The symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can vary greatly from one person to another, but bloating is high on the list of commonly reported problems, particularly after eating a meal. Like the symptoms, what causes bloating in an IBS patient can vary from person to person, so it often takes a trial-and-error approach in your diet to find your particular trigger. In the case of rice, trying different types of rice might help isolate the exact cause of your bloating. If you continue to experience bloating, however, talk to your doctor. It may just be that you have another digestive disorder, along with your IBS.
The exact cause of IBS is unclear, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center, but the symptoms of IBS are known to be triggered by the muscles of the intestines contracting too quickly or too slowly. Diet plays a significant part in controlling or exacerbating IBS symptoms, but there is no generalized dietary advice that works for everyone, says the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. What food causes bloating to occur for you might cause no issues at all for another person with IBS.
A wide variety of rice types are grown throughout the world, but two basic descriptions are often used to categorize rice: brown rice and white rice. Brown rice is minimally processed, unlike white rice, and contains greater amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals than white rice, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. White rice is processed more thoroughly than brown rice. The refining process removes many of the nutrients and fiber from white rice, but it cooks more quickly and has a longer shelf life than brown rice. Because many of the nutrients are removed from white rice in the refining process, most white rice -- in the U.S., anyway -- has iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid added back into it.
Rice is not commonly considered a trigger for bloating related to IBS, but that doesn't mean it can't cause problems for some people. One possible reason may be the type of rice being consumed. For example, brown rice has a lot of fiber, which can cause gas and bloating, particularly if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber and are eating other foods, such as beans, that are also high in fiber. White rice is usually well-tolerated by IBS patients, according to the Gastroparesis & Dysmotilities Association, but it does contain starches that can cause gas and bloating.
Keeping a diary of your food for two to three weeks and noting if a particular type of rice causes bloating can help you isolate what your exact trigger could be, says the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. If you find that brown rice causes problems, lowering your overall fiber intake and drinking more water might help, as can, possibly, switching to white rice, as it contains little fiber. Switching to brown rice if white rice causes you problems might also ease bloating. Eating rice plain, without any other foods, spices or condiments, can also help you narrow which type of rice is causing the problem, as well as possibly eliminating other potential triggers.
Avoiding rice altogether might help ease bloating, but it's best to consult a qualified health practitioner if you decide to do this, as you might be missing out on vital nutrients. If you find that both types of rice cause problems, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor, as you might suffer from a food intolerance, food allergy or other digestive disorder, in addition to IBS.