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How IBS impacts your stomach, diet and life

The stomach conditions impacts so many adults, but talking about it can be uncomfortable. There are ways to prevent it from taking over your life.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Millions of Americans deal with stomach issues especially IBS, irritable bowel syndrome. 

In fact it is estimated anywhere from 10-15% of adults have IBS. Doctors say it is the most prevalent gastrointestinal disease.

Most IBS patients are females under the age of 45. Diet, lifestyle and stress can all contribute to these stomach issues. 

So how can you tell if it's IBS or just a reaction to some bad food? 

"Abdominal pain is the hallmark symptom and when it's chronic," said Dr. Charles K. Carver with Rockingham Gastroenterology Associates. 

If you're having issues once a week for at least 6 months, experiencing a change with the frequency of your bowel movements, notice blood in your stool or experience quick weightless, go see a doctor. 

You can start with your primary care doctor who will then decide if you need to see a specialist. 

When it comes to diagnosing IBS, a colonoscopy is not required. Oftentimes a physicals, blood work and food diary can diagnose IBS. 

Colonoscopies are really only needed if you have alarm symptoms, like bleeding during a bowel movement or sudden weight loss. 

Monitoring your diet is a big part of managing your IBS. Everyone is unique and so if your gut, so low-FOD map diets are often recommended after looking at a food journals to identify trigger foods. 

Fiber is really important when dealing with IBS and patients should eat 25 to 35 grams a day. Black beans, lima beans and avocados are all great ways to achieve it. 

Things to avoid include high gluten foods,  foods high in fat, caffeine and carbonated beverages. 

Exercise is important for gut health and overall health. Doctors recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week. 

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