Digestive Health Nutrition

IBS – How to deal with and manage IBS on a daily basis

What is IBS and why do people get it?

It can be hard to maintain a healthy gut. A lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, travel, ageing, illness and antibiotics can all impact the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Your gut bacteria can influence your digestive health and well-being.  An imbalance can lead to bloating, pains, diarrhoea, constipation all IBS symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the name given to a longstanding illness.  It consists of frequent abdominal discomfort and bowel symptoms that cannot be explained by any other disease and has no specific cause.

Research shared by The IBS Network has shown in Physiological studies that the gut in IBS tends to be more sensitive and reactive (irritable). Causes of this may include a traumatic or upsetting event or situation, a strong dose of antibiotics or an attack of gastroenteritis.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Symptoms can include; abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation.  Other symptoms that can also be associated with IBS which are less commonly known about are;  tiredness, nausea, heartburn & indigestion, backache, headaches, muscle pain, anxiety and depression.

How many people suffer from IBS in the UK?

Numbers from Bupa in the UK state that 2 people in 10 suffer from IBS and symptoms can vary from person to person.

If you have IBS or think you may have it we’ve pulled together a list of ideas to help you manage your condition.

  1. Visit your doctor: It is important to get a diagnosis of IBS from your Doctor so that they can rule out any other issues that might be causing the symptoms that you are experiencing.
  2. Think about making a plan: Being diagnosed with IBS can be a little daunting but it can help if you start by making a plan.  Talking to friends, family or work colleagues about your condition.  You can also contact  The IBS Network  the national charity, who can help you to navigate through what can be an incredibly debilitating illness.
  3. Make changes to your diet: Many people with IBS find eating can trigger their symptoms.  It can help by making a food diary and log any symptoms experienced to see if there are certain foods that cause your symptoms to worsen.  Dieticians can be a great help here if you are still struggling to find your trigger foods.
  4. Keep stress at bay or try to manage it: Stress is commonly stated as a cause of IBS or an irritant to triggering symptoms.  This is because there is an increasing and powerful link between the chemical activity in our guts and brains.  Stress can sometimes be unavoidable but if you have noticed that your symptoms do get worse when you are stressed there are ways to try and manage this or become more aware when you are stressed.
  5. Seek help: There are several different places to look to get help with IBS.  The most commonly known include talking to your Doctor to help understand if there is anything else that could be causing your symptoms.  If you’ve drawn a blank here and are still experiencing symptoms you can contact The IBS network who are a charity supporting people with IBS and offer a great membership to help transform your life.
  6. Make one change at a time: This can help you try and see if the changes you are making are having any effect to your IBS symptoms.

References:
  • https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/digestive-gut-health/irritable-bowel-syndrome
  • https://www.theibsnetwork.org/