• 5 Tips for Reducing Your IBS Symptoms

    on Dec 7th, 2018

Irritable bowel syndrome can be a challenge to your everyday life. In addition to dealing with the discomfort of IBS, you need to stay a step ahead at all times. It seems as though you have to plan everything around your IBS, so you can anticipate your symptoms before they ruin your plans. That’s really no way to live your life, but what can you do? It’s the card you’ve been dealt and you have to learn to cope with it.

You’re not alone. In the United States alone, 12% of the population suffers from IBS. The majority of these cases are women, nearly twice as many as men. IBS typically occurs in individuals under age 50.

If you find yourself suffering with abdominal cramps and discomfort, bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, you may have IBS. At Rose City Urgent Care & Family Practice, we can help you cope with IBS symptoms.

How to reduce your IBS symptoms

IBS is a unique condition because your experience with IBS symptoms is unlike anyone else’s. Some people have IBS-D, which is diarrhea predominant, and others have IBS-C, which means they have mostly constipation. Through vigilance and careful monitoring, you can discover what triggers your IBS episodes and reduce your symptoms. Here are five ways to do just that:

  1. Find your dietary triggers.

Because individual triggers vary, there’s no one “IBS diet” you can follow to control your symptoms. The easiest way to discover what foods cause you the most pain is by keeping a food journal. Track the foods you eat in your journal and note your symptoms as they occur. You will likely find a correlation. Some common triggers are dairy, caffeine, high-fat foods, and artificial sweeteners, as well as beans, cabbage, and other foods that cause gas. Chocolate and nuts can also cause IBS symptoms in some people.

  1. Increase your fiber.

When dealing with the symptoms of IBS, you may experience irregularity. Depending on which type of IBS you have, sometimes you may experience loose bowel movements while other times you may be constipated. Getting regulated may require taking a fiber supplement. The recommended amount of fiber for adults is 22-34 grams daily. If you plan to increase your fiber with a supplement or high-fiber foods, do so gradually, because upping your fiber too quickly may cause additional bloating and gas.

  1. Increase your physical activity.

Studies show that exercising 3-5 times per week for 20-30 minutes can improve many of your IBS symptoms. Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and stool problems may diminish with regular exercise.

  1. Reduce your stress.

Stress plays a key role in so many health problems, including IBS. You can’t change the stress life throws your way, but you can learn to manage your stressors in a healthy way. Along with the above-mentioned exercise, try practicing some relaxation techniques, meditation, and journaling to keep your stress manageable.

  1. Consider IBS medication.

You can speak with your physician at Rose City Urgent Care & Family Practice about what medications are available to help you reduce your IBS symptoms. Depending on whether you have IBS-D or IBS-C, some over-the-counter medications that can help are fiber supplements, antidiarrheal meds, and osmotic laxatives, such as milk of magnesia. Also, certain prescription antidepressant medications or antispasmodics may be prescribed. A specific antibiotic may help if you suffer from an overgrowth of bacteria in your intestinal tract.

With some forethought and planning, living with IBS is possible. For more on how to manage your IBS symptoms or to receive help with treatment, contact one of our offices in Tigard, Milwaukie, or Portland, Oregon.

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