If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short, you know the flare-ups can be unpredictable at times. Other times, you may find certain triggers that can aggravate your condition. The key is to figure out what those triggers are for you and then avoid these. Here are some tips to avoid IBS flare-ups.
1. Keep stress levels low
Pain and bloating can be reactions to stress. They manifest themselves even more so in those who have IBS. Employ sound stress management techniques to stay calm each day, such as through yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or just taking the time for a walk by yourself each day.
Bonus: regular bowel activity can result when you are stress-free.
2. Try progressive relaxation
Also known as Jacobson’s relaxation technique, this involves relaxing the muscles in your body to alleviate an upset stomach. It’s easy to do: tense then relax the muscles in your feet, making your way up through the body. Tense and relax each major muscle group, ending with your face and scalp.
3. Go to counseling
If you find it hard to keep stress out of your life, whether from work, relationships, health issues or family issues, seek out a counselor. How you respond to life’s stresses is just as important as the medical steps you take to deal with your IBS. Your counselor can guide you in making more positive effective responses.
4. Eat more fiber
Incorporating more fiber into your diet is a great way to avoid IBS flare-ups. Try more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are all low in fat and high in other nutrients. Do this gradually to find the right amount for you, as consuming too much fiber can bring on cramping, constipation, bloating, and dehydration.
5. Stay away from known trigger foods.
The foods that bring on IBS attacks can differ from person to person; however, some foods are pretty universal to IBS flare-ups, including:
- Sugar-free sweeteners (such as sorbitol or mannitol)
You may also find that staying away from dairy makes you feel better, too. If you can’t handle milk, try yogurt or soy, or simply decrease the quantity of dairy products you eat and drink.
6. Drink plenty of fluids
Water is best to keep your flare-ups at bay, plus it’s healthier for you overall. Some beverages to steer clear of include alcohol, coffee, tea, and soda. Carbonated beverages generally cause gas, while alcohol and caffeinated drinks can cause diarrhea.
7. Be aware that some medications can trigger IBS.
If you are prescribed antibiotics, antidepressants, or must take cough syrup when you are sick, consult with your doctor about possible interactions or flare-up indicators. For example, some antidepressants can cause constipation or diarrhea. It may take a few tries to settle on the best one.
8. Be aware that menstruation can cause worsened symptoms.
Although you can’t prevent these, you can take steps to ease pain and discomfort at this time. Talk with your doctor about birth control pills or antidepressants that could help with symptoms, or at the very least use heating pads and take it easy during these few days.
9. Keep a food journal.
Write down everything you eat during the day and how you felt after you ate it. You should see a pattern gradually emerge as you look back at previous entries. This is also helpful to take to the doctor when you go for a checkup. This way, you can identify your personal triggers and avoid them in the future.
- Refrain from eating foods at opposite temperatures, such as ice-cold water and steaming hot soup, within the same meal.
- Avoid processed foods, such as pastries, cookies and chips. Likewise, avoid fried and fatty foods.
- Drink water an hour before or after meals rather than while you eat.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to help prevent constipation and ease stress.
While heeding all these tips may not bring complete relief, they’re a start. Keep them in mind as you go about your day. Experiment with different techniques to ease stress and improve your diet, and you’ll find that you will get relief from your IBS symptoms. Remember, YOU are in control of your IBS!
Call 681-342-3690 for an appointment with a gastroenterology specialist today.
Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.