8 Ways To Deal With IBS Flare Ups
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a common condition that affects the bowel, causing a range of unpleasant, and often embarrassing, symptoms. If you have IBS, then you don’t need us to tell you that it lives up to its name and is very irritating.
There’s no cure for IBS, but there are things you can do to help. So if you’re looking to discover ways to help you manage your IBS flare ups, then you’re in the right place!
What are the symptoms of IBS?
IBS causes symptoms that affect the digestive system. You may experience all of these symptoms, all of the time, or you may experience some of them, some of the time. Some people with IBS find that their symptoms change, for example, with their menstrual cycle, and other find that their symptoms come and go.
Common signs of IBS include:
- Episodes of diarrhoea
- Episodes of constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Excess wind, especially after eating
- Back pain
- Passing mucus in your stools
If you’re struggling with all or some of these symptoms, you could have IBS, so if you think you do, then make an appointment to speak to your GP to get a definitive diagnosis.
How can I manage my symptoms?
It’s thought that IBS is caused by problems with the nerves in the gut, signalling food to move along it too fast. Although the exact cause is still unknown, if you have a close family member with IBS, you have a higher chance of also having the condition.
There are medications that can help with spasms and chronic episodes of diarrhoea and constipation. But if you’re looking for ways to help manage your flare ups without medications or alongside medications, then here’s our 8 tips:
- Diet plays an important role in managing IBS so as much as you can, eat healthy, fresh, home cooked meals and avoid processed foods that contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt.
- Caffeine has a pretty immediate effect on the bowels so if you’re experiencing a bout of diarrhoea, try to avoid caffeine.
- Try to avoid gas forming foods too, these include cruciferous vegetables such as sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli as well as beans including kidney beans, baked beans and butter beans.
- Try slowly increasing the fibre in your diet to help keep your bowel healthy and moving along as it should. Introduce high fibre foods slowly so as not to overload your bowel, such as fruits, non-cruciferous vegetables, cereals and whole grains.
- Take steps to reduce stress, such as practicing mindfulness or yoga a few times a week.
- Regular exercise helps to reduce stress and boosts levels of our happy hormones, and many people find their IBS symptoms feel better if they’ve been exercising regularly. So keep up with your OYG plan!
- Stress and IBS are very much linked, and for this reason, some people find that talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help them work through their stress, which in turn makes their IBS better. Talk to your GP if you think this may benefit you.
- Keep a diary where you record your symptoms against what you eat, if you’ve exercised and how much stress you’ve felt. After a few weeks, you may notice patterns and you may be able to identify your IBS triggers.