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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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Exercise Cuts Irritable Bowel, Other Gut Woes

Active Obese People Have Less Gut Pain, Fewer IBS Symptoms

What You Do Affects How You Feel continued...

If that's so, it doesn't matter, says Levy, a licensed psychologist and social worker who sees many patients with gastrointestinal symptoms and irritable bowel syndrome. If patients report fewer symptoms, it means patients feel better. And feeling better is a key to getting better.

"Sometimes people label their symptoms in ways that are maladaptive," Levy says. "So if they have some symptom such as pain or gas they may catastrophize and think, 'Oh, I may have cancer,' or, 'There is something wrong with me.' That can make people restrict their lives more and more. It can become a downward spiral."

Part of getting patients over this, she says, is encouraging patients to eat appropriately and exercise daily. Other treatments for IBS include watching your diet by avoiding gas-producing foods and adding fiber to your diet for control of diarrhea or constipation. Stress relaxation techniques may also help you control stressful situations that may trigger the condition.

Levy is now studying treatments for children and teens who suffer recurring abdominal pain. Seattle-area parents interested in the NIH-funded study -- in which children receive free treatment -- may call (206) 616-2358.

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