Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be tricky to manage, especially if you aren’t yet familiar with your body’s patterns and tendencies. The condition causes abdominal pain and bloating as well as either diarrhea, constipation, or both (mixed bowel habits). Often unpredictable, IBS can anchor you within a certain radius of a restroom at all times.
Here at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology, located in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, and Highland, New York, our team offers the educated guidance you need as you navigate life with IBS. Follow these guidelines to become more confident and prepared for your flare-ups.
Stick to a schedule
As you get used to living with IBS, you may recognize some patterns with your flare-ups. By keeping track of patterns you notice, you can start to plan ahead. For example, if your flare-ups happen shortly after mealtime, schedule any important meetings or events before you eat instead of during or after your meal.
It might also benefit to follow a different eating regimen than the usual three meals a day model. You might find that your flare-ups are less severe if you eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of a large breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Know your dietary limits
Many people with IBS find that certain foods lead to flare-ups more than others. It might help to keep a food journal if you’re still figuring out your triggers. Generally, avoid or limit options like:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Dairy products
- Artificial sweeteners
- Sugary desserts
- Fatty or fried foods
Consequently, other foods are gentle on your digestive system, and centering them in your diet is a simple way to manage IBS. Whole grains should be a staple in your diet, and you should drink plenty of water to counteract the constipation or diarrhea you get with IBS.
Probiotics are foods, drinks, or supplements that include lots of “good” bacteria for your gut health. The good bacteria fight off bad bacteria, control inflammation, and aid in the process of digestion. By taking them regularly, you can reduce symptoms of IBS like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
Prepare for the worst-case scenario
IBS is often unpredictable, and there’s always a chance you might need to get to a bathroom quickly when no restroom is within your reach. Consider keeping preparatory items in convenient spots, like in your car or your locker at work. These include baby wipes, changes of clothes, necessary medications, and healthy snacks.
Visit our offices
Our team of gastroenterologists at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology is always prepared to work with you on an individualized IBS care plan. Schedule an appointment by calling the office or clicking the online booking button right away.