FeaturesFeb/Mar 2013 Issue

FODMAP: Road Map for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

We describe the symptoms, causes and cures related to IBS.

[Updated May 19, 2015]

Irritable Bowel Syndrome interferes with life. People who have it narrate a frustrating journey of countless tests and recurring symptoms that wax and wane but are rarely relieved for long.

The physical pain is often crippling and the psychological and social stresses are a constant burden. The story of going to a wedding, concert or movie and always sitting in the back or at the end of an aisle in order to quickly get to a bathroom is echoed throughout the IBS community. People describe the embarrassment at having to hide cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea (the usual symptoms of the illness) from family and friends, from colleagues at work, from acquaintances at social events. Life with IBS is a constant challenge.

IBS provokes anxiety—people don’t know when symptoms will strike or where they will be. This condition colors and narrows their world. It cramps the psyche, as well as the gut.

“I get very anxious about going on a trip. I’ve had several attacks on airplanes.” —Nancy

“Occasionally you feel great but then you think, 'When is the shoe going to fall?”' —Barbara

Next: What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

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