What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as spastic colon, is a condition in which the intestinal muscles go into spasm. It can be caused by food sensitivities, caffeine,  and other drugs. It can also be caused by malabsorption of sugars – lactose in milk, fructose content in fruit juices, and dried fruit, and sorbitol and xylitol used in dietetic products; or as the result of a bacterial imbalance in the colon.

Symptoms include alternating diarrhea and constipation, distended colon, pain, gas, loss of appetite and nausea. Stress can exacerbate the condition. The most common food offenders are wheat and corn cereals, dairy, coffee, and chocolate. Eating a high fiber diet is recommended to help alleviate symptoms.

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