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5 Ways to Manage IBS

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that occur together in the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms generally include abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, affecting an estimated 10-15% of the world’s population.

The Different Types of IBS

IBS is categorized based on the bowel movement issues you face. Knowing the type of IBS you have will help you understand how to customize treatment measures for the best outcome.

  • IBS with Constipation (IBS-C): Individuals living with this form of IBS may pass stools that are hard or lumpy.

  • IBS with Diarrhea (IBS-D): Individuals living with this form of IBS may pass stools that are loose or watery.

  • IBS with Mixed Bowel Habits (IBS-M): Individuals living with this form of IBS may pass stools that are both hard or lumpy and loose or watery.

Tips for Managing IBS

Alleviating symptoms of IBS oftentimes takes a combination of dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and other therapies. You may need to try a few different approaches to find the best treatment plan for your body. Many find that symptoms may improve by adopting the proactive strategies below:

Dietary changes

  • Incorporate more fiber into your diet. Fiber helps you form soft stools that are less painful to pass

  • Avoid consuming carbonated beverages, as these may cause bloating and gas and worsen your IBS symptoms

  • Limit consumption of cheese, milk, and foods with lactose, as these may also cause bloating and gas and worsen your IBS symptoms

  • Consider working with a Registered Dietitian to temporarily adopt the low FODMAP Diet. FODMAPs, or fermentable oligosaccharides, are short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. Gradually reduce the intake of foods high in FODMAPs and reintroduce them slowly. This reintroduction period may help you figure out which foods worsen your symptoms, allowing you to minimize or eliminate consumption of those foods

Habit changes

  • Refrain from smoking, as smoking may cause heartburn and reflux and worsen your IBS symptoms.

  • Aim for seven to eight hours of continuous sleep, as disturbed sleep is linked to more severe abdominal pain in those with IBS

  • Exercise for about 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week to relieve constipation and improve overall health

Stress reduction

  • Stress may be reducing blood flow to your stomach and making your bowels feel tense

  • Consistently practice yoga to encourage both physical and mental relaxation and reduce your stress levels

  • Practice breathing exercises to reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, eliciting a calming response from your body

  • Foster genuine connections to help you maintain a state of well-being

How Presidio Can Help

Managing IBS may involve a combination of strategies, and Presidio Home Care Aides can help. Our HCAs are not only passionate about providing quality care, but also being a good companion to your loved ones, easing loneliness and stress to relieve IBS symptoms. Contact Us today for a free consultation.

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