Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be an extreme inconvenience for those who live with the condition, bringing with it a number of symptoms that can decrease your quality of life. Some of these symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and cramping.
Often those with IBS must first determine what triggers their symptoms, which can be a frustrating and arduous process – especially since triggers vary so much from person to person. There are a number of medically recommended ways to calm and relieve symptoms related to IBS, helping those diagnosed with the condition to continue leading a happier, more normal lifestyle.
Avoid trigger foods
One of the best ways to relieve the symptoms of your irritable bowel syndrome and avoid potential flare ups is through the avoidance of trigger foods. While certain foods affect people in different ways, sufferers of IBS should generally try to avoid foods that can contribute to being high in gas, including caffeinated drinks, raw fruit, alcohol, and vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. These foods can trigger bloating and gas in those diagnosed with IBS, and should be avoided for those who wish to ease their symptoms. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided whenever possible, as they act as diuretics, triggering common symptoms like diarrhea and gas in IBS sufferers.
Studies have also shown a potential relationship between foods containing gluten and IBS, even when there is no obvious presence of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Foods containing gluten can sometimes lead to IBS symptoms including diarrhea, which can be debilitating for some. Foods containing gluten include pasta and noodles, breads and pastries, and other baked goods containing wheat, barley, and rye. Again, however, this “trigger” may exist for some and not for others.
Avoid stress and work on relaxation strategies
Stress and anxiety can be some of the biggest triggers for irritable bowel syndrome symptoms – these things are often caused by the condition, so they often go hand in hand and can be difficult to avoid. Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your digestive health, which in turn can trigger flare ups of IBS. Avoiding stressors is one of the best ways to deal with this issue – while easier said than done, worries about money, health, career, and family life should be avoided or dealt with whenever possible as these things tend to be major stressors.
Speaking with your GP or a mental health professional can help you deal with stress and anxiety-related problems, and can be beneficial for avoiding IBS flare ups. Relaxation techniques are another great way to avoid and relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Meditation can help to reduce your stress levels, which may in turn benefit the health of your digestive system and aid in the relief of your IBS symptoms. Since this condition can be a stressor in itself, practicing mindfulness techniques will help to take your mind off the problem, reducing your stress levels.
Make healthy minor lifestyle changes
Many experts have recommended that minor lifestyle changes may help in relieving the severity of IBS flare ups, and reduce symptoms. Some of the most commonly discussed lifestyle changes include exercising more often, which will keep your body healthy, increase your energy level, and help to reduce stress and anxiety that may contribute towards symptoms. Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night is also important in calming IBS, as sleep is a major factor in both digestive and mental health. Spacing out your meals evenly and eating at the same times every day will help to keep your digestive system regular, and will ensure that you avoid “shocking” your system with meals at unpredictable times.
Nutritional supplements may also be beneficial in the maintenance of a healthy digestive system, especially if you’re concerned that you may not be getting all of your recommended vitamins and nutrients. LQ’s Digestive Care liquid health supplement and other nutritional supplements contain a variety of ingredients that can supplement your diet.