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Living With and Managing IBS

Living With and Managing IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects an estimated 15 percent of adults worldwide, and its symptoms have the potential to cause major pain and disruption to an individual's day. While this condition can be difficult to live with, there are certain things patients can do to make their symptoms more manageable every day.

What is IBS?

IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. The condition is characterized by a group of symptoms that can include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. While the exact cause of IBS is still unknown, it's believed to be related to problems with how the muscles in the colon contract and relax.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of IBS include changes in the gut microbiome, inflammation in the intestines and a hypersensitive gut. Additionally, certain foods, stress and hormonal changes may trigger symptoms in some people with IBS.

Dietary Changes

Making dietary changes can be an effective way to manage IBS symptoms. Certain foods such as dairy products, high-fat foods and caffeine can trigger symptoms in some people. Keeping a food diary can help identify trigger foods, and eliminating or reducing those foods can help reduce symptoms. Some people with IBS find that following a low-FODMAP diet, which limits certain types of carbohydrates, also can be helpful.

Stress Management

Stress can trigger IBS symptoms in some individuals, so navigating stress is an important part of managing the condition. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga can be helpful for reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

Medications In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage IBS symptoms. These may include antispasmodics to reduce cramping, laxatives to relieve constipation and antibiotics to treat bacterial overgrowth in the intestines.

You should always speak with a medical professional before taking medication to address your symptoms.


Consistent exercise can help promote regular bowel movements and improve overall physical and mental health. It’s important to avoid high-impact activities that can jostle the digestive system; rather, choose low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming.

Managing IBS with Southwest General Health Center

While living with and managing IBS can be challenging, there are certain things patients can do to make their symptoms more manageable every day. Our gastroenterology team is here to help you find the best course of action to treat and manage your IBS symptoms so you can live more comfortably.

Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. (SGMG), includes gastroenterologists who are committed to providing patients with high-quality medical care. For more information and to reach out to our team and request an appointment, visit our website at