Skip to main content
Medically Approved

How to calm inflamed intestines

twitter share buttonfacebook share buttonlinkedin share buttonemail article button
SymptomsCausesLifestyle measuresTreatmentSummary
Inflamed intestines are a common symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). You can help reduce this by avoiding certain foods and exercising regularly.
Medically reviewed by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C
Written by Suan Pineda
Updated on

Inflammation of the intestines can happen for several reasons. Something you ate or drank might have irritated your digestive system, including your bowels. Or it could result from germs or a health condition.

The most common health condition that can lead to inflammation of the intestines is IBD.

IBD includes a group of chronic conditions that affect the digestive system and cause it to become inflamed, swollen, and painful. The most common IBD conditions are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

You can help calm inflamed intestines in several ways, such as exercising regularly, managing stress well, getting enough sleep, and taking any medications prescribed for your condition.

How do I know if my intestines are inflamed?

Female doing yoga to depict a method to calm inflamed intestines.
Photography by Tom Werner/Getty Images

When your intestines are inflamed, you can experience the following symptoms:

What can cause inflamed intestines?

Inflamed intestines are often the result of IBD. It’s an autoimmune condition in which our body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. More than 3 million people in the United States have IBD. 

Although the exact cause of IBD conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease isn’t exactly known, several factors can contribute to the development of IBD. These include:

  • Genetics: Genetics may play a role in the development of IBD. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, 5–20% of people with IBD also have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with one of the conditions.
  • Environment: Although research is ongoing, studies suggest that different environmental factors, such as childhood hygiene, air pollution, and seasonal variation, may play a role in increasing the likelihood of developing IBD.
  • Age: IBD usually develops after adolescence with most people receiving a diagnosis between the ages of 15 and 35.
  • Ethnicity: According to data, being Hispanic or non-Hispanic white, Black, as well as being of Jewish Ashkenazi descent can increase the risk of developing IBD. 

How to calm inflamed intestines

Several ways can help you relieve symptoms of inflamed intestines.

One way is by eating a balanced diet. Depending on your specific condition, a healthcare professional may recommend that you follow specific diets for Crohn’s disease and eating habits for ulcerative colitis.

Man on phone in bed

100% online care

Treatment plans in 15 minutes or less for 40+ conditions.

Start consult now

Foods to eat more of

Some foods can help and soothe inflamed intestines, and promote overall gut health. You can consider eating:

  • foods that contain omega-3, such as salmon and sardines, as well as flaxseeds 
  • probiotics
  • fruits low in fiber such as bananas and melons
  • vegetables such as potatoes and asparagus
  • lean proteins such as chicken and fish
  • products made with refined grains, such as white rice and oatmeal

Foods to avoid

Certain foods can make symptoms worse and irritate your digestive system. Consider avoiding: 

  • fatty and greasy foods
  • sugar
  • dairy products 
  • spicy foods 
  • caffeine 
  • alcohol, if you drink
  • carbonated drinks  
Pill bottle with text 'Starts at $4'

Free prescription coupons

Seriously … free. Explore prices that beat the competition 70% of the time.

Get free card

Quitting smoking

Studies note that quitting smoking helps reduce the risk and improve symptoms for those with Crohn’s disease, a type of IBD. If you smoke, consider quitting to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Physical activity

Exercising regularly can help with your overall health and reduce symptoms of IBD.

Exercises that may help alleviate IBD symptoms include:

  • walking
  • swimming
  • yoga
  • cycling

Treatment options for inflamed intestines

Treatment for inflamed intestines would depend on the underlying cause. Since the most common cause of inflammation of the intestines is IBD, you may be able to address intestine inflammation by treating IBD.

Consider talking with a healthcare professional about your symptoms. They can help you determine what’s causing your intestines to swell up and identify the best treatment options based on your unique needs. 

If a healthcare professional determines that intestine inflammation is caused by IBD, treatment options may include medications such as:

In more severe cases of IBD, a healthcare professional may recommend surgical options, such as removing part of the intestines or widening the bowel.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.


Inflammation of the intestines can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • stomachache
  • bloody stool
  • fatigue (low energy)

The main cause of inflamed intestines is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of conditions that cause digestive system inflammation. The two most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Some things you can do to calm inflamed intestines include:

  • eating a balanced diet
  • avoiding trigger foods
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • taking certain medications

If you regularly experience inflammation of the intestines, talk with a healthcare professional. They can help determine what’s causing the inflammation and figure out the best treatment option for you.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

Article resources