Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – series, post 2.
In the previous blog post, the typical symptoms of IBS were discussed – and if you recognised yourself from that list of symptoms, see your GP to discuss a diagnosis.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, you face the most important and most difficult part of the process – you will need to change things in your life, but let me tell you, it’s worth it, hundred percent!
When you start consider the changes necessary, begin the process by keeping a Food, Lifestyle and Symptom Diary for at least 1-2 weeks. Based on this, you can try to spot the most obvious triggers for your IBS.
These triggers can be:
Eating irregularly or skipping meals (long breaks in between)
Poor or little sleep
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks
Drinking very little water (being dehydrated)
Recognise any of the behaviours from the list above? If you do, you do need to change your lifestyle a little bit to tackle the IBS symptoms that are dragging you down.
What should I do instead?
Eat 3 regular meals a day, healthy and suitable snacks in between
Cut down on your intake of ready made meals, processed ingredients and very fatty foods, such as chips, pizza and fatty meats
Instead make foods at home from fresh ingredients
Do limit alcohol intake to no more than two units a day and have at least 2 alcohol free days a week (less is more)
Do reduce your caffeine intake; no more than 3 cups a day
Chew your food properly and take your time with eating, undisturbed if possible
Give yourself time and change just one thing at a time, for example, focus on eating 3 regular meals a day and a few regular snacks in between, for a fortnight – while keeping a Food and Symptom Diary to track progress.
Notice any difference? Good, then keep up the newly adapted behaviour and try another one alongside the first to see if that will improve the symptoms even more. Again, take it slow and track your progress.
Most importantly, if you plan on changing something – change only one thing at a time and allow enough time for adjustments!
Personally, I have fought my way through the pain, struggles to eat anything, low energy levels and trouble focusing and so I know it can be difficult to dig your way out, but it’s possible. If you do not think you can do it by yourself, then don’t. Ask for help!
Contact Taru at ArcticNut and start feeling better soon. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org