Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), sometimes called "spastic colon," is a very common condition. People who have IBS have digestive tracts that react abnormally to certain substances or to stress, leading to symptoms like cramps, gas, bloating, pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

What causes IBS?

Smoking, eating certain foods, drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks, or feeling stress or anxiety can alter the normal workings of the digestive tract and contribute to the motility problems that cause IBS. This doesn't mean that you have a disease like cancer, colitis, or an ulcer, just that your digestive tract isn't working the way it should. Although no one knows for sure, IBS may be a problem with the nerves or the muscles in your digestive tract. IBS can be a painful, annoying problem, but you and your doctor can do some things to make you feel better.


Certain medications may help regulate the working of your digestive tract. Your doctor may prescribe one or more for you if he thinks it might be effective. Medication can't cure IBS, it can only manage the symptoms.

Change your Diet:

Your diet may be an important cause of IBS symptoms. You may want to try the following:

*Pay attention to what foods bother you, and avoid them. For example, dairy products are hard for some people to digest.

*Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.

*Avoid caffeine and tobacco. These are muscle stimulants and can affect the working of your digestive tract.

*Avoid alcohol, which can irritate your digestive tract and make your symptoms worse.

*Eat more fiber if constipation is a problem. Fiber makes the stool softer and easier to pass through the colon. You can see the high fiber diet posted on our website.

Manage Stress:

If stress or anxiety contribute to your IBS, learning how to manage stress may help you feel better. Regular exercise is a great way to relieve stress.

Metro Atlanta Gastroenterology, LLC
(404) 255-4333 • 5669 Peachtree Dunwoody Road • Suite 210 • Atlanta, GA 30342