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Pain, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation… I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that they’re no fun. If you have IBS, unfortunately these symptoms are probably a regular feature of your life.
The million dollar question is: how to effectively manage IBS symptoms like this so you aren’t held captive by your condition?
Is it possible to live your life with them as a minor inconvenience, rather than being constantly controlled by your gut issues?
The answer is YES!
And today I’m going to break down exactly what you need to do.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in…
1. Limit gut irritants
Alcohol, fried and high fat foods, spicy foods and caffeine can all exacerbate IBS symptoms in some people. Temporarily reducing your intake of these things is a good place to start to see if that helps.
2. Identify your FODMAP triggers
The low FODMAP protocol is the only evidence-based ‘diet’ for IBS sufferers. The three-phased process will help you identify any high FODMAP foods that are triggering your symptoms (learn more about how this works here).
3. Modify your fibre intake
It’s not always just a case of eating more fibre – although many people aren’t hitting the target of 30g a day. Fibre comes in different forms and your intake can be modified to help manage your predominant symptoms (i.e. diarrhoea, constipation, bloating).
4. Address eating behaviours
It’s not just what you eat, but how and when. Your eating habits, such as having a regular meal schedule and eating mindfully without distractions, can have a huge impact on your digestion! Don’t overlook the importance of your eating behaviours when trying to manage IBS symptoms.
5. Stay hydrated
When you have IBS, drinking plenty of liquid is particularly important, because it can help to prevent constipation, and if you have diarrhoea, it replaces lost fluids. An easy test to see if you are well hydrated is to check your pee – it should be a light straw colour.
6. Manage stress and anxiety
Easier said than done sometimes, I know. Stress and anxiety can be a huge trigger for many IBS sufferers as it can influence motility (food transit time) and visceral sensitivity (pain levels in your tummy). Finding ways to avoid and limit stress can be life-changing!
Check out this blog post for some tips on managing stress.
7. Look after yourself
Holistic lifestyle factors such as sleep and exercise play an important role in the successful management of IBS. Make sleep a priority and carve out time for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week (i.e. brisk walking, yoga, hiking or gentle cycling).
8. Work with a specialist to manage your IBS
IBS is a tricky condition to manage, with lots of potential factors to take into account. While it may seem simple on paper, there are nuances and complications that mean a DIY approach often has limited success.
An IBS specialist can help you identify your triggers, and provide you with a personalised, long-term roadmap to IBS relief. We’ll take away all the confusion and overwhelm because we know what works (and all the nonsense you should steer clear of, *ahem* celery juice).
If you’re looking to take the next step and work one-to-one with an IBS expert, book a complimentary discovery call with me and let’s chat about how I can help you.