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Stomach Pain Myths Vs. Facts

No one's immune from occasional upset stomachs, and nearly 40% of us will likely struggle with more serious digestive disorders like ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The good news is that doctors and scientists are constantly learning new things about the many complex diseases that affect our stomachs. So although tummy aches will continue to plague us, separating myth from fact about these nagging pains will shorten the time it takes to find relief.

By Jeannette Moninger

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Myth: Fill up on fiber and drink more water to cure constipation.

Fact: A fiber-rich diet—one with at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day—keeps you regular. But if you're feeling constipated, an article published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology says that fiber actually worsens symptoms like bloating and stomach pains, while water provides little relief. "Water gets your bowels moving only when you're dehydrated," says C. Gregory Albers, M.D., medical director of diagnostic gastrointestinal services at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center's Comprehensive Digestive Diseases Center. The best course of action is to be sure you are getting plenty of regular exercise.

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