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Health Tip: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms

(HealthDayNews) -- People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have intestines that squeeze either too hard or not hard enough, causing food to move too quickly or too slowly through the intestinal tracts.

Common IBS symptoms include: bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping that may go away after having a bowel movement; feeling the need to have a bowel movement after you've already had one; and feeling a strong urge to have a bowel movement.

There is no cure for IBS, but lifestyle changes can help control it. Also, certain medicines can be used to deal with specific symptoms, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says.

Eating a varied diet and avoiding foods high in fat can help control IBS. Other measures include: drinking plenty of water, eating a number of small meals each day instead of three large meals, and learning new ways to control and deal with stress.

The AAFP advises that people with IBS avoid using laxatives because they may become too dependent on them, resulting in weakened intestines.

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