Use Heat to Treat Spasms
During an IBS attack, it helps to apply heat to the abdomen with either an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. The gentle heat feels nice. It also helps stimulate the blood flow and relax the smooth muscles of the colon, reducing spasms and cramps.
Sip IBS-Friendly Teas
Sipping a nice cup of IBS-friendly tea can be soothing. It can also further help alleviate painful spasms and cramps.
IBS-friendly teas are not fermented and do not contain any of the ingredients that can trigger or inflame your IBS symptoms. IBS-friendly teas include:
Breathe Deeply and Relax
Your body's natural stress response can have a dramatic effect on your IBS. That's because stress can trigger the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase IBS symptoms.
Several breathing techniques can combat the effect of stress on IBS.
Breathing deeply not only helps calm the nerves. It also sends powerful messages to the brain, telling it that everything is okay and no need for emergency response.
Pranayama breathing is a yoga practice in which you control the flow and pace of your breathing. It is beneficial for coping with IBS. People often incorporate it into certain meditation practices.
Guided imagery is another relaxation technique in which you create mental images to stimulate calm feelings. By doing so, you gently shift your thoughts away from the areas of physical discomfort.
Keep a Symptom Diary
Keeping track of your symptoms can help you identify patterns in your IBS attacks. For example, when you use a diary, you may start to notice which things tend to cause your symptoms to flare, including:
-Foods you eat
-Activities you engage in
-Routines that cause stress
Knowing, for example, that you are more likely to experience attacks in the morning can help you plan your day. By identifying and recording these patterns, you can remove many of the "what-ifs" from your life. In addition, this sense of preparedness can help you participate in activities more confidently.
Know Your FODMAPS
Fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) are a group of carbohydrates found in foods that contribute to IBS symptoms. These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the intestine. This poor absorption can result in bacterial overgrowth, leading to increased gas, bloating, pain, and watery stools.
By focusing on foods low in FODMAPs, you can decrease your gastrointestinal sensitivity and provide yourself much-needed relief after an IBS attack.
Work with a Healthcare Provider
There is no need to suffer in silence. Working with a healthcare provider can help you pinpoint what triggers your IBS.
From there, you'll be more likely to find strategies that may offer better and more sustainable control of your IBS symptoms.
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