28 Little Ways You Can Make Life With IBS More Manageable
Because shit happens sometimes.
Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different, and that what may work for someone else may not necessarily work for you. Always make sure to consult your doctor before changing your diet, lifestyle, or starting any kind of new treatment. Also, everyone experiences IBS differently, but whether you have IBS as a chronic problem or find yourself often dealing with some of the symptoms of IBS, these things definitely aren't easy.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be debilitating and seriously affect the way someone lives their everyday life.
1. Keep a ~safe~ snack on you at all times so you're never on an empty stomach.
2. Map out where the nearest, accessible public restrooms are before going somewhere new.
3. And have a detailed plan of what you're going to eat, and how you'll deal with flare-ups, when you're going to be traveling for long periods of time.
4. Try to take a good 20 minutes to relax after meals when you can.
5. And maybe avoid pants with restrictive waistbands.
6. Try cutting down on processed foods, refined sugars, and alcohol.
7. Have a game plan when eating out at restaurants.
8. Keep on a consistent schedule with your meals, medications, types of foods you're eating, sleep, and bathroom routine.
9. Follow your doctor’s advice, but adding fiber could help some of your symptoms. (Fiber could also make IBS symptoms worse in some people.)
10. Using peppermint oil could help reduce bloating and nausea.
12. Visit a gastroenterologist (a MD, who specializes in the GI tract) so he or she can diagnose you and pinpoint the best treatment for your symptoms.
13. And make sure you're open and honest with your doc about your experiences — there's nothing to be embarrassed about.
14. And it's okay to get a second opinion if your treatment isn't working for you.
15. Start keeping a daily diary of what you're eating and the symptoms you're experiencing, so you can try and identify trigger foods.
16. Or download an app that specializes in tracking those things and formulating a diet that works for you.
17. BUT, don't make any serious changes to your diet before getting checked out by a gastro.
18. Avoiding trigger foods will make things easier for you — but if you are going to eat them, make sure you have the time to deal with the aftermath.
19. You can keep things like wet wipes or rapid relief ointment on you to make these situations a little more bearable.
20. Keep your prescribed medications or pain relievers on you at all times in case of really bad flare-ups.
21. And there's no shame in keeping an extra pair of underwear on you, just in case.
22. Don't be ashamed to talk to your friends and family members about your symptoms, it could actually make things easier on you.
23. Get in some cardio exercise a few times per week.
24. Understand that sometimes you're going to have episodes in public, and that's nothing to be ashamed about.
26. Find and reach out to a community that understands what you're going through.
27. See if your IBS symptoms are tied to your mental health.
28. And last but not least, have a little compassion for yourself, and know that you're not alone.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.