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Health Condition

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

About This Condition

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that sometimes causes significant discomfort even though it is not a serious health threat. 

The cause of IBS remains unknown. IBS is not related to inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include abdominal bloating and soreness, gas, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. People with IBS are more likely than others to have backaches, fatigue, and several other seemingly unrelated problems.

Other Therapies

A common treatment for IBS includes limiting the intake of dairy products and beans, as well as foods containing caffeine, fructose, or sorbitol. Concentrated amounts of fructose are found in dried fruit and fruit juice. Sorbitol is found primarily in dietetic foods, where it is used instead of sugar (sucrose). No conventional treatments of IBS have been proven to be effective in controlled trials.

References

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65. Arffmann S, Andersen JR, Hegnhoj J, et al. The effect of coarse wheat bran in the irritable bowel syndrome. A double-blind cross-over study. Scand J Gastroenterol 1985;20:295-8.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.