Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is Britain’s most common digestive complaint, affecting nearly a fifth of the population – and around twice as many women as men. Research suggests that desperate sufferers try an average of 5 products each month in a bid to relieve their symptoms, but around half are still left battling the symptoms long-term.
IBS can have a debilitating effect on all aspects of daily life – but these tips can help you to find a solution.
• Keep it calm
Anxiety is a common IBS trigger, which can make the stresses of life particularly difficult for IBS sufferers. Both anxiety and stress cause the colon to become more active, leading to severe embarrassment if you get caught short. Exercise can be great for stress management, but intense exercise, such as running, also stimulates the digestive system. This is helpful if you’re feeling constipated, but problematic for those with diarrhoea-prone IBS – leading to more frequent, loose bowel movements and stomach cramps. If you’re prone to diarrhoea, try a gentler, less strenuous form of exercise such as yoga, walking or swimming.
• Take Control
Try a clinically proven IBS remedy to help you feel more in control. Research suggests that a ‘live’ liquid bacteria drink known as Symprove (www.sympove.com) could help re-address the balance of bacteria in the gut, with results indicating that major IBS symptoms improved significantly in 60% of participants following a daily dose for 12 weeks. Symprove was also recently shown in independent research from UCL to be the only probiotic of 8 popular formulations where live bacteria was proven to arrive in sufficient numbers, survive the transit through the stomach and to thrive in the intestines – key steps for seeing optimal benefits.
• Speak up
Spending so much time dealing with toilet issues can make it hard to feel attractive and sexy – studies suggest that nearly a third of women with IBS report concerns related to their sex life and report that their IBS has a negative impact on their intimate relationships. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about it – keeping quiet may cause more anxiety (which is likely to worsen your symptoms), whilst talking about could help make both of you feel more comfortable. Treating yourself to activities which usually help boost your confidence and give you a lift could also be helpful strategies.
• 40 winks
Sleep disturbance in IBS sufferers is common, and can leave you feeling even more stressed, anxious and lethargic than usual, on top of your IBS symptoms. It’s important to have a good sleep routine to help you achieve a restful night sleep, this includes avoiding caffeine before bed, putting away mobile phones and tablets in the run up to bed time, and allowing yourself some relaxation time before sleep to let go of the day’s activities and prepare your body and mind for rest. It’s also important to ensure you’re in the most comfortable position and have a comfortable mattress and pillows to help alleviate any discomfort.
• Play it safe
Rich foods and alcohol can trigger the symptoms of IBS, making eating out an IBS sufferer’s idea of hell. Looking at the menu in advance can help you choose the best meal options for you and also which places are best avoided if no suitable options are available. Onion, garlic, spicy foods and high fat desserts are all notorious IBS triggers, so are best avoided. If in doubt try to stick to plainer foods such as chicken, fish and potato and moderate your intake of alcohol. Keeping a food and symptom diary can help you to identify what triggers your IBS symptoms – and leave you feeling better equipped to take on the world.
Symprove is a liquid probiotic containing 4 strains of live and active bacteria.
Available from www.symprove.com, a 12 week course of 65ml per day is recommended initially for optimum benefit and a 4 week complimentary pack is available after 8 weeks on the programme.
Worth a try!