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Hot, Hot, Hot!

While discussing my IBS, my ulcers, my gastritis and my diet with my doctor the other day, he asked me how I was doing with spicy foods. He asked me this because when he met me I consumed 16oz. of hot sauce a day…I’m kidding of course…it was more like six. Joking aside, before the IBS especially, I was the condiment king. Of course, the favorite condiment by far was hot sauce (followed very closely by sriracha sauce). My doctor had treated me for ulcers long before the IBS came along. Of course I was told I was not allowed any SPICY with my ulcers and I complied for the most part. But, as soon as those suckers started healing, I was back on the…uh…sauce. The doctor’s question this time was whether or not I was eating (or tolerating) spicy foods in my diet. The answer is yes and no. Allow me to explain.

Spicy foods is a trigger

I don’t know if it’s because I smoked and drank heavily for many years, but I do believe my tastebuds are a bit damaged. I don’t think I ‘taste’ to full potential and thus, have made a habit of seasoning my food to extremes at times. With several stomach problems, you can see where there might be an issue. Now, I should say that my ulcers are in remission for the time being and I honestly haven’t had a major bout of gastritis for a good while now. So…what does that leave me with? Well, yes, the dreaded IBS. Could I, would I eat spicy stuff? Well, as you know, with my lack of impulse control, I have at one time or another ‘tested’ all of the hot stuff I like. I’ve found that some things mess me up and others don’t seem to affect me at all. This is what I’ve gathered. Natural hot/spicy like hot peppers and such go ok, even Tobasco (which according to the bottle at least) is just peppers and vinegar. I still eat onions and I love scallions with eggs. I think I’ve also learned to sub some of the saltier things from the low FODMAP list to help my spicy cravings. The more ‘extra’ stuff, like preservatives, additional spices, flavors etc. that a particular condiment or product has seems to indicate that it will not sit well with Mr. IBS. I pay for those things and I pay handsomely.

I’ve learned to use natural foods to replace the tastes that I like from a lot of processed foods and this seems to have worked out for me for the most part. Do I think this would work for everyone with IBS? Certainly, not. Honestly, sometimes I just think that I’ve built up a tolerance over time for spicy foods. But it certainly is hit or miss… I’m curious to know if there are any of you out there who simply can’t go cold turkey with spicy? What can you get away with? You know me, if I think I can get away with it…I’ll give it a go.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Holly5757
    1 year ago

    Usually, spicy foods do not trigger my IBS. Which I thought was very strange. I complained to my gastro dr that I can eat Mexican food with little trouble, but eat a plain baked potato the next day and I am in a flair for 3 days. He told me there is an explanation for that….spicy foods (peppers) have capsacin in them. Which is a natural analgesic. And my friends wonder why Mexican food is my favorite…. 😀

  • Chris Hall moderator
    1 year ago

    So interesting, @holly5757! Always nice to have something to put under the “Food That Works” column! Thanks for sharing with us. – Chris, Team Member

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