Should You Drink Kombucha If You Have IBS?

Kombucha is a refreshing beverage that provides just enough vinegary zing to pep up even the dullest of afternoons at your desk. The "healthy" beverage goes way back. It may be trending right now, but WebMD states the drink dates back 2,000 years. Its core ingredients are traditionally yeast, sugar, and black tea. As the mixture blends together over time, it goes through a fermenting process and develops a small amount of alcohol. In the modern day, kombucha started gaining popularity in the U.S. when it was marketed as a health drink because of its content of probiotic bacteria, which is vital to promote gut health (via Glamour). The debate over the overall health perks of kombucha is still ongoing. But right now, we're more interested in finding out if this fizzy drink is ok to enjoy if you have IBS.

The National Health Service defines IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, as a condition that causes harmful symptoms to the digestive system. We're talking about cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. When you have IBS, choosing your food can be tedious or downright frustrating at times. But those with IBS know they can't say yes to any drink or food offered without some careful consideration first.

There is no blanket answer for those dealing with IBS

So, is this fizzy "health drink" a friend or foe to those currently trying to manage their IBS? It depends. Suzanne Perazzini, a nutritional therapist specializing in IBS, tells Well+Good that a full 8-ounce cup of kombucha can trigger the uncomfortable symptom of stomach bloating for those with IBS. Perazzini goes on to say that people with this condition should avoid carbonated drinks in general, stating, "Excess gas stretches the gut, causing cramping and pain due to its hypersensitivity."

Not all experts agree. Kombucha is a fermented tea and theoretically contains good-for-your-gut probiotics. Verywell Health suggests that if you are going to drink kombucha with IBS, read the labels to find one that is low in sugar. Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer to give when answering the question if kombucha is ok for people with IBS. Healthline notes that people with this condition have different triggers, which make it difficult for them to find out which foods and drinks should be avoided. CEO of global medical company Biomerica, Zack Irani-Cohen, suggests via Well+Good to try the vinegary drink and see how you feel. A little unnerving, yes. But your body will let you know if you can enjoy kombucha with IBS.