• Aidan Craig

Living with I.B.S

What is I.B.S ?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and debilitating disorder within your Large intestine that affects 9%-23% of the population across the world. The percentage of patients seeking health care related to IBS approaches 12% in primary care practices.

I.B.S can cause bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, passing mucus and the feeling of needing to open bowels even after just been to the toilet. As you can imagine this can have a huge impact on the individuals quality of life.

Lifestyle tips to help reduce symptoms

Exercise regularly - By exercising you are technically helping with the digestion process, good examples of exercise would be to do a type of exercise that is low impact. This can be going for a walk, cycle or a swim.

Create healthy eating habits - Eat your meals on a regular basis, when eating try and chew your food fully. By ensuring you have fully broken the food down you will then realise you have actually turned the food into a soft ball that is now lubricated with saliva. What this now means it is easily digestible and you have made things so much easier for your gut to break down and absorb. Whilst eating try and eat in a place you are going to be relaxed, this means sitting down in a place where you won't be disturbed.

Relaxation - This is often overlooked and important, take time out your schedule and have some me time, you could use this time for some meditation. A healthy mind and body goes hand in hand.

Food and symptom diary - By keeping a food and symptom diary you can then identify if your diet affects your symptoms. This is important as there may be a link to a food you have eat the day before and not necessarily the same day that causing symptoms.

Try and avoid common triggers !

There may not be a particular reason for a flareup however common triggers may be of the following:-

Caffeine, alcohol, spicy and fatty foods. Anxiety can also be a factor, so try and minimise this by identifying triggers for this also and create a strategy plan on how to make things easier.

What changes do i make when i have symptoms ?

By using your food diary you should over the next couple of weeks be able to highlight the foods that may be triggers. Eliminate these foods from your diet under supervision.

You can tackle this by making positive changes to your overall diet which have shown to improve symptoms.

Below is a prepared table which will show dietary changes that has made improvements to specific symptoms within IBS patients. The table shows the type of symptom on the far left with three positive dietary changes and supplementation to help combat the symptom.

If you think you have IBS, arrange an appointment with your GP to be referred to a specialist or contact a Dietitian.

Ask for an urgent appointment if you have experienced one of the following :-

Rapid weight loss for no reason

Bleeding or bloody diarrhoea

Lump in tummy

Shortness of breath


Pale skin

These could be signs of something more serious.


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