IBS Treatment (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome, more widely known as IBS, is a common condition that affects the digestive system. The causes of IBS are not really known but it can be triggered by stress, problems with your immune system, or an issue with how the muscles of your gut push food through the bowel.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

IBS can cause painful symptoms which most commonly are:

  • stomach pain or cramps – usually worse after eating and better after doing a poo
  • bloating – your tummy may feel uncomfortably full and swollen
  • diarrhoea – you may have watery poo and sometimes need to poo suddenly
  • constipation – you may strain when pooing and feel like you cannot empty your bowels fully
  • change in bowel habits
  • excessive wind
  • urgent need to go to the toilet
  • a feeling of needing to open your bowels, even if you have just been
  • a feeling that you haven’t fully emptied your bowels

These symptoms tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time. There may be days when your symptoms are better and days when they’re worse (flare-ups).

What are the common foods that trigger IBS?

  • Alcohol
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee
  • Processed snacks, crisps and biscuits
  • Fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Certain meats, such as pork
  • Pastry

How can I get IBS relief and manage flare ups?

Here are some general tips to relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and get IBS relief

Things to do:

  • cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients when you can
  • keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you get – try to avoid things that trigger your IBS
  • try to find ways to relax
  • get plenty of exercise
  • try probiotics for a month to see if they help

Things to avoid:

  • do not delay or skip meals
  • do not eat too quickly
  • do not eat lots of fatty, spicy or processed foods
  • do not eat more than 3 portions of fresh fruit a day (a portion is 80g)
  • do not drink more than 3 cups of tea or coffee a day
  • do not drink lots of alcohol or fizzy drinks

How to ease bloating, cramps and farting

  • eat oats (such as porridge) regularly
  • eat up to 1 tablespoon of linseeds (whole or ground) a day
  • avoid foods that are hard to digest (like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, beans, onions and dried fruit)
  • avoid products containing a sweetener called sorbitol
  • ask a pharmacist about medicines that can help, like Buscopan or peppermint oil

How to reduce diarrhoea

  • cut down on high-fibre foods like wholegrain foods (such as brown bread and brown rice), nuts and seeds
  • avoid products containing a sweetener called sorbitol
  • ask a pharmacist about medicines that can help, like Imodium (loperamide)

How to relieve constipation

  • drink plenty of water to help make your poo softer
  • increase how much soluble fibre you eat – good foods include oats, pulses, carrots, peeled potatoes, and linseeds (whole or ground)
  • ask a pharmacist about medicines that can help (laxatives), like Fybogel or Normacol

Find your local pharmacy

You don’t need to book a consultation just pop into your local Day Lewis Pharmacy.

Pharmacy Finder: https://www.daylewis.co.uk/pharmacy-finder/

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