Between 10 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population is affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yet the cause of the common digestive disorder is unknown. Lifestyle-related stressors, poor diet and overeating often exacerbate symptoms, but the opposite also is true: Adopting a whole foods-based, happy belly diet filled with foods that promote digestive comfort is a delicious prescription for digestive ease.
IBS is considered a “functional disorder,” because it refers to a set of symptoms rather than a specific disease. It often causes significant discomfort, though it is not considered a serious health threat. IBS is not related to inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Typical symptoms include abdominal bloating and soreness, gas and alternating diarrhea and constipation.