April focuses on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. While digestive issues aren’t the most glamourous subject to talk about, they are important to discuss! There are many digestive issues, however, April draws attention to IBS, a disorder where abdominal pain is associated with several different symptoms such as intermittent diarrhea, constipation, or even both. Symptoms are often unpredictable and can be triggered by stress. While the exact cause of IBS isn’t known and there is no cure, there different ways to improve symptoms.
There are several strategies that can be used to decrease IBS symptoms. Here are my top 5 tips for feeling better with IBS:
- Reduce Stress
- Find ways to destress and relax. Because your gut and brain are closely related, oftentimes when you are stressed, your digestive track can be affected.
- Try mediation, yoga, journaling, or other ways you enjoy relaxing!
- Get Better Sleep
- Make time for relaxation BEFORE going to bed.
- Avoid using electronics 30-60 minutes before bed.
- Avoid caffeine 4 hours before bed.
- Daily Movement
- Try walking, running, jogging, cycling, or another favorite activity!
- Increased heart rate reduces intestinal sluggishness and stimulates muscles to push waste out of the body.
- Consistent Small Meals
- Smaller portions can be easier for you to digest and result in less stress on your digestive track with IBS.
- Watch the 4 Common Food Offenders of IBS
- Caffeine, chocolate, fiber, and nuts
- These foods can potentially irritate symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation in those with IBS.
If you have any concerns with your digestive health, please reach out to your medical provider or a Registered Dietitian. IBS symptoms can be uncomfortable and can affect daily living, but there are strategies to help relieve symptoms!
Happy and Healthy Eating,
Emily, RD, LD