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What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Learn Which Risk Factors You Can Control
  -- By Liza Barnes & Nicole Nichols, Health Educators
Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are some of the common and uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Unfortunately, no one has yet discovered a specific cause for IBS, but there are many factors that are correlated with it. There are two main categories of risk factors that can contribute to IBS—those that you can't change, and those that you can.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors
These variables are out of your control. Although you can't do anything to change them, it's important to know what has been associated with the development of IBS symptoms. <pagebreak>
Controllable Risk Factors
Controllable risk factors are behaviors and factors that you can modify to lower your risk of suffering from IBS. There are many factors that have been associated with an increase of IBS symptoms that can be controlled or modified. Although IBS causes much physical pain and emotional stress, the good news is that it does not cause permanent damage to the body. Rather than let this condition control your life, consult with your doctor about how other lifestyle modifications or medications can help prevent and control your symptoms.