Manage Your Condition
It is not called the "irritable" bowel syndrome for nothing. IBS causes chronic pain and discomfort in the abdomen, as well as bloating and changes in bowel habits. These symptoms can cause physical and psychological discomforts. All things considered, there is no cure for IBS. However, the treatment largely involves certain modifications in the diet and lifestyle rather than medications.
If you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), undertaking measures to manage your disease can lessen not only your burden, but also the load that your condition places on everyone else around you, as IBS can really affect your life from all aspects including work and travel to personal interactions. However, you don’t have to worry. You’re capable of controlling your symptoms and bettering the quality of your life. Below are some tips on living with IBS:
1. Find a healthcare provider who fully meets your health needs
A single treatment approach is not ideal for IBS. To identify a comprehensive treatment that perfectly works for all your signs, symptoms, and triggers, it is imperative to closely work with a medical professional, who can either be a gastroenterologist or a primary care specialist, depending on the level of your IBS. Gastroenterologists deal with the diagnosis and treatment of digestive system disorders.
2. Pinpoint all your triggers
Understanding your body's reactions to IBS is very important. To study your IBS triggers, you can keep a diary for several days or weeks. Keep track of your medications, symptoms, diet, exercises, bowel habits, and stress levels. Next, analyze your patterns. For instance, you may learn that consuming fried foods tend to worsen your symptoms. Knowing your triggers can greatly help you to avoid them and improve your condition.
3. Take it slow
Gas can be tragic for IBS patients. To combat this, try minimizing the volume of air you take in by adopting slow eating and drinking habits. Take considerable time to enjoy your food. Eating slowly can really help you in reducing the symptoms after meals. Again, you can avoid chewing gum or smoking to reduce the amount of swallowed air.
4. Eat smaller portions
Many people suffering from IBS experience abdominal disturbances after taking their meals. Usually, eating excites the digestive system, but in IBS, an overreaction to meals can occur and large amounts of food can overstimulate a normal digestive system. If you experience symptoms after eating, you may have to forego heavy meals. Instead, spread out your daily intake into 5-6 meals a day.
5. Formulate a routine
During the day, IBS can really make you feel miserable even when your symptoms are mild. How? People with IBS experience a difficulty in sleeping because of severe pain or nervousness. To improve your condition, generate positive sleeping habits. Be sure to rise up the same time every morning, relax before exercises, and avoid spending much time on your bed during the day. Regular exercising and avoidance of naps can also be helpful.
6. Learn to avoid stress
You probably understand that stress is directly connected to IBS. It may alleviate symptoms and initiate flare-ups because your gut and the brain communicate through the nervous system. To cut down your stress levels, look for tangible strategies that can help you relax. Try deep breathing or consider taking yoga classes. Identify things that cool you down when you’re stressed and put them into practice.
7. Avoid being too anxious
It is normal to worry about your symptoms. However, getting too nervous can be harmful. See a medical professional for a confident diagnosis. Remember, IBS is not similar to inflammatory bowel disease and does not cause any type of cancer, so you shouldn’t torture yourself with such fears. However, IBS can vary with time. Therefore, be certain to inform your physician about any symptom variations or emergent signs that develop.
8. Gain knowledge
You should, on your part, take an active role in your own health care. Gain as much knowledge as you can about IBS to help you understand the nature of the disorder and the treatment options as well. You can get this information either from your doctor or you can explore in depth on the internet. You can read blogs where there are people from different places sharing their personal experiences in dealing with IBS.
Avoid sitting in one place for long hours. Also, avoid taking naps during the daytime. Exercise is likely to help you deal with IBS. Exercise at least 4-5 days a week to help get your heart pumping. You can also consider doing yoga, relaxation, and breathing exercises, which helps you tackle stress. If you are unable to do it all by yourself or having trouble on deciding which exercise is most suitable, then you could take the help of a physical therapist.
When you have IBS, quality sleep becomes difficult. IBS brings along chronic discomfort in the abdomen. Moreover, IBS symptoms are so disturbing that it affects the sleep pattern. Doctors say that it is very important to get regular and quality sleep.
11. Know where the bathrooms are
An IBS sufferer is constantly in need of a bathroom. Thus, make sure that wherever you go, you have access to a bathroom. When going to a certain place, try to search for a bathroom long before you need it.
Whom should you tell?
IBS may bring about changes in your personal and professional life. If you are a student, your constant breaks to the washroom may not be taken well by the professors if they do not know the reason. In this case, it is necessary to inform your professors, bosses, and friends about your condition.
On the other hand, when sharing this information with close friends and family, make sure you give them a detailed explanation of IBS and what your daily life is like because of your condition. It will also help them to cope better with your situation.
Don’t psyche yourself out
You might at times think about stepping back from taking trips, attending ceremonies, or being part of any social gathering due to your condition. However, you cannot just cut off your social life because of it. Thus, you need to talk to people about your condition and let them also realize that it is not a big deal. You should also have the courage to lead an absolutely normal life.