Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is not an easy condition to live with. It can impairy our life and lead to depression. This syndrome comes with painful and unwanted symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, bloated stomach, and gas. It’s also difficult to treat IBS since it can have multiple triggers and causes. Your lifestyle, stress levels and diet could all be contributing to your symptoms.
Fortunately, you don’t have to keep on suffering. There are things you can do to make life with IBS much more comfortable. By making some simple lifestyle changes and identifying your top triggers, you can regain control of your body and start feeling happier today. Let’s start by looking at the top dietary triggers for IBS.
Dietary Triggers for Constipation
Here’s a list of foods that make IBS-related constipation much more frequent and problematic:
- Processed or refined foods including chips and cookies
- Caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda
- Diets that are especially rich in protein
- Dairy products
How to Prevent IBS
- Include more fiber in your diet. Try to reach a daily fiber intake of around 20 to 35 grams. Top fiber sources are grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Eat foods that are rich in sorbitol like prunes.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
- Add ground flaxseeds to your diet. Sprinkle them over salads or sandwiches.
IBS-D: Dietary Triggers to Avoid to Prevent Diarrhea
Here’s a list of foods that make IBS-diarrhea worse:
- An excess of fiber
- Sugary foods like chocolate or candy
- Caffeinated drinks
- Large portions
- Fried or fat-rich foods
- Dairy products
How to Prevent IBS-D
- Eat the right amount of fiber each day. Don’t overdo it or underdo it. Fiber is present in grains, pasta, fruits, vegetables and more. If you’re not sure how much you should consume, ask your doctor.
- Try to avoid mixing foods with different temperatures. For example, don’t follow up a piping hot steak with a bowl of frozen ice cream.
- Avoid vegetables like cabbage or broccoli as these can cause gas.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Drink plenty of water every day and try to drink well in advance, at least one hour, before a meal.
- Try a lactose-free diet. Living without lactose could be the key to treating your IBS effectively. Lactose is present in many dairy products like milk or cheese. It can cause gas and make IBS symptoms more difficult.
Know the Stress and Anxiety Triggers for IBS
Believe it or not, stress can make IBS tough to tackle. Here are some common causes of stress that could be deteriorating your IBS symptoms:
- Career issues
- Long drives
- Home issues
- Financial issues
- Marital issues
- A lack of control in your life
How to Prevent Stress From Triggering Your IBS
- Make restorative lifestyle decisions to help ease your stress. Fix your diet, get plenty of exercises and try to have eight hours of sleep per night.
- Enjoy some time alone and partake in your favorite activities like reading, watching TV or exercising.
- Use relaxation or breathing techniques to calm your mind in stressful moments.
- Communicate with your family, friends, colleagues or even professional counselors. By keeping problems bottled up inside, you will only be escalating your stress.
- Be prepared to deal with IBS symptoms when they arise. It’s common for IBS sufferers to feel stressed about their symptoms suddenly appearing at an inopportune moment of the day. Learn the locations of toilets in new places and plan out your daily schedule to include possible IBS problems.
Avoid the Drugs That Can Trigger IBS
Certain prescription or over-the-counter medications deteriorate IBS symptoms. Here are some examples:
- Medicine containing sorbitol, an example would be cough syrup
How to Avoid Medications That Trigger Your IBS
- A professional doctor will understand your symptoms and suggest alternative forms of medication that won’t encourage your IBS. Don’t simply stop taking vital medication without consulting a doctor first.
- Especially in the case of antidepressants, speak to a doctor in order to switch to another form of medicine. Your doctor will find the correct medication to help your mood without causing your IBS to flare up.
Menstrual Problems with IBS
Unfortunately, women can suffer from enhanced IBS symptoms when they menstruate. Studies are ongoing to determine why exactly this happens. In the meantime, doctors do have some recommendations to help make life a little bit easier for women with IBS.
How to Tame That Monthly IBS Trigger
- Try using oral contraceptives. These pills will help to regulate your menstrual cycle and prepare you for further IBS symptoms. Be aware that oral contraceptives can come with certain side effects like vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. Consult your gynecologist to learn more about IBS and help them find the right pill for you.
- Try taking premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) medication. PMDD is a more extreme form of PMS. Doctors can treat it with certain drugs like Sarafem or Zoloft. These drugs help to control the levels of serotonin in your brain and make symptoms less severe.
Discover Your Own IBS Triggers to Prevent Symptoms
There are many different triggers that can cause IBS and make the symptoms trickier to manage. You have looked at some recuperative ways to make your life a little easier with IBS. Now let’s look at ways you can find your IBS triggers and start eliminating them with the right approach.
When you treat the root cause of your disease, you will be able to live a happier and healthier life each and every day.
1. Identify Your Trigger Foods and Get Control of Your Diet
If you want to deal with any problem, you need to learn about it first. Knowing the top trigger foods for IBS can be the first step in the process of defeating this troublesome condition. If you know in advance which foods to avoid, you will have more control over your IBS symptoms.
Too many IBS sufferers continue to eat trigger foods and suffer when they could be helping themselves. Let’s look at the big five triggers:
- Insoluble fiber
Yes, some of the items on that list might shock you. Fructose commonly occurs in fruit, which is considered to be healthy for the human body. Fruits are rich in vitamins and nutrients that we all need to live healthy.
Wheat is one of the most important grains in the world, being one of the first crops ever cultivated by mankind. Even dairy products like milk are rich in calcium and other healthy minerals.
