IBS Symptoms vs. CSID Symptoms: Signs, Symptoms, and Triggers

IBS Symptoms vs. CSID Symptoms: Signs, Symptoms, and Triggers

Gas, bloating, and diarrhea after eating is easily assumed to be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For some people with these symptoms, IBS may not be the culprit. They might actually have Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), also known as Sucrose Intolerance. The symptoms of IBS and CSID overlap some, but in most cases, the underlying causes of the symptoms are not the same.

Signs and Symptoms of IBS

IBS is the most common gut disorder in the United States, affecting more than 10% of the population. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with IBS. IBS alters intestinal functioning, which leads to abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhea, potentially alternating between the two. Abdominal bloating and gas are also common symptoms of IBS.

Diet, stress, hormones, and other elements may worsen IBS symptoms. Common trigger foods include dairy products and fruits, especially fruits that are high in fructose, such as apples, pears and watermelon. Dietary fats may also trigger abdominal bloating and gas.

Signs and Symptoms of CSID

CSID occurs far less frequently than IBS and is known to affect women and men equally. CSID is a condition where an individual has a limited ability to break down table sugar (sucrose) and starch. People with CSID lack or have low levels of the digestive enzymes sucrase and isomaltase. Sucrose occurs naturally in fruits and some vegetables and legumes, and is also a common sweetener added to foods like ice cream, cakes, candy, granola bars, sweetened beverages, and breakfast cereals.

Symptoms come on soon after consuming foods containing sucrose. While the bloating, gas, and diarrhea can mimic IBS symptoms, constipation is not as common.

Foods to Avoid If You Have IBS

Many IBS sufferers find relief when following a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. In lay terms, FODMAPs include foods containing carbohydrates that may not be tolerated as well for those with IBS, leading to unwanted GI symptoms.

Foods to limit on a low-FODMAP diet include lactose (dairy products), excess fructose (asparagus, apples, pears, watermelon, dried fruit), fructans (garlic, legumes, and onion) and sugar polyols that include the artificial sweeteners sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol; and cauliflower, mushrooms, and watermelon. Most people with CSID will not see an improvement in their GI symptoms by following a low-FODMAP diet because it does not limit foods that contain sucrose or starch. This can serve as an important clue as you work toward a CSID diagnosis.

Foods to Avoid If You Have CSID

People with CSID should avoid foods containing sucrose and starch. Common sucrose-containing foods include white and brown sugar, high-sucrose fruits (apples, bananas, melon, and tropical fruits), sweeter vegetables (corn, carrots, sweet potatoes), and some beans.

Foods high in starch include grains like wheat, oats, and rice; starchy vegetables (corn and potatoes); legumes (beans, peas, lentils); and breads, cereals, and crackers, including gluten-free versions because they substitute wheat starch with other starches (potato, rice, corn). For a complete list of foods to avoid with CSID, visit the dietary guide found on sucroseintolerance.com.

If you believe you have been misdiagnosed with IBS or may have CSID, take our online quiz and ask your doctor about tests that may help diagnose CSID.


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Sucrose Intolerance May Be More Common Than You Think