Coping with IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects one in five of us and is twice as likely in women as men.
The main symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating and a change in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation or a mix of both). It can also cause non-gut-related symptoms, such as fatigue, anxiety and other emotional issues.
The causes are often many and varied and, whilst we would recommend getting to the root cause, in this article, we offer some tips for coping with IBS and ideas for managing the various symptoms.
1. Managing stress is key as the body’s stress response switches digestion off and if we are continuously stressed our digestion cannot work optimally. Learning some relaxation exercises may help reduce our stress response – try deep breathing, meditation or simple yoga moves.
2. Food intolerances can also be a factor and identifying the foods that trigger symptoms in us as individuals and removing them from our diet can help to reduce symptoms.
3. Reduce alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods as they can irritate the intestinal lining and cause a reaction in some people.
4. FODMAPs are ‘fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols’, carbohydrates that are increasingly being implicated in IBS. Following a low FODMAPs diet may help to alleviate symptoms, although this is not intended to be a permanent eating plan as it restricts certain food groups.
5. Female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) may be one of the reasons that women experience more IBS than men. These hormones affect how well our digestion works, how much pain we feel and can also impact inflammation throughout the body, so keeping them balanced can help to manage IBS symptoms.
6. Bacterial infections and can sometimes lead to long-term gut issues and cause IBS symptoms.
7. Low digestive enzyme and stomach acid secretion will affect our ability to digest our food and absorb the nutrients they contain, potentially affecting our gut and health in general. Supplementing these may help to improve IBS symptoms.
8. Adding friendly bacteria to your diet through foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and live yoghurt may help to balance your microbiome, but if you feel these foods make your symptoms worse, try a friendly bacteria supplement.
Finally, for everyday symptom relief, exercise regularly, eat small meals slowly, try sipping peppermint, chamomile or fennel tea or snuggle up to a hot water bottle.
More advice on coping with IBS and anxiety can be found in these relevant articles:
- Stress, Anxiety, and IBS: Coping Techniques – One Medical
- Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Anxiety UK Organisation
Want to know more?
Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health and IBS, please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth proven research.
ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107