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A person walks through an organic market as plants spring up beneath their feet and leave a grassy path behind.

Can Eating Organic Help IBS?

Over the past two decades dealing with IBS, I’ve had to tweak and re-tweak my diet in order to keep it under control. I’ve given up coffee and caffeinated drinks and cow milk. I’ve cut down on fatty and greasy foods and focused on soluble fiber-rich meals. I take a daily, high-quality probiotic. I avoid beans and most other high FODMAP foods. I make sure to not overeat at a particular sitting.

Can eating organic foods help with IBS symptoms?

However, it’s not just the foods themselves but how they are grown and processed that I think can make a difference in managing IBS. Though the jury is still out (or rather, not a lot of in-depth studies have been done at all on this), I believe trying to eat mostly organic foods has also helped my IBS. Why is this? Well, foods that are not grown organically are treated with chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides (or in the case of dairy products such as cheese–which I still eat–the cows can be treated with hormones). I can assume since my sensitive gut has such a hard time digesting things, that this also includes foods with residues of harsh chemicals. But it’s more than that: I also have a reproductive disease known as endometriosis–which is when the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body where it’s not supposed to–including on the bowels.

Endometriosis and IBS can benefit from organic foods

Endometriosis is very sensitive to estrogen and chemicals that can mimic estrogen in the body–which pesticides and hormones can do. Taking in too much estrogenic chemicals into the body can potentially exacerbate my endo and cause my endometrial growths to proliferate–including those on or near my bowels. This, in turn, can complicate or aggravate my IBS. As such, I try my best to eat mostly organic as opportunity and budget allow. Because by keeping my endo in check, I also am more likely to keep my IBS in check. Additionally, I notice a difference in my IBS when I eat more organic, minimally processed foods versus when I am eating foods that are more processed and not organic. Namely, I am more prone to IBS flares when I consume the latter. So, I try to avoid it as best I can.

How about you, have you tried eating an organic diet? Has it helped at all? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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.


  • tmholland moderator
    6 months ago

    Thank you, thank you @explodingguts. You are obviously very determined to help yourself in the best ways you can. I completely understand the ‘dance’ you have to do with IBS. What works one day, may not the next and so it goes :-). We very much appreciate your contributions here.

  • ExplodingGuts
    6 months ago

    I made all the usual recommended dietary changes – eating this, not eating that, drinking, not drinking, not eating after a certain time, frequent ingestion of sand-like concoctions – none of it had any lasting effect. I like to cook and favor a healthy Mediterranean-California cuisine, so I now just make whatever we like and damn the torpedoes, so to speak.

    I have had some relief the last few months from a tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water an hour or so before eating but, for me, the big breakthrough came from making a conscious effort to be more aware of stress and then head it off at the pass.

    My theory is that it took a long time to acquire the exploding guts response, so it will probably take time and conscious effort to re-train and correct it.

    I have learned to avoid certain people and conversations. For example, when spouse starts talking about a particular client, I know my input is neither sought nor appreciated so I just leave the room. Spouse is learning to either work it out without me or let it go. A win-win. I no longer visit certain family members as frequently. That sort of thing. Removing negativity is like a free holiday.

    I still need Immodium and Zantac every once in a while but slowly I find I am getting my life back.

    I recently found a local park with washrooms so I can go for long-ish walks again fairly nearby. I never realized before we moved that the new city would have so few public washrooms. I just took it for granted. Anyway, it’s a start as I enter what finally looks like recovery.

  • ldonne
    6 months ago

    Thanks for your post @laura-kiesel.
    I have noticed a difference eating the organic oats, from the Quaker Oats brand.
    They don’t cramp my stomach. I even bought organic bananas this week. Going to try buying more organic food choices this month. Trying to manage my symptoms with good and healthy food choices, and my daily medications.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    6 months ago

    That’s great, @ldonne! Definitely keep us updated about trying other organic foods! – Chris, Team

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