These foods don’t look menacing or dangerous to the common eyes, but they can cause major problems for people with IBS.It might be hard for you to get used to the idea of cutting down on dairy or fruits in your diet. However, this might be necessary if you want to avoid painful IBS symptoms and lead a better quality of life.
Experts don’t recommend stopping yourself eating apples or drinking milk entirely. You just need to eat these foods in moderation, giving your body time to digest them.
2. Listen to Your Body and Take Action
Every single day, your body is sending you signals. It’s up to you to respond to these bodily reactions and make the right changes to your life. If you feel particularly gassy or have stomach pains after eating a particular food, don’t ignore it. Those feelings are a message from your body.
If your body doesn’t like a certain type of food, it will let you know by causing pain and problems. You need to respond to these messages and start lowering your intake of the trigger foods. Your body can actually be your best friend when it comes to dealing with IBS.
Here are some of the signs your body can send to you due to food sensitivities:
- Respiratory Symptoms: This includes coughs, sneezes, snoring, sinus infections, ear infections, asthma and bronchitis.
- Immune System Symptoms: Common viruses, such as influenza can easily attack you. You can get mouth ulcers, as well.
- Neural Symptoms: Poor hand-eye coordination, lack of balance, headaches, memory difficulties, lack of concentration, mood swings and depression are also things to watch out for and report to your doctor right away.depression are also things to watch out for and report to your doctor right away.
- Skin, Hair and Nails: Various skin conditions can occur, like psoriasis, hives, rosacea and eczema. You can have weak hair and hair loss or weak nails that break easily. Dandruff is another issue.
- Metabolism Problems: Watch for weight changes, addictions and cravings.
- Musculoskeletal Symptoms: Report any muscle pain, joint pain, difficulty bending, arthritis or weak bones to your doctor.
Malabsorption: Fatigue, iron deficiency, vitamin deficiency and anemia can occur. They come with extreme exhaustion, dizziness and light-headedness, so tell your doctor right away about these symptoms.
- Gastro Symptoms: Diarrhea, constipation, bloated stomach and stomach ulcers can also be a problem.
- Genital and Reproductive Symptoms: Vaginitis, urinary infections and infertility can strike some women.
By looking for these signs and responding to them in a positive way, you will be able to identify and avoid your trigger foods.
3. Keep a Dietary Journal to Pinpoint the Culprits
One of the best ways to get your IBS under control and start figuring out your main triggers is to keep a food diary. Let’s look at some bonus tips to help your diary be as effective as possible:
– Leave No Detail Unwritten
You should write down even the tiniest thing, from a simple snack to a swig of soda. Small things can trigger IBS so don’t leave anything out.
Simply note down everything you eat, taking care to specify portion sizes and the time of day at which you eat. It can also be helpful to note down what activities you were doing at different times of the day as well. Then, whenever you experience IBS symptoms, write them down in your dietary journal.
– Don’t Forget the Condiments
It can be easy to forget things like sauces, syrups, gravies or oils, but you need to write them down, too.
– Monitor Your Stress Levels
It can also be helpful to note the days you feel particularly stressed or tired. These emotions can affect IBS. Remember to go into detail when writing down your individual symptoms. Even a small piece of information can be of immense help.
– Look Out for Certain Ingredients
You might find it hard to find patterns in your diary, but think about the ingredients in the foods you eat. If you tend to have IBS symptoms after eating pizzas, burgers or breads, you need to look at the common ingredient in all of these foods: wheat.
– Keep at It for Great Results
Gradually, you will be able to notice patterns emerging. You will be able to link your various IBS attacks with certain foods. You can then try eliminating those foods gradually from your diet to determine if they are your triggers. This will certainly help you be healthy in a long run.
It might take a while for you to notice the patterns and eliminate your triggers. Don’t give up, though.
– Talk It Out for Even More Answers
Show and share your journal with a loved one or friend. They could be able to spot something that you missed.
It might seem like quite a big task to keep a food journal, but it can be are warding thing to do. It will take plenty of patience and effort on your part, but this informational diary can change your life.
By identifying your triggers and cutting them out of your diet, you will have less stress and be more confident in yourself. You will regain control of your life and suffer less often from IBS-related problems.
4. Research Your Family History for Helpful Insights
We are not just talking about genetics here, but about habits, tastes, recipes and more. Some of the eating habits or old family recipes you have been using for years could be contributing to your IBS. Try to look at the way your parents and grandparents eat and identify any problematic habits or foods.
Maybe you live in a family where large portions are common or you tend to use certain oils and sauces in your recipes. This is just another way for you to find your triggers and cut them out.
What You Should Know About the Low-FODMAP Diet
The low-FODMAP diet has been gaining popularity with IBS sufferers in recent times. Studies show that this particular diet can help IBS patients reduce the frequency of their symptoms.
The abbreviation, FODMAP, stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are all different types of carbohydrates which are usually classed as top IBS triggers. This diet encourages you to avoid the following foods:
- Fruits like apples, peaches and nectarines
- Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and sprouts
- Artificial sweeteners
- Lactose-rich dairy products like milk, cheese, or ice cream
Before starting this dietary plan, it’s essential to speak with a professional dietician. This diet involves the removal of some vital foods like fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals your body needs. It can be a big adjustment for you and your digestive system to suddenly stop eating these foods. Consulting with an expert can help you make the right decision.
These tips may help tame your irritable bowel syndrome triggers and lower the symptoms. It will take some effort from you, but with some time and patience, you will start to get back your healthy life and defeat this syndrome. Follow these suggestions and inculcate curative lifestyle decisions to live a quality life today.