Having suffered with IBS for as long as I can remember (although only identifying what it was a few years ago), I’ve decided to share my top tips for living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for IBS Awareness Month. Last year I shared my personal journey with IBS, and if you’d like to read this click here.
This might seem obvious, but having large three-course dinners can be difficult to digest, overload your gut and trigger IBS symptoms. Eating smaller meals little and often are much better for a sensitive gut and allow your body the time it needs to digest the food. Make sure you don’t rush your food either!
2. Reduce Caffeine/Fizzy Drinks
For as long as I can remember I’ve never been able to tolerate fizzy drinks. They would always give me horrendous stomach aches and make me feel sick. Cutting these out completely has really improved my symptoms, I have the odd glass of prosecco or gin and tonic but on the whole I tend to avoid them. I also used to drink a lot of caffeine (I do love a cup of tea!), however I’ve restricted this to one or two cups a day, and switched to decaffeinated for the rest. I think this is beneficial to more than just my guts too!
3. Take Alflorex Probiotics
I wrote a post back in January about my experience of taking the probiotic Alflorex. To read about my positive experience click here. Alflorex has been clinically tested by doctors and gastroenterologists and the results have been shown to reduce bloating and gas, abdominal pain and unpredictable bowel movements. It is also a special formulation which ensures the natural cultures reach your gut intact, so that they can get to work where they are needed. I found Alflorex reduced bloating, and whether coincidental or not, I did not suffer any major flare ups while taking them!
For more information on the Alflorex Probiotic, click here.
There are a number of studies which show that exercise is linked to improving the symptoms of IBS, and I’ve personally experienced this. I’m not into exercise in the fact that I don’t go to the gym, and I’m not particularly motivated to exercise in the first place, but I do make sure I walk a lot and I have recently got into yoga!
I absolutely love it and I’ve found it’s working wonders on my mental health, wellbeing and most importantly my IBS. It exercises the whole body, whilst also being a relaxed, mindful workout. I sometimes share videos of my practice (I’m no pro) in the hope I inspire others to give it a try. Here is my latest practice following Yoga with Adriene:
5. Follow a Low FODMAP Diet
Of course, one of my main tips is to follow a low FODMAP diet. This has had the biggest impact on my IBS symptoms. For inspiration of where to start, what meals to prepare and where to shop, follow my Instagram page as I frequently share my weekly shops and product finds. You can also subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications whenever I share a new post. You may also find my Low FODMAP Favourites Part 1 & Part 2 posts useful.
6. Prepare a Flare Up Care Package
Flare ups can happen at any time, and often, for any reason! It can be down to something you’ve eaten, stress, anxiety, temperature, amount of exercise, or for us females, the time of the month can be a huge trigger. That’s why I always have my care items ready to go. This includes a hot water bottle (lifesaver- this really soothes an epic bloat!), peppermint tea, comfy leggings and a big jumper (jeans are definitely not needed!), and most importantly time to relax. Whether it be reading a book, relaxing with a little music and your favourite yankee candle (you can’t go wrong with fluffy towels), a few gentle yoga poses, or binge-watching your favourite programme on Netflix, it’s important to give yourself time to recover.
7. Don’t spend too much time overthinking!
My last tip is something that I need to work on, and it’s not to spend too much time trying to pinpoint the reason behind every strange bowel movement, stomach twinge, cramp, acid reflux or bloating episode. The more you think about it, the worse it gets (particularly for me!) Go back to tip 6, and accept that unfortunately, IBS can rear its ugly head at any point, and, if possible, try to relax.
I hope this post has been helpful and relatable, and of course, a great way to manage IBS is to make the most of the friendly online communities (avoiding the FODMAP police as I’ve nicknamed them!) Always feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, or would like to just chat about your IBS (sometimes it’s hard to relate to it if you’ve never suffered from it).
Lastly, just find what works for you!
Thanks for reading,
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Precision Biotics (Alflorex).
I'm Alice, a food blogger in the UK. I follow a low FODMAP diet (gluten free, onion free, garlic free and low lactose) for IBS. Check out my latest posts for tips on eating out, product reviews and recipes.