a woman standing in a sea of salt with enormous salt shakers dumping salt around her.

Does a Low Sodium Diet Help IBS Symptoms?

It has been about 2 1/2 months since I started a restricted diet. I have drastically reduced the amount of sodium I consume, and I noticed a big difference in my IBS symptoms. I wasn’t sure if this was a fluke or if it really was a result of diet changes. A recent vacation caused me to deviate from my diet. Here is what I learned.

Does sodium cause IBS symptoms?

Let me say this first. I do not think it is the sodium itself that causes symptoms. I think a lot of the foods that are high in sodium are processed, greasy, fatty foods. Those types of foods cause symptoms for me. Significantly reducing the amount of these foods in my diet seems to have helped a great deal.

Although my initial thought was that this diet change did help, I was able to put this to the test when I went on vacation.

A restricted diet on vacation

It’s almost impossible to stick to a heavily restricted diet while on vacation. Every choice in a restaurant seems to break at least one of those restrictions. I threw caution to the wind and declared my diet on vacation.

Since I could not find foods that fit my diet, I decided to eat whatever I wanted for the entire 5 days. While I did enjoy it at the time, I quickly found that my new dietary restrictions did indeed help.

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

IBS symptoms returned with my diet change

After several days of eating junk, the bloating and cramping returned. I felt the all-too-familiar pain where my gallbladder used to be as well. All of the different symptoms that caused me to be uncomfortable or even in pain had suddenly returned.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sushi dipped in a generous amount of soy sauce, but I paid for it later. The veggie pizza topped with the most delicious cheese I ever tasted certainly came back to haunt me. Those amazing stuffed tater tot kegs were memorable for not-so-nice reasons.

Foods that cause pain aren’t worth it for me

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed these delicious foods, I wish I had never eaten them. Days later I am still trying to get rid of all the issues this dietary vacation caused. It just wasn’t worth it.

I know it will take a while for my system to calm down again, but I am so tired of it. I truly enjoyed my symptom-free weeks and desperately want to return to those times.

Abstaining from foods that cause IBS symptoms

I know I will continue to have cravings for unhealthy foods from time to time. Eating whatever I wanted on vacation didn’t help with that. I am now struggling with that as well.

Still, remembering that all those foods are what caused my current woes is enough to make me abstain. I do still have the cravings, for sure, but it is easier to say no now that I know the pain it causes.

Getting my diet and IBS symptoms under control

I feel like I am back at the start as far as getting my diet under control, but at least now I know it is worth it. I know the sacrifices and struggles made a difference in how I feel. Knowing the reward, I have to say I feel my restricted diet is worth it. All those sodium-filled foods cause pain, and I want to avoid as much pain as possible.

Have you changed your diet to help with IBS symptoms? What dietary changes did you make? Did it help? I would love to hear about your experience.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.