Smoking and IBS - Does Smoking Make IBS Worse? Is Tobacco an IBS Trigger?

  • Yep - just like alcohol and caffeine, tobacco is a drug that hits extra hard if you have IBS.

  • Tobacco - whether smoked or chewed - is a powerful GI tract stimulant, irritant, and carcinogen.

    • Tobacco irritates the intestinal lining, causing diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and gas.

    • Nicotine can also cause nausea and stomach cramps.

    • Smoking decreases the efficiency of food digestion, causing altered bowel movements.

    • Nicotine withdrawal can cause both constipation AND diarrhea.

    • Extra air swallowed during smoking can cause belching, bloating, and gas.

  • Nutshell? Tobacco is one of the worst triggers for ALL IBS symptoms.

  • Tobacco also has harmful physical effects on virtually the entire GI tract.

    • Smoking causes heartburn and reflux, two conditions folks with IBS are already prone to.

    • Smoking doubles your chance of developing a peptic ulcer.

    • Smoking is thought to increase the risk of Crohn's disease, and lead to gallstones.

    • Nicotine - a poison - weakens the lower esophageal sphincter.

    • Cigarette smoke has over 400 toxins and 43 carcinogens, all of which can affect your GI tract.

  • Insult & Injury: Tobacco increases the risk of all cancers of the digestive tract.

Tip Takeaway: The GI side effects of tobacco are immediate and violent. Smoking triggers every possible IBS symptom: pain, spasms, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea. If you needed yet another reason to quit smoking, you've got one.

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