If you’re one of the many people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), then you will know all too well that this condition can be debilitating, with symptoms such as cramping, bloating and diarrhoea. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know how best to deal with your IBS, which is why we’ve put together a list of 5 tips for managing IBS.
1. See a doctor
If you think you may be suffering from IBS, it’s important to first speak to your doctor or dietician. A doctor or dietician will be able to outline your symptoms, conduct a full physical examination and provide advice on the best way forward managing your IBS.
2. Keep a food diary.
Every person deals with IBS differently. Some foods might leave you gassy and bloated whilst others may pass through with absolutely no problems. It’s important for you to figure out which foods you can eat and which ones you should dodge. The best way to do this is to use a food diary where you track everything you eat in a day. You can use this as a guide in the future to make sure you’re eating foods that will keep your bod happy.
3. Take a look at the FODMAP diet.
If you’ve never heard of the FODMAP diet before, it is basically an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols and is a game changer for IBS sufferers. Simply put, the long words above are a group of carbohydrates that the digestive system often struggles to break down.
It makes sense then that IBS sufferers would be encouraged to follow a low FODMAP diet – eating as little food from the various carbohydrate groups mentioned above as possible. It sounds simple, but often keeping track of the various foods that make up these carbohydrate groups can leave you feeling quite overwhelmed and confused. Lucky for you, numerous free (and some not so free) apps and websites have been developed to help. We recommend: The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet Guide and FODMAP by FoodMaestro.
4. Take probiotics.
Research has shown that probiotics may help alleviate the onset of IBS symptoms by supplementing the guts natural bacteria and helping to balance intestinal flora. It might be best to start with a cup or two of yoghurt a day and see if your symptoms respond.
5. Develop a strong support network.
Let’s be honest, IBS can be stressful, frustrating and embarrassing. You may go through times where you feel completely helpless and alone but it’s important to remind yourself that you aren’t. Surround yourself with friends and family who are supportive and understanding, there are also plenty of online IBS support groups which can be easily found on social media pages and websites where you can meet and chat to people going through the same things as you.