IBS and Smoking


Smoking is very likely to interact with your IBS and can cause symptoms to flare up because the chemicals in cigarettes can both stimulate and irritate your gastro-intestinal tract (the digestive system).

When you inhale smoke from cigarettes, it doesn’t just go into your lungs. Some of it makes its way into your stomach and intestines and can irritate the gut lining. In turn, that can cause cramps, bloat, belching and gas. [1]

It can also cause heartburn and reflux, since nicotine causes an overproduction of stomach acid; this can make some IBS symptoms worse. It also decreases the amount of sodium bicarbonate produced in the pancreas; this is a chemical that helps regulate the production of stomach acid. If you smoke you are more likely to develop peptic ulcers and those ulcers are ten times more likely to perforate, which has an impact not just on IBS but on your digestive health generally. [2]

There is a lot of debate about whether smoking actually causes diarrhoea and studies show different results. However, it due seem that smoking can make diarrhoea caused by IBS more severe. [3]


Help to quit and improve IBS symptoms

Gut directed hypnotherapy is, of course, specifically aimed at helping you control your IBS symptoms, but hypnotherapy can help with many other issues as well. One of them is smoking.

How much quitting will help your IBS will vary from one person to another, but it's always worth doing because of the other health issues that come with smoking, not just the IBS-related ones. Quitting is also always a choice - you have to make it for yourself and put in the effort to stop smoking. However, once you have made that decision, if you’re looking for help in taking the next step, hypnotherapy could be just what you’re looking for.

You can find out about how hypnotherapy helps 'quitters', and how effective it can be on my other hypnotherapy site. Just FOLLOW THIS LINK to get more information.

And if you are already using hypnotherapy to help with your IBS, have a chat with me about adding an extra session or two to help you quit as well.









[1] Biedermann L, Zeitz J, Mwinyi J, et al. Smoking cessation induces profound changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota in humans. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59260. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059260

[2] GI Doctors. (2019). Smoking Effects for IBS and IBD | GI Doctors - London. [online] Available at: https://gidoctors.co.uk/smoking-ibs-ibd/#:~:text=Smoking%20and%20Irritable%20Bowel%20Syndrome&text=Smoking%20is%20likely%20to%20cause [Accessed 24 Mar. 2021]..

[3] Smoking and the digestive system. (2013). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/smoking-digestive-system [Accessed 24 Mar. 2021]


The Loft Complementary Therapies, 2A Assembly St, Normanton WF6 2DB

01977 678593 or email Debbie

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council registered for hypnotherapy



Covering Leeds, Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford: close to junction 31 of the M62 and public transport links. 

guild of ibs specialists