Do IBS lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise make a difference in Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Well I believe the answer is Yes, it can make a difference!
We know that making changes in your life can have a huge influence on symptoms.
Haven't you noticed that your symptoms are worse when under a lot of stress or when you have a dietary indiscretion?
Modern life really isn't suited to sufferers. We tend to lead chaotic and fast moving lives, work long hours, take ready meals and that's if we get a regular meal!
"Symptoms suffer if the bowel doesn't have a sensible routine". It's no wonder so many of us get in to health difficulties, isn't it?
Do you drink enough fluids? We know constipation is exacerbated by not drinking enough so its no wonder that symptoms of IBS are heightened if you don't drink sensibly.
Try to avoid too much tea and coffee as these can increase your number of bathroom visits if you are diarrhoea predominant.
Sweeteners, particularly Sorbital, have a laxative effect and will increase diarrhoea symptoms in sensitive individuals.
They can be found in a lot of fast food meals and drinks as well as the traditional sugar substitutes for your hot drinks.
Try to avoid carbonated diet drinks such as cola's that contain this substitute. Also, keeping your alcohol intake down may also help.
Increase the amount of water that you drink. We should all be taking in at least 3 litres of fluid a day. This keeps you and your bowel hydrated.
Water is the ideal drink and can be flavoured with fruit juices.
Juices contain the so called 'soluble fibre' which is good for your bowel, although too much can be detrimental, so take care!
Exercise is good for maintaining health and a state of well being. It's also an important factor in your IBS lifestyle.
This is particularly true in constipation where exercise can increase your chance of a bowel movement.
Don't over do it though as this can have an adverse effect too!
I would recommend a good walk on a daily basis which should do it, but equally you can do other forms of fun exercise such as swimming with your friends and family or participate in group sports.
Alternatively there is always the gym, and these are a good source of personal trainers who can gauge the right amount of exercise for you.
Try to reduce your stress. Yes, I know, this is difficult sometimes.
Try to take time out when in a stressful situation. Delegate more, take regular breaks, try to reduce your work load. Try a stress relief tape, it might work for you!
Make sure you sleep. Regular sleep is important. Lack of sleep causes abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.
Your body needs rest and time to heal. Remember symptoms rarely wake people from sleep, so its your chance to relax!
However, try to avoid sleeping pills as these may be detrimental to your symptoms too.
Finally, diet is a big factor in IBS lifestyle, but I will address this in the diet section.
Yes, I know this is all difficult and you probably knew a lot of this already. I expect you probably have some aversion to doing these things, but it really could make a difference to you.
Lifestyle is important and you shouldn't neglect it in the management of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome.