The start of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on how you manage your IBS and identify new ways you can better manage your symptoms. Whether you have just been diagnosed with IBS or have had the condition for years, we recommend taking time to think about your condition.

We believe that it is possible to live well with IBS. And yes, while it may be a little frightening and challenging at times, you can take control of your condition, rather than your condition controlling you. With positivity, determination and focus, you will get there.

To help you, our IBS experts have shared their top tips for living well with IBS.

“I would say work out what works for you and don’t be swayed by other people. I really believe the saying ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’ is critical to those of us with IBS. Loads of FODMAP friendly/IBS diet recipes include things which make me really ill while other things I can have no problem.” – Jenny, IBS patient.

“Don’t ignore the potential positive impact of good sleep and regular exercise that makes you out of breath.” – Dr Simon Smale, gastroenterologist.

“Remember IBS symptoms are individual and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. Choose what treatment you try depending on your symptoms.” – Julie Thompson, dietitian.

“If excluding certain foods to help with your IBS symptoms is causing you stress, any potential improvement from avoiding the trigger foods is likely to be counteracted. Exclusion diets are often stressful, and stress can often provoke IBS symptoms, so ask your care provider to refer you to a dietitian for support!” – Monika Bettney, dietitian.

“Try and find a doctor, General practitioner or Consultant, who takes IBS seriously otherwise you will always be disappointed. Despite the huge burden that IBS can place upon you, it is always worth waiting to see someone who will listen.” – Dr Peter Whorwell, gastroenterologist.

“Daily relaxation exercises.” – Dr Maria Eugenicos, gastroenterologist.

“Never underestimate the beneficial effect of deep breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) on the gut. It relaxes your gut-brain axis, can calm your gut muscles and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system which helps you “rest and digest”. Start small with 2-5 minutes per day and build up from there. Doing these exercises daily is what counts.”- Jennifer Ryan, dietitian.

“Stay hopeful. It’s easy for IBS to really get you down but I think believing that a better day is round the corner is a big help.” – Bronwen Barber, support group leader.