How to deal with IBS | Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS can have a huge impact on your day-to-day living. The impact of IBS on people’s lives is often underestimated. IBS is diagnosed by a general practitioner or a gastrointestinal specialist / doctor based on symptoms. Other tests include; blood test, stool test, celiac disease and lactose intolerance tests or a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, there is no cure for IBS however there are many ways to help decrease your symptoms. If you would like to learn more about how to improve IBS and stress, read this blog.
IBS can be divided into four subtypes: IBS with constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), IBS mixed type (IBS-M) and IBS unsubtyped (IBS-U). People with IBS-M experience constipation and diarrhea while those with IBS-U do not have any of these symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with IBS the following advice may help control your symptoms.
1. Deal with IBS by dietary changes
Everyone experiences IBS differently so while some dietary changes may relieve symptoms in one person, the same changes may not be suitable for another. Keep a symptom and food diary to help identify what triggers your IBS.
If you are regularly constipated, this could indicate that you are not consuming enough fiber in your diet. On the other hand, if you suffer from diarrhea, temporarily reducing your intake of high fiber foods such as wholemeal products, legumes, nuts and seeds can help bulk up the stool and ease diarrhea. The recommended average intake of fiber is 30 grams per day, but many find it hard to include enough fiber in their diet. When increasing fiber intake, it is important to do it slowly to reduce the risk of bloating and wind. Also, aim to drink 8-10 glasses of fluids per day to help the fiber to swell up.
Eating food more slowly in a relaxed environment can minimize abdominal bloating as you reduce the amount of air swallowed. Many IBS sufferers become anxious around food. Limiting distractions such as your mobile phone or TV can help you become more mindful of eating and reduce anxiety.
Eating 3 regular meals without snacks
Large meals can exasperate symptoms. Instead of eating one large evening meal, try eating 3 regular meals spread throughout the day without snacks to allow your gut to rest.
Some people find that fatty foods (ie, deep fat fried, battered, confectionary) bring on symptoms. If this is the case for you, try to limit your intake of fatty foods and monitor your symptoms.
Alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine (coffee, energy drinks and smaller amounts in tea) are known as gut stimulants. Basically, this means that they can increase the risk of diarrhoea, bloating or cramping. If you frequently have to rush to the bathroom after a cup of coffee or glass of prosecco, it is worth reducing your intake of these.
Lastly, reducing the amount of carbonated drinks may also relieve bloating and wind.
2. Regular exercise
Regular exercise gets your gut moving and especially helps those suffering from constipation. Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Exercise can also reduce stress levels. If you are nervous about exercising in public, home workouts are a fantastic option! Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day such as walking or cycling. Even cleaning and gardening count towards your 30 minutes a day!
3. Rest to deal with IBS
Your gut can sense when your body is feeling stressed. In turn, this can increase feelings of bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Try to focus on the moment and don’t overthink situations. Dedicating a part of your day to focus on just you is a good way to become aware of your feelings and can ease symptoms. Take part in activities that you enjoy and that help ease your anxiety for example, walking, yoga and meditation. Sharing your experience with friends or family is a useful way to ease anxiety during social situations. This means that you can plan suitable activities with your friends rather than worrying about where the nearest toilet is.
Before you will be able to know what your body needs, before you will be able to understand when your body is telling you something, you will need to get to know your body’s language.
IBS relief program
PDS coaching offers an IBS relief program in English . The IBS relief program consists of 5 main pillars namely: awareness, eating, exercising, energy and resting. With this complete program you’ll discover how you can get rid of your stomach / intestinal complaints, with lasting results, in a way that suits you personally. We always treat everyone individually, focusing on you, your personal situation and your specific complaints. This is the only program you need to regain control over your intestinal complaints.
If you would like to find out more about Janna Koopman’s work as an IBS dietitian and coach, leave a comment below. Do you want more personalized advice? Please feel free to contact Janna for a free consultation.