Irritable bowel syndrome more commonly called IBS can have a huge impact on your life. People with IBS can experience abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, cramps, gas, and diarrhoea and IBS outbreaks can leave you feeling miserable. These symptoms can anything from a few days to weeks.
Whilst there is no cure for IBS, there are options to stop you from suffering. Your GI doctor can prescribe medication if needed and there are dietary changes that will help to manage your symptoms.
We have created a list of ways IBS sufferers can minimise their outbreaks and get back to enjoying a healthy lifestyle
Whilst there are certain foods known to trigger IBS attacks (we will get into these in more detail later) everyone is different and if you are struggling to manage your IBS symptoms it will really help to keep a diary of foods you eat and your reactions. Try to write down everything you eat and drink for a few weeks and monitor when your IBS is flaring up. This will help you identify foods to avoid and triggers personal to you.
Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Keeping hydrated has many health benefits and it is especially helpful if you have IBS. Drinking water is one of the best ways to prevent chronic constipation which is one of the key symptoms of IBS. Even if you are having an IBS outbreak and if you are experiencing diarrhoea, drinking lots of water will help to replace lost fluids making you feel better quicker.
Water is proven to soothe stomach distress so try and ensure you are drinking water regularly throughout the day.
Make sure you are getting enough exercise
Whilst a session of intense cardio might seem daunting for IBS sufferers exercise is incredibly beneficial and can help you feel better. A 2018 study of IBS sufferers found that low to moderate activity could help with IBS symptoms and various other studies have concluded that exercise has health benefits.
Exercise increases your production of endorphins leading to less stress leading to a happier healthier you. If you are looking to add some gentle exercise to your routine we suggest jogging or even increasing your walking distances is a great way to being to build up your physical fitness and take control over your IBS.
We all know getting stressed is unpleasant but for those with IBS stress can aggravate symptoms making you feel worse. An article in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests that IBS is a “stress-sensitive disorder”. Therefore managing your stress levels is vital to leading a happy healthy life. If you are prone to stress try to look at ways of managing them,
As we mentioned exercise is beneficial to manage your IBS symptoms and if you are prone to stress or anxiety yoga could be a great exercise to help manage both your mind and your body. Other ways to manage stress levels could include, meditation, pleasant walks and ensuring you make time to do something for your own happiness. Laughter has many benefits so have you considered listening to some of the many comedy podcasts that are available. There is no one size fits all for stress so try and find a solution that works for you.
Whilst the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner work for some of us we are all different and for IBS sufferers it is worth experimenting. Some people find smaller more frequent males can help to manage symptoms. Consider trying this and marking it in your food and symptoms diary to see if it will help. Try to eat slowly making time to thoroughly chew your food as rushing your food can upset digestion. Finally try avoid eating late at night so you have time to digest your dinner before sleeping.
If you suffer from IBS it could help to increase the amount of fibre in your diet. This will allow food to move more easily through your digestive tract which should minimise stomach troubles. Chocolate, caffeine and processed fatty foods can often trigger bouts of IBS. These foods are high in fat and sugar and are best to limit in order to feel your best. If you can’t resist a sweet treat try to limit portion size and satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits where you can.
Finally, try and be kind to yourself. IBS is just one part of who you are. Take control of your IBS make positive changes and remember we are always here to help if you are struggling to manage your symptoms.
At GI Doctors we have expertise in treating all gastro related problems. Book a consultation with us today. We will discuss your symptoms and get you the best treatment so you can get on with living and enjoying your life.