Top 10 Tips for IBS

Top 10 Tips

point Confirm the diagnosis. IBS can only be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional – please do not attempt to self diagnose – see your GP if you think you might have it. If you have a confirmed diagnosis, there is usually no need for further gastroenterological investigations, which can save you a lot of time waiting for tests that will probably not help.

point But understand your illness. Self management is the key. The IBS Network provides the only web-delivered self management programme for IBS. By consulting this, you can have an informed discussion with your GP and make good choices in your own life.

point Will I get cancer? IBS is a disorder of bowel function. There is no damage to your gut and It isn’t going to kill you, nor will it increase your likelihood of developing cancer or other bowel conditions.

point IBS is about life. Learn how your lifestyle and diet can affect your symptoms. Don’t try to do too much. Look upon your gut as your alarm signal. If it goes off, slow down, relax, don’t push through your symptoms, take a break. Talk about your problems. Work with your gut, not against it. Think food and mood!

point Food. Don’t go eliminating foods from your diet. Remember that when you have a flare up of IBS, your gut will be more sensitive and food will be a problem. Keep a diary, try and work out work foods are particularly troublesome. Fatty foods, high fibre foods, coffee and spices are often the culprits. You may gain some relief with a more bland diet. That’s fine, but when things are better, do get back to a more balanced diet again. IBS does not have to be a life sentence and you do not need to go on hunger strike. Soluble fibre from rolled oats, bananas, beans is kinder to your gut than insoluble fibre such as bran or whole oats.

point And Mood. When your IBS flares up, ask yourself why. People with IBS often get depressed, anxious and angry. And if you are angry, it will make your IBS worse. So just as anxiety and depression can change from moment to moment according to what is happening or what you are thinking; so can your sensitive gut. The trick is to learn to understand why. This will help you deal calmly and confidently with what is upsetting your gut and bring it back to mind, where it can communicated with others and dealt with.

point Complementary therapies, such as relaxation, therapeutic massage, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, reflexology, colonic irrigation – recognise and treat the whole person and can be very beneficial, but check our advice first on our fact sheets and self management programme.

point Probiotics can help to calm and regulate your bowels, but vary in their effectiveness. If after a months trial, one brand is not helpful, try another. Prebiotics are complex sugars that encourage the growth of your own natural probiotic bacteria.

point Quackwatch. Be careful where you get your advice from. Many treatments on the internet claim to cure IBS. This is impossible. There is no magic cure for IBS, but you can learn to manage it and live a normal life. Be wary of quack cures and save your money.

point The Last Taboo. The bowel and its functions are the last taboo – especially when it does not work properly. In an age when we can talk freely about most things, the act of going to the toilet is not ‘polite’. The unwillingness of people to talk clearly and openly about their illness means they feel alienated from family and friends and do not always get the right care from their doctors. Do not be ashamed about discussing your symptoms with your doctor. They have heard far worse than anything you can tell them, and the more you tell them the better they will be able to help you. Talk openly about your symptoms. You’ll be amzed how many other people have similar problems. You are not alone. Support and understanding from The IBS Network makes a real difference in understanding and living with your symptoms, overcoming anxiety, building self-confidence, and reducing isolation.

 

Source IBS Network