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544 Irritable Bowel Syndrome Independent

The patient with IBS needs encouragement to eat meals at regular intervals, to chew the food slowly to help promote normal bowel function, and to drink 8 glasses of water daily. Diet should include 30 to 40 g of fiber each day. Most of the fluid intake should be at times other than mealtime. Foods to avoid include alcohol, caffeine, and anything that may irritate the GI tract. For example, if milk or milk products cause cramping or discomfort, they should be avoided.

Incorporating regular exercise in the daily routine may be helpful in controlling GI motility, but strenuous exercise is not desirable. Reassure the patient that stress does not cause the illness, even though it may be a major factor in its severity. Refer patients to a counselor if anxiety and stress management might help manage the condition.

Getting to Know Anxiety

Getting to Know Anxiety

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