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Navigating an IBS Flare: Practical Tips for Relief and Comfort

For individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), managing symptoms can be an ongoing challenge. IBS flares can bring discomfort, pain, and disruption to daily life.

In this blog, we'll explore practical strategies to help you cope and find relief during an IBS flare.

  • Stay Hydrated: During an IBS flare, you may experience diarrhea or increased frequency of bowel movements, leading to dehydration. It's essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and consuming electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water or rehydration solutions.

  • Follow a Low-FODMAP Diet: FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that can trigger IBS symptoms. During a flare, consider following a low-FODMAP diet to reduce gut irritants. Focus on easily digestible foods like rice, cooked vegetables, lean proteins, and lactose-free dairy.

  • Gentle Movement: Light exercise or gentle movement can help ease IBS symptoms and reduce stress. Consider activities like walking, yoga, or tai chi to promote digestion and relaxation.

  • Stress Management: Stress can worsen IBS symptoms, so practicing stress-relief techniques is crucial during a flare. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness practices can help calm the nervous system and reduce gut sensitivity.

  • Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil has natural antispasmodic properties that can alleviate IBS-related abdominal pain and cramps. Consider using enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules to avoid heartburn or reflux.

  • Heat Therapy: Applying a heating pad or warm compress to your abdomen can provide soothing relief during an IBS flare. Heat therapy can help relax muscles and reduce discomfort.

  • Keep a Symptom Journal: Tracking your food intake, stress levels, and symptoms in a journal can help identify trigger foods or stressors that exacerbate your IBS. This information can guide your management plan and help you make informed choices.

  • Herbal Teas: Certain herbal teas, like chamomile, ginger, or fennel, have gentle properties that can soothe an irritated gut during a flare. Sip on warm herbal teas to promote digestion and relaxation.

  • Rest and Self-Care: During an IBS flare, prioritize rest and self-care. Allow yourself time to recover, and don't hesitate to ask for support from friends or family if needed.

Navigating an IBS flare requires patience, self-compassion, and mindful management. By implementing these practical tips, you can find relief and comfort during flare-ups, allowing you to regain control and continue on your journey towards better gut health. Remember, individual triggers and responses to treatments vary, so work closely with an experienced functional medicine practitioner like ourselves to develop a personalised plan for managing your IBS.

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