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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (cont.)

Medical Treatment

Most people with irritable bowel syndrome have problems only occasionally. A few may experience long-lasting problems and require prescription medications.

  • A common treatment for IBS is the addition of fiber to the diet. This theoretically expands the inside of the digestive tract, reducing the chance it will spasm as it transmits and digests food. Fiber also promotes regular bowel movements, which helps reduce constipation. Fiber should be added gradually, because it may initially worsen bloating and gassiness.

  • Stress may cause IBS "flares." Doctors may offer specific advice on reducing stress. Regularly eating balanced meals and exercising may help reduce stress and problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Smoking may worsen symptoms of IBS, which gives smokers another good reason to quit.

  • Since many patients with irritable bowel syndrome report food intolerances, a food diary may help identify foods that seem to make IBS worse.
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Irritable Bowel Disease »

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional GI disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of specific and unique organic pathology.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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