IBS is a common, long-term condition affecting the digestive system. Interestingly, the structure of the gut appears unchanged in many cases of IBS, but for anyone who suffers from this condition, you’ll be in agreement that something definitely isn’t quite right!
The symptoms of IBS can be inconvenient and uncomfortable at best, but in many cases, it can really start to affect your day to day life.
Here I run through my top tips for managing the symptoms of IBS.
1. Consider your symptoms
If you are looking to start taking control and managing your symptoms of IBS, first and foremost, you need to properly understand your symptoms. Some people find that their symptoms are characterised by a sluggish bowel or, for others, going to the loo more often than normal. Keeping a food and symptoms diary is an important first step. This means you can start to identify any trigger foods which may be exacerbating your symptoms.
2. Manage your diet
Once you’ve recorded your food diary, you can start to reduce your intake of any suspected problem foods. Common culprits often include wheat or dairy, but actually, this is entirely individual and everything from tomatoes to eggs could be causing an issue for you. One diet doesn’t always fit all when it comes to IBS. Some more general foody tips include avoiding processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, and eat fresh as much as possible.
3. Give your eating habits an overhaul
It isn’t just what you eat, but also how you eat that can have an impact on your symptoms when it comes to IBS. Aim to sit up straight whilst eating, eat slowly and deliberately, and ensure that you are chewing your food thoroughly. Don’t be tempted to wolf down meals all hunched over or on the run, or else expect to pay for it. Another top tip is to drink your liquids separately from your meals. Otherwise, you risk diluting some of those all-important digestive juices which won’t help the state of your gut.
4. Look at your lifestyle habits too
Get in the habit of drink plenty of water. Carry a flask or bottle with you if you’re on the go and aim to drink at least 1.5l of plain, still water daily to help keep your gut moving (and don’t be tempted to drink less even if you go to the loo more often!). Avoid smoking and excess alcohol which can cause havoc with your stomach and gut respectively, and ensure that you get enough shut eye to help support repair in your gut. Stress is very often linked to IBS too so tackling this head on can also be really helpful. From meditation to gentle exercise, it pays to find which relaxation techniques work best for you.
5. Support the stomach first
You often need to support the stomach, pancreas and small intestine first in order to support the rest of the digestive system and help get the symptoms of IBS under control. See, we need sufficient digestive enzymes to help break down the food we eat. If this isn’t happening, your gut can become oversensitive to food that hasn’t been properly broken down by the time it arrives. If you suspect your stomach needs a helping hand, you can top up your numbers with our Hadley Wood Enzy-110.
This contains a full spectrum of digestive enzymes to help give your stomach and small intestine the support it needs, and help alleviate some symptoms including bloating or digestive discomfort. Once your stomach has had some inital support with some extra enzymes, you can start to introduce digestive bitters instead. Herbal bitters such as A.Vogel’s Centaurium help to encourage the body to produce its own digestive juices and enzymes naturally, without the need for an external dose.
6. Then, the gut
Once your stomach has stabilised, it’s time to turn to the gut. Although many of the symptoms of IBS may lead back to an unhappy tum, the symptoms often present themselves in the gut. Silicol® Gel is rich in silicic acid which helps to create a calming, protective layer throughout the digestive tract and can be a particularly useful remedy in episodes of flare ups. For a longer-term solution, aiming to work towards supporting the balance of bacteria in the gut can be a really important step in the management of IBS. Optibac probiotics have lots of research supporting the use of their products in helping to manage the symptoms of IBS. Browse the range to find the right one for you!