IBS is an awkward condition because its triggers are different for each and every sufferer. What may affect one person doesn’t impact another, so treating it is incredibly challenging.
One common thread that surrounds the successful treatment includes being proactive in your approach to dealing with IBS.
Some of the questions that you should ask yourself include:
- Are you ignoring the symptoms? Our advice – Don’t! Delaying treatment will only make the situation worse. IBS symptoms are a warning that something is wrong inside your body – pay attention.
- Do certain foods cause you pain? You should better understand what foods may act as negative triggers for you by keeping a track using a food diary.
- What role does exercise play for you and identify if it helps alleviate the painful symptoms?
- Are you stressed and could this be affecting your situation?
IBS Stress And Top Tips To Reduce It
Stress is something that we are all familiar with and is for sure, very difficult to eliminate for many. When it comes to IBS, stress is significant due to the fact that stress and anxiety may make sufferers more ‘aware’ of the pain caused when spasms occur. There may also be some connection between IBS and the immune system, which is negatively affected by stress. Whatever the connection, stress definitely exacerbates the symptoms of IBS so looking at ways to manage stress is a great start to treating IBS.
To minimize your stress you can try a range of options including yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep-breathing exercises, and regular exercise to promote relaxation. Therapy has also been shown to positively affect IBS sufferers.
Eating The Right Way
We are what we eat and this is never more true for IBS sufferers. Evidence suggests that certain foods can negatively trigger painful symptoms. If you suspect something is acting as a trigger, eliminate this from your diet. It may take several days to clear the negative effects from your system but after this time, if you feel the benefits, you know that it isn’t something that you are able to tolerate. To double test your belief, you can slowly introduce it once again and if your symptoms start again, you have your answer.
Common food triggers include:
- Fried Food
- Spicy food
Other tips for healthy eating include consuming smaller meals and more frequently, increase fiber intake (make sure it is soluble fiber), and introducing probiotics to your daily diet. If you decide to introduce a probiotic to optimize intestinal health then ensure that you choose a high-quality version that contains a high count of CFU (colony forming units), we suggest that a product that is over 2 million CFU’s can be considered a quality probiotic.
Keep A Food Diary
Keeping an individual food diary is paramount to creating a successful treatment plan that is specifically individual for you. It may appear daunting at first but the benefits are huge. By knowing what food negatively reacts with your body is an invaluable way to reduce the painful spasms that come with IBS. There are many ways in which you can do this – us a phone app or simply do it the old-fashioned way and write everything down. Take note of the following:
- what food is eaten
- when food is eaten
- What you feel like when you have eaten it
- the onslaught of any symptoms and their pain level
Be thorough with what you write down to make sure that you are clear with what is affecting you. Do this for a few weeks and you will for sure start being able to identify a pattern of foods that trigger your symptoms. Then try eliminating them from your diet and see what happens.
Doctor Knows Best!
Dr. Google can be a great source of information, however, often this information can be alarming at best, confusing, with most symptoms leading back to the big scary ‘C’. A search on Google can leave one feeling frightened and scared. Our advice, speak to someone who knows about these things – your doctor or healthcare practitioner.
Typical treatments from your doctor can include prescription medication including antidiarrheal and antispasmodic medications. However, we suggest trying these only when the natural route has been exhausted. Prescription medication comes with possible side effects and the last thing you want to find is that by using them to eliminate one problem, you create another. Doctors can be a great source of ruling out serious causes as well as being able to refer you to a good nutritionist, who will be an invaluable resource in helping you path a new way forward in your eating habits.
In Short, We Advise:
- Be proactive and keep a diary of the food you eat
- Eliminate trigger foods
- Increase exercise frequency
- Introduce relaxation therapies (yoga, massage, meditation etc)
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
IBS is very common, you are not alone. Be proactive, be positive and stay focused – you can manage this – you are stronger than you think!