Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is called a “syndrome” because it comprises a group of symptoms. It affects the colon, or large bowel, which is the part of the digestive tract that stores stool. Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease. It’s a functional disorder, meaning that the bowel doesn’t work, or function, correctly.

Symptoms can include abdominal pain; chronic diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both; a swollen or bloated abdomen; whitish mucous in the stool; and the feeling that you have not finished a bowel movement. Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their menstrual periods.

Irritable bowel syndrome has no cure, but you can do things to help relieve symptoms. Treatment may involve medication, stress relief and dietary changes. Some foods that may make IBS worse include fatty foods, milk products, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated drinks and carbonated drinks.

You may have to try a few things to see what works best for you. Your doctor can help you in finding the right treatment plan.


— Source: The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

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