake of insoluble fiber, which could alleviate symptoms in people sensitive to it, as many people with IBS are.

However, juicing may worsen symptoms in people that are sensitive to FODMAPs, since they’re found in high amounts in certain vegetables and fruit.

Juice cleanses — periods of time where a person drinks only or mainly juices in an attempt to “detoxify” the body or lose weight — aren’t recommended, either. They’re highly restrictive, so you’ll miss out on important nutrients.

Ultimately, it appears that drinking juice provides no clear benefit or harm, since individuals with IBS have different sensitivities and food triggers. Instead, it’s best to work with a healthcare professional for personalized care.

Just one thing

Try this today: If you suspect your IBS symptoms are related to your diet, make an appointment with a registered dietitian who can review your diet, symptoms, and lifestyle habits and make personalized recommendations.