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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common ailments of the bowel (intestines). IBS is best described as a functional disease. The concept of functional disease applies to the muscular organs of the gastrointestinal tract; the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, gallbladder, and colon. In functional diseases, either the muscles of the organs or the nerves that control the organs are not working normally, and, as a result, the organs do not function normally.

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

Fiber can be helpful because it helps in bowel movement and helps in holding water to make stools soft and easy to pass. There are 2 types of fiber:

Soluble fiber helps both diarrhea and constipation. It dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. Many foods, such as apples, beans and citrus fruits, contain soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber helps in relieving constipation by moving material through your digestive system and adding bulk to your stool. Insoluble fiber is in whole grain breads, wheat bran and many vegetables.

Increase the fiber in your diet slowly. Some people feel bloated and have gas if they increase their fiber intake too quickly. Gas and bloating usually improve as you get used to eating more fiber. The best way to increase your fiber intake is eat a wide variety of high fiber foods.

Foods don't cause IBS. But some foods may make you feel worse. Foods that may make symptoms worse include the following:
Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea or soda
Milk products
Wheat, rye or barley

Keeping a diary for a few weeks may be a good way to find out if a food bothers you.
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