IBS & Intermittent Fasting: A Comprehensive Guide

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. It is a common condition, with symptoms ranging from abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. People with IBS often find it difficult to manage their condition and can suffer from reduced quality of life.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a type of fasting that involves alternating periods of eating and abstaining from food for set periods of time. It is different from long-term fasting, where you abstain from food for a prolonged period of time. Many people with IBS have turned to intermittent fasting as an alternative way to manage their condition.

IBS and Intermittent Fasting: Is There Evidence to Support Fasting?

A recent study on the effects of intermittent fasting on IBS symptoms found that fasting had a positive effect on seven out of eight IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain, abdominal distention, diarrhea, and more. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that intermittent fasting can improve a patient’s quality of life by reducing pain and discomfort and regulating the bowels.

The study also looked at the effects of fasting therapy (FT) for IBS. Of the 84 inpatients with IBS, 58 completed the therapy, which included abstaining from food for periods of time and varying the times of fasting and eating. The results showed that the fasting therapy had a positive effect on IBS symptoms, with a reduction in abdominal pain and improved bowel movements.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting with IBS

  • Ensure you are eating a nutritious, high-fiber diet to keep your gut healthy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during your fasting period to help keep your body hydrated.
  • It can be helpful to keep a journal and track your IBS symptoms while fasting.
  • Be mindful of the foods you are eating and try to avoid trigger foods.
  • Take time to rest and relax during your fasting periods to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Speak to your doctor about the best fasting plan for your IBS.


Intermittent fasting can be a useful tool for managing IBS symptoms. It can provide relief from abdominal pain and discomfort, as well as improving bowel movements. That said, it is important to remember that fasting is not a cure for IBS, and it should not replace the ‘first-line’ advice given by your doctor. It is important to speak to your doctor before starting any fasting regimen, and to ensure that you are eating a nutritious, high-fiber diet to keep your gut healthy.

Does intermittent fasting have the potential to make IBS worse?

Warren suggests that fasting may not be beneficial for people with IBS, as it can lead to them consuming larger meals than usual when the fast is broken, which can trigger symptoms. He states that the excess amount of food consumed can be a potential problem for those with IBS.

Does not eating meals increase the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

Eating meals slowly and mindfully can help to reduce the symptoms of IBS.

What is the eating pattern for those with IBS who practice intermittent fasting?

The most widely used type of fasting is the 16/8 fast, which involves eating only during a window of 8 hours (typically between 12pm and 8pm) and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. Another popular type of fasting is the 12-hour overnight fast, which involves fasting from dinner until breakfast the next morning.

Does intermittent fasting lead to digestive issues?

Intermittent fasting can lead to digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating. Reduced food intake associated with certain intermittent fasting regimens can negatively affect digestion, resulting in uncomfortable side effects.

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Are you looking for more resources and guides on fasting and gut health? Fasting Books offers a comprehensive selection of e-books and audiobooks. Visit our online store at fastingbooks.com and find the perfect resource to help you on your fasting journey.

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