Following the government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives, we wanted to share our advice for staying at home and managing your IBS.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water regularly is important for your mental and physical health and can also help with constipation. Try to drink little and often, aiming for a daily intake of around eight glasses of non-alcoholic fluid.

Keep to your usual diet and routine

We understand it’s difficult at the moment, but where possible maintain your usual diet and routine. For some people with IBS, a change in eating habits or behaviour may trigger their IBS symptoms.

Think about your IBS

Now you have more time, think about your IBS and how you manage it. We recommend keeping a 12-week wellness diary. The IBS Network’s Wellness Diary is an A5 diary designed to help people with IBS better understand their condition, symptoms and triggers. The 12-week diary helps you record what you are eating (food), and how you are feeling (mood). It encourages and helps you to consider your challenges and ways to overcome them to live better with IBS. Read our blog post on how keeping a wellness diary can help your IBS.

Maintain good gut health

Now that you are at home more, your routine will have changed, and you may not be as active. Diet is important in helping to manage IBS and to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need to keep happy and healthy.

If you have IBS here are some top tips to help maintain good gut health and manage your condition.

  • Try to eat three regular meals a day.
  • Try not to skip any meals or eat late at night (smaller meal sizes may ease symptoms).
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two units per day and have at least two alcohol free days a week.
  • Reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks. Try to have no more than two or three cups a day.
  • Reduce your intake of fizzy drinks.
  • Drink at least eight cups of fluid per day, especially water or other non-caffeinated drinks.
  • Try to cut down on rich or fatty foods including fast food, crisps, chocolates, cakes and fatty meats.
  • Reduce your intake of processed foods and cook with fresh ingredients where possible.
  • Limit your fresh fruit portions to three per day.

Keep taking your medication

It’s important to keep taking any medication that you have been prescribed. Consider ordering repeat prescriptions over the phone and ask about getting your medication delivered. Ask your pharmacy for more information.

Seek the support of an IBS specialist

For advice about your IBS, members of our charity can call our IBS Helpline, which is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings 7pm until 9pm.

Members also have access to our team of medical professionals including gastroenterologists, dietitians and complementary therapists through the Ask the Experts online service.

Connect with others who are living with IBS

Speaking with others who understand what you are going through can be a huge help. We offer support through our free Health Unlocked online community for people with IBS. Our Facebook page is also very active.

Keep your environment clean and tidy

Everyone is different but you may find it helpful to keep your house clean and tidy. As well as keeping germs at bay, a spring clean may also help your mental health.

Set boundaries if you are working from home

Many of us are juggling home-schooling and/or working from home. This is a big change and may take some getting used to.

If you are working from home, keeping to a routine and establishing boundaries with your family, may help. Have an area that is specifically for work and keep regular working hours, which may help minimise interruptions and keep your focused and productive during these difficult times.

If you’re home schooling, set a timetable that includes lessons and breaks so all the family has a routine and sticks to it.

Take regular breaks

During a tea break, why not connect with friends, family or colleagues through social media or over the phone? Social interaction is important and may help alleviate stress and anxiety.

Be kind to yourself

Self-care is more important than ever during these difficult days. Make sure you take time for yourself. Whether you want to read a book, listen to music, or do an online yoga class, take time for you.

Remember that we’re here for you. We have a self-care programme focused on helping you to learn more about your IBS and better manage your condition. Find out more here.