When you’re experiencing symptoms related to a flare up from IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) life can feel pretty miserable. Sometimes your discomfort may even be enough to stop you from going to work, socialising with friends and enjoying your day. Whether you’re experiencing abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, here are some proven short and long term solutions to help manage your IBS symptoms.
Whilst it can be easy to feel we need to push on, if you’re experiencing a particularly bad flare up, you may find calling off your social engagements or taking sick leave from work is needed. With symptoms such as diarrhoea, your body can become easily depleted of energy due to fluid loss. Ensure that you take the time to lay down, rest and recuperate. This helps your body get back to optimal as soon as possible.
Using a heat pack or water bottle is particularly helpful for immediate relief if you’re experiencing abdominal pain or bloating. The application of heat can help with relaxing your muscles as well as reducing gas and pressure within your abdominal area. If you can, lie down and apply a heat pack or water bottle over the area where you feel most uncomfortable.
Increasing your water intake during an IBS flare up is extremely important. If you’re experiencing diarrhoea, water will help to replenish lost fluid. It’s also useful if you’re experiencing constipation as water can help to soften your stools and may promote bowel movements.
Although this might be the last thing you feel like, if you’re able to, light exercise can help to relieve some of the stress placed on your body during an IBS flare up. Exercise such as walking, yoga, stretching and swimming can be useful to help reduce the severity of your symptoms. Studies show that continuing with exercise for the long term management of IBS has also been recognised as beneficial.
Stress from many aspects of our lives can lead to tension in the body and contribute to the severity or frequency of an IBS flare up. Long term strategies on reducing your stress can have strong positive impacts for your mind as well as your body. Meditation and mindful eating are approaches that may help in the reduction of your stress and IBS symptoms.
Another long-term approach to help in IBS symptom management is through hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy focuses on the mind-gut connection with studies showing that it can lead to a significant improvement in the severity of IBS symptoms.
Are there any of the strategies above that you’ve tried in the midst of a flare up? Let me know in the comments below or if there are any others you’d recommend.