Irritable Bowel Syndrome/IBS and Stomach Bug


How does viral gastroenteritis affect existing IBS-C? I have been diagnosed with IBS-C and I have recently been regulated with Amitiza, Celexa and Bentyl. I contracted with stomach bug from my kids a week ago and now I have crampy diarrhea every time I eat. It is causing decreased appetite for fear of the diarrhea. I admit that I have not been taking my meds during the 3 days I had the stomach bug but I have never had diarrhea as a main symptom. It is usually constipation and bloating. Will my current medication regimen work or is my IBS now alternating between constipation and diarrhea? Is it possible that the stomach bug was caused by a bacteria and I need to see my doctor for antibiotics? Thank you in advance for your time!!

Hi Andrea - definitely check in with your doc about all this. Viral gastroenteritis can cause IBS in the first place (it's an insult to the gut), so it can certainly drastically affect existing IBS.

In general, you'd want to stay on your IBS meds while getting over the infection, but again ask your doc.

I would add in probiotics as well as a prebiotic soluble fiber to augment their growth - those things can only help both diarrhea and constipation.

If you do end up on antibiotics those can make IBS much worse as well, and make your need for probiotics/prebiotics even greater. Unless you really need the antibiotics it's best to avoid a routine use.

Check here for an article that's got good probiotic/prebiotic info about this.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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