How to support your partner with IBS
27th April 2017
Female first article
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common disorder of the gut and affects roughly 15% of the population with many still undiagnosed. It can be a difficult and sensitive topic to discuss, so if your partner has IBS here’s a few tips on how can you help and support them in their everyday lives.
The first thing you should do to make sure you can support your partner with IBS is to make sure you know the symptoms and the most effective way of helping if these symptoms flare up. Even just a little bit of research online can go a long way because nobody is ever any help when they are panicking and don’t know what to do.
With IBS, the earlier the diagnosis the better. For those people who are unsure if they have IBS, there is a new home testing kit that takes about 10 minutes and is as accurate as the tests conducted in hospitals. Home testing kits also have to added benefit of eliminate the stress of a prolonged diagnosis and continual doctors’ appointments.
Be organised and in control
One way to make your partners life easier is to help create more regularity in your home life. Trying to avoid disorganization, over- scheduling or lack of planning, this will help restore a sense of control for your partner and they will start to feel more regulated and balanced internally.
Don’t be too over protective
When it comes to IBS your partner will be the expert of his or her condition and will know how ready or comfortable they feel. Sometimes asking something as simple as “Are you alright?” can provoke anxiety and irritate your partner, which affects the gut and can lead to a sudden sense of urgency or pain.
Research by IBS Screen has found that 29% of people with IBS have cancelled social plans because of symptoms have flared up without warning. In this situation, the best thing to do is to keep an open mind, breath and make time to understand that plans sometimes need to change. Your partner is probably more upset about cancelling plans due to their condition so if you are calm they will be.
Don’t play the blame game
The most important thing to remember when your partner has IBS is that it is not their fault. It is understandable that you want to help, but diagnosing your partner’s problem by saying they don’t eat right or that they worry too much is not helpful. your partner most likely knows that even the best self-discipline cannot always prevent a break out of symptoms.
Keep the peace
It is natural in relationships to argue, but keeping disagreements to a minimum will save your partner a lot of pain. Arguing with a partner can cause feelings of anxiety and upset which can lead to symptoms flaring up.
Track the right foods
If your partner has IBS they most likely already do this, but it is good to make sure you know too. Keeping a small note of the foods they avoid. This can help reduce symptoms as you will know what foods to stick with and which to dodge.
Don’t let it take over your life
IBS is only one aspect of you and your partner’s life not the only thing in your lives. Of course, you should be considerate of your partner’s condition but there are so much more positive aspects of your lives and much more interesting topics to talk about.
Live life in a balance
Sometimes when someone you love is suffering it is hard to think about yourself, but it is necessary. Whether it is talking about yourself for a little bit, exercising or even reading a good book, it will really help yourself and your partner to escape from the patient and carer mentality.