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I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome a little over a year ago, when I was a freshman in college. It was a bit of a shock at first, because I had always thought of IBS as something that people got when they were older. I was only 19, how could it be happening to me?

However, over the past year I have learned to deal with my IBS to keep the pain manageable and prevent as many flare-ups as possible. Here are some tips to try if you are suffering from the symptoms of IBS:

1) Avoid Stress. Yes, avoiding stress can be rather difficult, especially for a college student, but stress is VERY hard on your body, and can lead to increased pain for IBS sufferers.

2) Drink Plenty of Water. At least 8 glasses of water a day will help keep your body clean and will help flush out the toxins that build up.

3) Avoid Fast Food. Greasy, fatty fast food is one of the worst things that anyone can do to their body, especially IBS sufferers. Instead of grabbing the cheeseburger on the way home from work, make something at home instead. Not only will this save you pain later on, it will also save your wallet!

4) Adjust Your Diet. Find the foods that set off your flare ups (they can vary from person to person). For me, avoiding fatty foods (such as fried food, red meats, etc), dairy, caffeine, beer, beans, and certain raw vegetables (broccoli and peppers) seems to help a lot. Adjusting your diet can be hard, especially when many of the things that make you sick are the things that you love (as is the case for me)

If you keep these few simple tips in mind and have a talk with the best doctor your trust, you will hopefully be able to keep your IBS under control.