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3 Tips for Managing IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause frequent stomach pain and bathroom trips. However, IBS doesn’t have to affect your quality of life so drastically. There are ways to manage your condition so that you can lead a happier, healthier lifestyle. But what are these management strategies, and what do they have to offer you? Here are three tips for managing IBS that you should know if you’re tired of letting your symptoms run your day-to-day.

1. Use the FODMAP diet to help you identify foods that exacerbate symptoms.

When you have IBS, it seems like anything you eat puts a strain on your digestive system and causes abdominal cramps, constipation or diarrhea, and bloating. Part of managing IBS more effectively begins with identifying problem foods that trigger these symptoms. This is where FODMAP comes in. The FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet is designed to severely restrict what you eat and help you introduce foods slowly to your diet to see what works and what doesn’t. The good news? As you navigate the FODMAP diet, you’ll find that there are plenty of delicious low FODMAP recipes you can use to nourish yourself without impacting your digestion. Whether this means eating crispy roasted baby potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs with a homemade tomato sauce, or broccoli sausage pasta, you won’t find yourself wanting with all of these recipes that are less likely to upset your stomach.

2. Take probiotics to improve your gut health.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are said to reduce IBS symptoms due to the beneficial role that they play in the digestive system. Various kinds like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii can be found in dietary supplements designed for digestive health. While researchers aren’t entirely sure what makes them a helpful resource for improving stomach health, they have been shown to relieve IBS symptoms for many. That being said, you want to make sure that you’re sourcing probiotic products from a company you can trust. If you’re in the market for high-quality probiotics, make sure that you only shop with a probiotics manufacturer with the proper equipment for supplement development, years of experience, great customer reviews backing their business, and certifications and awards. If you need any guidance, you can always reach out to your doctor!

3. Reach out for mental health support if you need it.

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

IBS isn’t just a condition that impacts your body. In fact, those with IBS may also deal with mental health problems. Besides the social impact or professional impact that IBS can have on your life, there’s a gut-brain connection that can result in your gut issues affecting your mental health. These mental health issues can then feed into physical symptoms that impact your stomach, starting a vicious cycle that only worsens the problems in both areas of your health. If you find that your IBS is making you feel isolated, depressed, or anxious, it’s critical that you reach out for help as soon as possible. A therapist will provide you with the tools and support you need to work through these symptoms to reduce triggers that affect the gut. The more support you have, the better you will be at managing IBS.

IBS can be an overwhelming condition that makes it difficult to eat and function normally. But while it’s not a pleasant condition, it does not have to stop you from leading the life you want. If you feel like IBS has taken over your life, the tips above will give you some guidance on how to proceed so that you can manage it more effectively.

Featured Photo by Tacyra Autrey on Unsplash