How to Calm an IBS Flare Up –Top 5 Tips
This common problem, which affects the large intestine, isn’t serious but does cause distressing symptoms such as abdominal cramps, bloating, flatulence and a change in bowel habits — diarrhoea, constipation or alternation between the two. Most people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find that they can learn to control their condition and improve their symptoms greatly just by taking a few simple measures to calm an IBS flareup. So here is your top 5 tips on how to calm an IBS flare up.
Table of Contents
How to Calm an IBS Flare Up –Top 5 Tips
1. Keep a Food Diary
Many people find that certain foods make their symptoms worse, so it’s a good idea to log everything you eat and drink, along with your symptoms, for three weeks to try to spot any links. You can then avoid suspect items. Common culprits include alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, dairy products and sugar-free sweeteners such as sorbitol. If dairy products tend to provoke symptoms, you may be lactose-intolerant and need to avoid them altogether.
2. Monitor Your Fibre Intake
Increasing the fibre in your diet may relieve your IBS, but some people find that it makes symptoms worse because the extra fibre treats their constipation effectively but exacerbates their bloating and wind. Foods with plenty of fibre include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and beans. A fibre supplement such as ispaghula husk (psyllium) can be taken, but it may also make bloating worse.
Several formal randomised trials have shown peppermint to be effective in reducing the symptoms of IBS. Drink peppermint tea after meals and at other times. Peppermint is also available in capsule form.
3. Turn Off The Gas
If bloating and intestinal gas are prominent symptoms, try cutting down or reducing your intake of gas-producing foods such as beans, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower. Some fruits and vegetables should also be avoided. Frequent consumption of fizzy drinks, chewing gum or drinking through straws can increase the amount of air passing into the intestines, producing gas.
4. Eat and Drink Regularly to Calm IBS Flare Up
Hurried and irregular meals can contribute to IBS. It’s therefore important to have regular mealtimes and allow yourself the time to eat in a relaxed fashion. Your bowel gets into the habit of being Ted’ at consistent intervals, so try to eat at roughly the same time each day. Eating small, frequent meals tends to help those for whom diarrhoea is a troublesome symptom, while fewer, larger fibre-rich meals may be of benefit to people whose main symptom is constipation. It’s a good idea to increase the amount you drink because consuming more fluid, especially water, helps to relieve constipation. But be aware that alcoholic drinks or tea, coffee and other beverages containing caffeine may worsen diarrhoea.
5. Think about Your Lifestyle
IBS is a complicated condition in which both physiological and psychological factors play a role. Most doctors recommend taking more exercise — not only will this help to counteract stress and depression, but it also encourages regular intestinal movements and keeps your bowels running smoothly. If you suffer from stress, it’s a good idea to learn to manage it. Although stress and tension don’t cause IBS, they can worsen your symptoms. Get plenty of fresh air — in a calming leafy green setting, if possible — and take some time to relax every day. You could also book a massage, try stress-busting activities such as yoga or tai chi, or learn to meditate.
A probiotic supplement can be helpful for the relief of abdominal pain and bloating. ‘Friendly’ bacteria found naturally in your gut may be disturbed in IBS, and some studies suggest that foods such as yoghurt containing live probiotic organisms, or probiotic supplements, help to restore your bowel to health.
If you want to try an alternative therapy, acupuncture may be a good option. Although it’s not proven to counteract IBS symptoms, some people find it relieves intestinal cramps and improves bowel regularity.
Alert- Beware of Change
If you suddenly experience a change in bowel habit for no apparent reason, or you have constipation or diarrhoea accompanied by abdominal pain, weight loss or blood in your faeces, see your doctor in case there is an underlying problem that requires medical diagnosis and treatment.
I don’t do a lot of cooking and often eat convenience foods. When I suffer from constipation, I simply take laxatives – does that matter?
Don’t be tempted by ‘easy’ solutions such as laxatives other than for occasional use. Some of these remedies simply get your bowel out of the habit of contracting by itself, so persistent use may make your constipation worse. Eating a high-fibre diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains is far more effective in the long term.