Stressed About IBS?

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What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) iscommon disorder that affects the large intestine (colon) and can cause cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea and constipation.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of IBS can vary drastically in those affected and some of the symptoms resemble other diseases. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain/ cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Mucus in the stool

What is the Cause?

There is no known cause for IBS. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax in rhythm as they move food from your stomach through your intestinal tract to your rectum. The nerves and muscles in the bowel appear to be extra sensitive in people with IBS. Food is forced through your intestines more quickly, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. As many as 1 in 5 American adults has signs and symptoms of IBS, but very few get medical help. Learn how IBS is treated.

How is IBS Treated?

  • Diet Changes
  • Medicine
  • Stress relief

Some foods and drinks make IBS worse.

Fatty foods, milk products, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, carbonated drinks.

Some foods and drinks make IBS better.

Fiber may reduce constipation and make it easier to pass soft stool. Breads, cereals, beans, fruits, and vegetables are all good sources of fiber. Note: Too much fiber can cause gas.

Eat Small Meals

Try eating four to five small meals a day instead of large meals that can cause cramping and diarrhea


Laxatives treat constipation. Antispasmodics control spasms in the colon.

Stress Relief

Reduced stress can cramping and pain. Meditation and exercise may help.

Point to Remember

Keep a diary of foods that are a problem and the symptoms they cause and try your best to avoid them.


References for Stressed About IBS?: Nutrition Education for NOVEMBER 2011. Produced by Meals on Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County. For questions regarding nutritional information, please contact Denise Blevins, R.D./L.D., Director of Nutrition Services for Meals on Wheels, Inc. Tarrant County at (817) 336-0912 or email:

Posted in Nutritional Education.

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