Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is likely you, or someone you know suffers from it, given that more than 7% of Australians have IBS. But have you heard of PI-IBS? What is that?

What is PI-IBS?

PI-IBS stands for Post Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It happens after an infection, such as gastroenteritis, or food poisoning (such as salmonella or campylobacter) occurs. Whilst most individuals recover, with no further issues, unfortunately, some people go on to develop IBS. Research indicates that risk of development is increased two fold when psychological factors, such as chronic stress or anxiety, and adverse life events occur in the months prior to infection.

As with IBS, it is characterised by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, wind, constipation and diarrhea. It is a chronic condition, meaning long term management is required.

What causes PI-IBS?

Inflammation as a result of infection is one way the body reacts as part of the immune response. PI- IBS may result in a delay in turning off this response. Other research indicates that changes to the nerves in the gut as a result of infection may result in development of IBS symptoms, such as altered bowel movements and pain.

How to manage it?

As with other types of IBS, management comes down to a range of lifestyle and dietary factors.

Firstly though, ensuring the infection is dissolved is the first step. This may just mean a matter of time, or for some people taking antibiotics.


For many people, trialling a low FODMAP diet can make management much easier. This is done through removal of all high FODMAP foods, then reintroduction of certain high FODMAP foods to determine triggers. Common high FODMAP foods include milk, onion, garlic, mushrooms, cauliflower, apples and pears.

Stress management

Management of stress is essential when it comes to managing IBS. Be this through regularly being physically active, participating in yoga or meditation, or practicing mindfulness skills, reduced stress often means reduced symptoms. Getting enough sleep and fostering positive, healthy relationships can also result in less stress.

What about probiotics?

Probiotics may play a role in managing IBS, however it is important to get to the bottom of what is continuing to cause it. Probiotics may help with re-establishing the healthy bacteria in your gut, however if sensitivity has developed (particularly in relation to food), probiotics alone are unlikely to be enough to manage it.


It is important to remember that sensitivity is likely to change over time; for some people, sensitivities may change during or after pregnancy, or even seasonally.

For most people a bout of gastro or food poisoning is likely to be just that, however for some susceptible individuals, PI-IBS may develop. Management with stress reduction, and dietary modification is the best way of managing this.


About Chloe McLeod:Chloe McLeod is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Sports Dietitian passionate about motivating Australians to create positive relationships with food and educating them on making holistic health changes so they live the best lives they can. Specialising in sports nutrition, nutrition for arthritis and autoimmune conditions, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and food intolerances, Chloe also enjoys working with people to improve their general wellbeing, weight management and eating disorders. Chloe’s book, Anti-Inflammatory Eating is available to purchase online at Amazon for $9.99. The FODMAP Challenge is available to purchase online at www.fodmapchallenge.com for $149. Follow Chloe on Instagram: @chloe_mcleod_dietitian.

Main image source: Shutterstock

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  • I recently saw a Catalyst show on this subject and diet plays a very important part in easing the symptoms.


  • i had never even heard of this issue before but that means your article is doing it’s job.


  • IBS is getting to be known but I hadn’t heard of pI-IBS. Thanks for sharing


  • I know a lady who has IBS and can’t eat peas at all.
    Because of the high acid content some people have problems with citrus fruit.
    I have a relative who suffers from his. His is triggered by stress.


  • Bowel issues make life absolutely awful. Thanks for this article – informative and helpful.


  • haven’t heard of this but hubby has ibs

    • Regardless of if PI-IBS or not, can still be very frustrating! I hope he is managing it well!


  • I do know the effects of IBS but was unaware of PI-IBS. Thanks so very much for your very informative article. :-)


  • This seems very self explanatory lots of people affected

    • You are right, many people are. Luckily, it can be managed well :)


  • I’ve heard a lot about IBS but not PI-IBS. What an interesting article. And I completely believe in the importance of managing our emotions. Stress and anxiety can be the cause of so many digestive problems!

    • They really are! I find so often that with management of these, symptoms often dissipate.


  • Thanks for your article,l didn’t know about PI-IBS.


  • This is very interesting and useful information.


  • Gastro is bad enough. I would feel for the people that get this

    • Yes, it can be debilitating. Is so satisfying when people start to feel better!


  • This is a very unpleasant condition to have.

    • You are entirely correct, can be very frustrating indeed. Is so great when people are able to manage it and start feeling better!


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