In this blog post, some of our members share their TOP TIPS for living well with IBS.
Remember, what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to try news ways of managing your IBS and find what works for you.
“My top tips for living well with IBS are to try to eat as much freshly prepared food as possible. I have found that my IBS flare ups have reduced considerably by doing this. I’m not spending a lot of money, but I am using fresh ingredients where I can, and this really seems to have made a difference.
“Also, regular exercise helps. I walk for 60 minutes at least four days a week and this has improved my overall health.”
“Find a friend who also lives with IBS. They truly understand your challenges and you can support each other. A problem shared is a problem halved.”
“I find it very helpful to use a wireless tens machine when I have a bad flare up. It really helps distract pain signals and can be worn outside too.”
“My top tips swimming, Symprove and mindfulness.”
“My top tip would be if you are interested in trying the low FODMAP diet try to find a dietitian who can support you. I tried dabbling with the diet by myself but struggled. Having the support of a dietitian who specialises in the low FODMAP diet made it so much easier and I have been pleasantly surprised by the results. Although the elimination phase seemed daunting, the dietitian made me focus on what I could eat so it didn’t feel so restrictive. I have now found a good balance in my diet which I find pretty easy to follow.”
Note: The low FODMAP diet should only be followed under the supervision of a registered dietitian.
“My best advice is to carry some mints, some wet wipes (a lot easier to carry than tissue which is bulkier) and get an app for public toilets on the smart phone (there are a few different ones around).”
“Keeping a diary of everything!
“Food tracking in general is okay but break those foods down to separate ingredients. Until I did that, nothing made sense.
“Track your days alongside food. You may be more tolerant of something food wise when you are less stressed/anxious, for example. I find it useful to track sleep and exercise.
“All these things play a part for me in my control…or lack of, and also for me, my hormones.”
“Wear comfy waistbands. Always be prepared and take all you need with you in case of an unwanted flare up when you’re out.
“Be kind to yourself and talk to yourself like you would a friend rather than getting cross and frustrated with yourself for eating/wearing/doing the ‘wrong’ thing that may have caused a flare up.
“Join The IBS Network for information you can trust. Finally, trust your gut instincts.”
“Always carry a change of trousers and underwear – as lightweight as possible to tuck in the bottom of your bag. Mine are a pair of lightweight yoga pants, light, snug underwear and a generous size pad all in a plastic supermarket bag that can be used to tie up any soiled clothing, and a small sample perfume spray for obvious reasons!”
“My top tip is to have a small bag (like a makeup bag) with all the essentials in (coin towels, wipes etc) and then you just grab and go if you are changing handbags a lot.”
“Eat healthy, drink lots of water, and don’t get too stressed.”
“My top tips:
- Ensure you stick to the foods that suit your tummy.
- Should you have cramps, a hot bath, water bottle and peppermint capsules to ease.
- Drink plenty of water.”
“This may not work for everyone, especially not those for whom constipation is the main problem. It is well known among veterinarians that giving animals a rice diet, if they suffer from an upset or frequency, stabilises the gut. Thus, when I have a long day out coming up, I make myself a nice, big rice pudding (done slowly and properly in the oven with a lovely buttery finish and nutmeg) and eat it the night before. Works every time. Sometimes a little too well but always get back to what’s normal for me within a couple days. Can’t help to experiment.”
“My top tips for living well with IBS are
- Stress Reduction is the main tip for me I think as it is a huge factor with my IBS and with IBS symptoms.
- Breathing exercises. breathing deeply through the nose and out through the mouth really helps me with the nausea that I suffer with IBS.
- Eat healthy or healthier, this can be by cutting out foods that are classed as trigger foods (that tend to bring on IBS) with me it is cheese, spicy foods, and too much coffee.”
“My top tips for living well are:
- Be grateful for a new day- this is a blank canvas for you. Don’t dwell on the yesterday or worry of the unknown. Be in the now.
- Try and go for a walk, even if it’s just around the block. It’s always good to clear the mind.
- Try something new. Whether this is a new recipe, new hobby or a new item of clothing. You will thank yourself afterwards.
- Look up from your phone and notice the world. You are one special individual to see what you see.
- Have a laugh. Life can make us so serious and grumpy at times. Remember that we can laugh too.
- Be kind to yourself. Living with a condition can bring an expectation of how to be which may cause anxiety. Remember you can have a bad day and it’s okay.
- Practice meditation. It’s amazing what stillness and being in tune with your body can do.
- Enjoy a bath once in a while. Put the fizzy bombs and petals in and indulge.”
“Claim the bathroom as an extra room. Do not try and avoid hours in the bathroom.
Wash with a shower head/ douche/ Muslim shower. Put cloth or towels on the floor in case of excess water from cleaning. Buy cheap soap and buy online but support ethical companies – use their sales.
IBS is a fluctuating sickness -accept it.
Rest more watch films or listen to podcasts to relax your digestive system.”
“These have all helped ease things for me. Useful products:
- Try digestive enzymes.
- Charcoal tablets.” (NB. If you are on any other medication for another condition, make sure you discuss with your GP before taking Charcoal tablets).
“I always carry Poo Pourri with me. This has lessened my anxiety about using public toilets. A lifesaver really.”
“If you have to cancel an arrangement due to IBS don’t feel guilty or bad. Anyone who doesn’t understand isn’t worth it. I’ve learned this the hard way. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, IBS can flare up for no apparent reason. It’s important not to be discouraged and stay hopeful for a better tomorrow.
“Have eight glasses of water per day, limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Ensure you exercise regularly adjusting your diet and posture to suit your symptoms.”
“The best thing I ever did was get the free trial of Symprove through The IBS Network. The good gut bacteria really works and has given me my life back. I take it every morning. All symptoms have been eased. Amazing stuff.”
“My way of coping with IBS is to not stress, and to enjoy life. With being only young, my anxiety has been through the roof (especially with the pandemic). Always stay positive and look after yourself; remind yourself to love who you are.”