Christmas survival guide for IBS sufferers

Avoid spending the festive season on the loo by taking on board some helpful advice from our healthcare advisers:

1.Plan ahead

Whether you’re eating in or out, going away or staying at home, stock up on food, drink and useful supplies that you know might help. Order as much of your shopping as possible online in advance to avoid last minute stresses.

2.Remember your triggers

Just because it’s Christmas, don’t forget what you can and can’t tolerate. High fat sauces, Christmas pudding and mince pies, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, garlic and onions can trigger IBS symptoms. Login to view all our gut-friendly recipes on our website.

3.Know your limits

Eat slowly and take your time when eating – avoid overeating, even though it may be tempting.

4.Don’t forget your medication

If you are going away, make sure you pack any medicines. Some antacids and anti-flatulence treatments are good to have on hand. Speak to one of our experts or consult your doctor or pharmacist for more advice, if needed.

5.Avoid snacking

As tempting as it may be, try not to graze on snacks throughout the day. Save yourself for the Christmas dinner and savour every mouthful. Decide what you really want to eat and can tolerate and avoid the rest.

6.Drink plenty of water

Go easy on the alcohol and caffeine and stay hydrated on water during the festive period.

7.Don’t suffer alone

If you are worried that eating away from home or travelling to family gatherings will trigger a flare-up, let them know what you can and can’t eat in advance.

8.Stay calm

If you suffer with abdominal cramps, pain or discomfort, try to focus on your breathing by taking slow, deep breaths. Aim to minimise stress levels by practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

9.Take some timeout

Avoid being cooped-up inside all the time during the festive season. Go for a relaxing winter’s walk and get some fresh air if you can, especially if things are getting too much and stressing you out.

10.Chill out

Put your feet up in front of a Christmas film, read your new book, or login to our website for lots of free advice on managing your symptoms – and, above all relax and enjoy yourself!

The IBS Network Self-Care Programme can be accessed at: