Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an intestinal disorder that can be extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient. It can manifest in different ways for different people, leading to gas pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, depending on how you’re affected. Dr. Bikash Chowdhury, a specialist in family medicine, stresses that seeking medical help for IBS is important; however, his experience as a medical professional and devoted physician, suggests that there are many day-to-day strategies that individuals suffering from IBS can try to help manage it more effectively.
Below, Dr. Bikash Chowdhury reviews the strategies and tips in detail to help improve the overall well-being of those struggling with IBS and it’s side effects.
The food you eat plays a significant role in handling IBS. Many sufferers have certain foods that are likely to trigger an attack. As with the symptoms of IBS, these can vary from person to person. For some people, spicy foods may be an issue. For others, foods that tend to produce gas, such as beans or broccoli, can be the problem, as can carbonated drinks. Alcohol or caffeinated beverages can also aggravate IBS, as well as dairy products. Understanding what foods set off your symptoms and avoiding them as much as possible can limit the number of IBS attacks you have to suffer.
Hydration is also crucial for managing IBS. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids help to keep your digestive system healthy and working properly. It is particularly important for IBS sufferers who tend to become constipated to stay well hydrated. Of course, if certain types of drinks such as coffee or soda tend to trigger your attacks, trade them for ones that do not.
IBS sufferers often benefit from incorporating more fiber into their diets. Eating high fiber foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and legumes can help to regulate your digestion and keep your intestine processing normally. You can also get additional fiber by taking supplements, either as a powder mixed with a liquid that you drink or in capsules. Again, it’s essential to pay attention to what triggers your IBS. For some people, extra fiber can actually be a trigger, so it’s advisable to increase your fiber intake slowly and pay attention to any unwanted effects.
Probiotics may also be a good dietary addition for those with IBS. These healthy bacteria can help to establish and maintain balance in your digestive ecosystem. They are available as supplements, or you can add them to your diet by eating foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Regular exercise is another good way to keep your symptoms at bay. Physical activity helps to keep your whole body healthy, including your digestive system. It can alleviate stress, which can often contribute to IBS attacks. Exercise can also improve your mood, staving off anxiety and sadness, which can be both side effects of and contributors to IBS occurrences.
In addition to exercise, other stress management techniques can help manage IBS. Meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness can help you to relax and release tension, leading to less intestinal spasms. Yoga, tai chi, and other exercises that focus on stretching breathing, and balance may also be beneficial. Other possible options for stress-relief include massage, acupressure, and hypnosis.
While irritable bowel syndrome can be stressful, painful, and can have a negative impact on your life, there are ways to make it more bearable. Finding techniques that work for you may require some trial and error, but in the long run, they can help you to manage and alleviate your symptoms. As with any major changes to your diet, exercise, or lifestyle, make sure to talk to your doctor first, to ensure your safety and get the best possible outcome.
About Dr. Bikash Chowdhury:
Dr. Bikash Chowdhury is a specialist in family medicine and a devoted husband and father of a son and a daughter. He knows that family comes first, so he treats his patients with respect, devotion, and compassion. Dr. Chowdhury is also devoted to helping other Bangladesh physicians transition to North America just like he did when he decided to move with his family to Canada.