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How does irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affect the body?

Although your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms may be extremely uncomfortable, the disorder itself has little impact on your body. It does not lead to inflammation, and it does not damage your intestines. However, if you avoid certain foods because of your irritable bowel syndrome, you may not get enough of the nutrients you need, and your body may become malnourished.

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Whatever you may have discovered about your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms over the years, the most important thing to know is that even though they are distressing and disruptive, they are not dangerous. Your symptoms cannot hurt you physically. This knowledge is one of the first and most important steps in your healing. The science of mind-body-spirit medicine can help you see your symptoms as signals from your body that you may be out of balance, overstressed, emotionally depleted or spiritually malnourished. In this way, your functional symptoms may themselves direct your healing.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.