Many people end up on the low FODMAP diet because they have IBS or suffer from IBS symptoms. But even when you’re trying to watch what you eat, there may be times along the way where despite your best intentions your IBS will flair up – and it is horrid! I still get symptoms when I’m stressed, when I don’t read packaging properly and a nasty FODMAP has snuck in there, or when I’ve had a glass too much of wine. My stomach bloats and I feel sluggish and awful again.
There are some things you can do though, outside of just your diet, to relieve your symptoms and I find natural remedies help.
HOW TO HELP IBS SYMPTOMS NATURALLY
I’m by no means a doctor and not everything works for everyone. But these are things that during my journey with fodmap, have helped my IBS symptoms…
Probiotics: stress, medications and poor diet can reduce “friendly” bacteria in your stomach causing a flare in your symptoms. Studies show that probiotic supplements can help reduce bloating, constipation, diarrhoea. Probiotics are especially important if you are on a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics wipe all bacteria, good and bad out of your system. Probiotics will replenish your friendly bacteria on a daily basis, before your stomach is upset.
Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil: may help relieve symptoms of IBS because it helps relax the muscles in the intestines. The best form of this is enteric-coated capsules as they break down in the intestines, not in the stomach, otherwise you could get heartburn. Alternatively drinking peppermint tea is a great alternative especially if you are on the go. Replace your caffeine with peppermint tea on the days you are feeling bloated as caffeine is an irritant.
Psyllium Husk: is a form of fibre made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plants. Fibre is key in helping control IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea; however foods high in Fibre are often not fodmap friendly. Therefore taking this as an alternative I find works particularly well!
Acupuncture: is a popular alternative therapy for IBS and other conditions. Trials have proved it reduces bloating and inflammation. I have tried it and it personally didn’t work for me – so if it has for you please let me know!
Exercise: I realise the thought of getting up and moving around is horrible when you are bloated, but this is hands down for me the thing that works best. It doesn’t need to be intense exercise – even getting up and going for a walk will help. I really do believe though that people who suffer from digestive issues should incorporate exercise into part of your everyday life. If your body is sluggish, your stomach will be, if your body is fit and active, your stomach will be healthier. Exercise is particularly important if you suffer with constipation, exercise has been shown to help keep your digestive system working properly and relieve those symptoms.
Water: Make sure to drink plenty of water it will help flush out your system – six to eight glasses a day should be the aim. This is particularly important if you suffer from diarrhea as you need to avoid becoming dehydrated. Avoid fizzy water – the bubbles will increase the gas in your tummy. I know it sounds strange but try and avoid water whilst you are eating – drinking water whilst you eat means you swallow air which bloats your stomach so try and drink either side of your meals.
Stress relief: stress can trigger a variety of symptoms in your body especially for people with IBS. It’s a vicious circle though as when you are bloated you of course feel more stressed! Try and find things to control your stress, I know its hard but things like massage, yoga, and meditation will help. There is a free app called Headspace which is good and you can do at home!
So these are just some of the ways of how to help IBS symptoms naturally and they can all be factored into your everyday life quite easily.
Have you found anything that helps you when your IBS symptoms flair up?