- Nine effective tips to manage and prevent IBS symptoms and flare-ups
If you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you already understand how disturbing and problematic flare-ups can be. The IBS signs and symptoms can range from abdominal inflation to frequent diarrhea. There are multiple effective strategies for stress management that could truly improve your condition.
Here are great tips that will help you avoid IBS flare-ups.
Easily said and hardly done, right? Not really.
One crucial technique for suppressing stress is progressive relaxation. This tactic involves consistent tensing and relaxation of all the body muscles. To substantially utilize this method, begin by tensing your feet muscles and consequently relaxing them. Then go ahead and do the same to the following parts of your body: thighs, abdomen, calves, scalp, arms, and face.
Every time you release the muscle, be sure to gently liberate your tension as well.
2) Manage your stress proactively
People with IBS experience severe symptoms like bloating and stomach pains when they’re under intensive stress. That’s why it’s very important that you carefully manage your stress by avoiding flare-ups. To effectively control stress, observe the following measures:
• Deep breathing
• Gratitude lists
The secret to valuable deep breathing is to fully concentrate on the abdomen and not the chest. This facilitates abdominal muscle relaxation and can trigger increased habitual bowel activity.
3) Consider counselling
Don’t be shy about your IBS condition; you’re not the only one suffering from it. Gather courage and seek help!
Having irritable bowel syndrome isn’t something to be embarrassed about; in fact, being ashamed and stressed can worsen your situation. If you choose to seek assistance from a professional counselor, you’ll benefit from his/her proficient responses to real life situations and events.
4) Avoid eating bad foods
In the same way that some fiber-rich food can provide relief for your IBS flare-up symptoms, there are numerous foods that can severely worsen your condition. These foods may vary from person to person depending on the body's responses. Thus it's important to observe and take note of what specific food disconcerts your stomach. It can greatly help you keep track of your reactions to certain foods.
There are a number of foods that have been proven to worsen people’s IBS signs and symptoms. They include:
• Sugar-free sweeteners like sorbitol
It’s also crucial to note that many people have strong attachments to dairy. If you fancy dairy too much to surrender it, try combining it with other healthy foods. You can as well break down the lactose using an enzyme enriched product.
5) Eat lots of fiber and drink the right fluids
What you eat is very important to your health. The foods you take can have a significant effect on your IBS flare-ups. Adding more fiber to your daily diet can reduce gastrointestinal symptoms like cramping and constipation. The best thing is to steadily increase your fiber consumption over some weeks. That way, the body will get gradually used to the additional fiber and you can analyze the right amounts for your body.
Again, drink enough fluids. This will aid in soothing your IBS flare-ups, but only when you take the appropriate fluids. Water is greatly beneficial. The following fluids, however, can be harmful. Avoid taking them.
• Caffeinated drinks
• Carbonated drinks
• Drinks containing alcoholic content
Your diarrhea could get worse if you take alcohol or caffeine. While carbonated drinks like soda could cause gas.
6) Stay wheat free
Let’s face it, wheat has been a part of your diet for a long time now but your bowel movement was not IBS. Given the habit of eating wheat daily, it should be completely put off the diet for weeks. Then again you can start eating it in once in three or four days.
Check if you have worsened your symptoms or they are unaffected. If eating even a small portion of wheat disrupts your bowel, then it should be avoided.
7) Maintain a food journal
Heard of a dream journal? Well, now it is high time to jot down your daily meals and the experience after it. Many a time you might not be able to follow all the steps here and risk a flare. So just to be sure what caused it, take a moment of your time and write what you ate and how you felt.
A journal like this could go a long way in treating your frequent flares.
This is the most helpful step which can prove to be a great hack.
8) MSG, condiments, and gravy
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) might enhance the flavor of the meal, but it is a complex chemical, among others, which can be hard to digest. Various condiments, sauces, and gravies, or a mixture of all three, are flare bombs.
With the likes of food coloring, emulsifiers, MDG, MPG, CDG, and sweeteners like aspartame are usually some of the chemicals you are unknowingly eating when dining in a nice restaurant. Checking in earlier with the chef and selecting the food free from such chemicals would be wise and nifty while eating out.
9) Always be prepared when out of the house
Whatever experiment you want to do or the new dish you want to try, ideally cook and eat it first at home. Sudden flares might be a hindrance to your outing, so put your journal to use and avoid such food outside.
Try to choose travel destinations where there's clean water and medicine. Do pack needed pills and some healthy snacks. You could travel anywhere with ease only if you prepare beforehand.
Know the signs and symptoms that affect you the most. If you have recently triggered your symptoms, then postpone your trip. It is less than desirable to travel in poor health. Plan your trip when you have not had an episode for some time. Do not forget to have your doctor’s number on speed dial.
Remember, treating your IBS is quite demanding. The above tips may not relieve your symptoms instantaneously, but they’ll certainly help treat you over time.