Irritable bowel syndrome is very common, affecting as many as 1 in 5 people. Doctors don't know what causes it, and, at this point, don't have much advice to offer on how to avoid getting it. Most people with IBS can control the symptoms by taking medications such as laxatives or antidiarrhea medication, reducing stress, and avoiding foods that set off symptoms.
Fortunately, no link has been established between IBS and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis nor has IBS been shown to lead to other serious diseases, like cancer.
Last reviewed on 7/28/09
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