Lifestyle changes are often the first line of treatment for managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a digestive disorder that affects up to 45 million Americans. Visiting a digestive specialist is the first step to getting relief from IBS. A doctor specifically trained in diagnosing and treating disorders that affect the digestive system is equipped to create an effective plan to help manage your symptoms.
There are several changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve symptoms of IBS. Here we discuss proven lifestyle strategies for IBS that are practical and easy to implement.
Move your body
Physical activity is shown to significantly improve IBS symptoms. The type of exercise you engage in is key as certain exercises can make symptoms worse. Before starting a new physical activity, discuss it with your provider.
Super intense, high-impact exercise can aggravate symptoms, such as cramping, and add too much stress on your body, particularly during a flare. Swimming, biking, brisk walking, and yoga are excellent options to boost mood, relieve stress, and ease symptoms.
With today’s hectic lifestyle, grabbing a bite to eat whenever you have a few convenient minutes is often commonplace. If you have IBS, it’s a better idea to create a meal schedule and aim to eat your meals at the same time each day. Having your meals on a regular schedule as part of your dietary habits regulates bowel function can help keep IBS symptoms at bay.
Engage in stress-busting activities
Stress is a major trigger for many people with IBS, so taking steps to manage and lower your stress is recommended. Whether you take a warm bath, meditate, get a massage, read a book, or do some knitting, what matters is that you incorporate stress-relieving activities into your daily life. Many people with IBS can attest to the power of stress management at keeping IBS symptoms in check.
In addition to engaging in stress-busting activities, it is necessary to manage stress at work and at home. This may mean reducing your workload, asking for help, and delegating tasks to others.
Living well with IBS
Along with lifestyle changes, we may recommend making some changes to your diet. IBS affects everyone differently, and thus there is no one-size-fits-all set of dietary recommendations for people living with IBS.
That said, most people with IBS report a link between food and their symptoms. It’s important to work closely with us to identify your triggers because avoiding trigger foods is the cornerstone of an IBS-friendly diet.
When lifestyle and dietary changes aren’t enough to ease your symptoms, we may recommend medication to help manage your symptoms.
Living with IBS can be frustrating and interfere with your quality of life. With the help of our expert digestive specialists, you can minimize flares and effectively manage your IBS.
We have offices throughout the Chicago suburbs in Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, and Oakbrook Terrace. Our team members are standing by to schedule your appointment.