IBS and Nutrition

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic or intermittent disorder of gastrointestinal functioning. IBS is associated with a group of symptoms that affect the large and small intestines. It is estimated that IBS affects 10 to 15 percent of adults. Though no specific cause is known, several factors may contribute to IBS, including genetics, lifestyle, allergies, infection or a change in intestinal bacteria type or amount. Certain foods and stress may trigger symptoms. Diet changes, stress management, and a healthy, active lifestyle may help manage IBS.

Symptoms of IBS vary, but typically include one or more of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gassiness

The best way to manage IBS is to understand what may cause episodes of discomfort and then work to eliminate or minimize them. While medication, stress management, and probiotics may help, diet and eating habits should be a focus, because both can have a significant impact. Simple changes in your diet can offer relief and reduce future flare-ups.

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