IBS: What Is It, What Triggers It, What Can Help the Symptoms?



Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease which can often be life long. 

The main symptoms are abdominal pain/discomfort alongside a change in bowel habits. 

What are the main symptoms of IBS?
Stomach Cramps 
Bloating
Diarrhoea
Constipation
Flatulence 
Lack of Energy
Nausea 

How many different types of IBS are there? 
There are three different types of IBS you can be diagnosed with, depending on your symptoms:

IBS-C: 
Constipation is the main symptom

IBS-D:
Diarrhoea is the main symptom

IBS-M:
A mixture of both diarrhoea and constipation
How do I get diagnosed?
The best thing to do is to book an appointment with your GP. But also write a food and symptom diary, it will help your GP so much to identify the problem and help find the trigger/s. Record the food that you eat, any symptoms you may have and how you are feeling in a diary for a few days and mention how long you've been having the symptoms for. 

What are the main triggers of IBS?
Everyone has different triggers, it takes time and patience to understand what yours are. his is where the food diary will come in so handy as it will help you and your doctor to understand what is causing the IBS. The most common triggers that can induce a flare up are:
Stress
Spicy Foods
Processed Foods
Alcohol
Dairy
Caffeine
Bread

What can I do to help stop the IBS symptoms?

Modify the amount of fibre you eat; 
This will need to be done under the advice of a doctor or nutritionist, and also depends upon which type of IBS you have 

Low FODMAP diet; 
FODMAPs are foods that most commonly trigger an IBS attack, however, again this must only be done if requested from the doctor or nutritionist as a low FODMAP diet can be quite restrictive 

Exercise; 
Just move a little bit every day. Many studies have shown that exercising regularly can help to keep chronic diseases at bay and lower your stress levels. Yoga in particular works wonders for stress and will help to loosen a tighten tum! 

Probiotics; 
Its always good to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy, however, I personally wouldn't suggest consuming the tablet form, but try eating more fermented foods that will help the microbiomes in your gut. For example, Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut and Kimchi. 

Cut down on certain trigger foods;
Finding out what your triggers are can help your symptoms. For example, I know that onions and coffee are my triggers, so I have cut down my caffeine intake and I have removed onions from my diet.

Try mindfulness and meditation techniques;
Stress and anxiety can make IBS symptoms so much worse, so try to relax and practice some self care techniques. Usually a gentle walk, listening to music, read a book, pop a face mask on and have an early night. 

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