From pain and flatulence to diarrhea and constipation, IBS is unpleasant to say the least.
And nearly half of us fight against this daily discomfort, with statistics suggesting that as many as 40 percent of adults have irritable bowel syndrome to some extent.
But we don't have to suffer in silence. Dr. Simon Smale, a gastroenterologist at the University of Manchester, claims that we can transform our gut health with his 18 simple tips.
And some are so simple that you can even start tonight.
From pain and gas to diarrhea and constipation, IBS is at least unpleasant (stock)
Do not leave long distances between meals
& # 39; Diet is important and it shouldn't come as a surprise that what you put in the tank influences your symptoms & # 39 ;, advises Dr. Smale.
But just as well as what you do in the tank, you also have to look at how long you leave it in this so-called tank. & # 39; Start eating regularly, by not letting a long time in between your meals and certainly not skip meals & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale.
Try two coffee a week instead of a day
Avoid too much caffeine, says Dr. Smale. Caffeine can have a negative effect on the intestines and can promote wind and gas, so try to limit yourself to a few cups of coffee a week instead of a few cups a day.
Choose red wine over strong drinks
Avoid too much alcohol, says Dr. Smale. Recent research by the British Gut project shows that ghosts in particular are bad news for gut health. But it is not only bad news with regard to alcohol, but also that red wine can be useful.
The benefits for the wine are polyphenols, the top-class antioxidants that you can also find in artisanal ciders, which feed the microbiome, increasing the diversity of microbes.
Red wine is actually better for the microbiome than grape juice, which also contains polyphenols, so alcohol plus fruit is good. Simply stick to glass instead of a bottle.
Red wine is better than spirits because the antioxidants feed our gut bacteria (stock)
What is IBS and what are the symptoms?
IBS is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort, accompanied by changes in bowel function.
It is difficult to make a diagnosis because the symptoms can vary widely and must be checked for a correct diagnosis over a period of approximately 12 weeks.
Fortunately, unlike more serious bowel disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, IBS does not cause inflammation or changes in the gut tissue, or increases the risk of colon cancer.
Symptoms of IBS can be: frequent bowel movements (more than three per day) or irregular bowel movements (less than three per week), abnormal bowel movements (lumpy / hard or loose / watery), abnormal bowel movements (squeeze out, urgency or feeling) incomplete evacuation) , extremely bloated feeling, listlessness, nausea, abdominal pain or cramps, flatulence and mucus in the stool.
The symptoms can be intermittent and can range from severe to mild.
Hit the fizz and try a herbal tea
We know you've probably heard this before, but carbonated drinks that are full of sugar should come out of your cupboards quickly if you suffer from bowel problems. & # 39; These create gas in the intestine that leads to flatulence & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale.
What is the solution I hear you ask? Grab those carbonated drinks and drink water instead. Water has an added bonus because it helps lubricate your gut to keep everything moving; if water feels too dull, try a herbal tea for a healthy taste hit – you'll feel ten times better.
Moreover, drinking too many carbonated drinks may even make you anxious. This is due to the intestinal brain connection. A diverse intestinal biome links to higher blood tryptophan and trytophan changes into serotonin, the chemical brain that we need to be happy.
That includes & # 39; light & # 39; carbonated drinks
Diet drinks may not contain calories or sugar but contain artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners are indigestible sugars that can have adverse effects on the intestines and can lead to trapped wind.
& # 39; Diet drinks and even dietary foods often contain indigestible sugars that end up in our colon where they ferment. This causes flatulence and bloating, "explains Dr. Smale.
Many animal studies have shown that sweeteners completely disrupt good intestinal bacteria, leading to an imbalance known as dysbiosis.
Water is better than carbonated drinks and herbal tea is good if you have that & # 39; flavor hit & # 39; need (stock)
Ready-made meals are a no-no
If excess wind and bloating are your most common IBS symptom, you may want to enjoy the meals on Saturday night less – sorry.
& # 39; Some foods that contain many complex carbohydrates, common in microwave products and ready meals, tend to end up undigested in the colon. Here they will ferment and produce excess wind and bloating, & says Dr. Smale.
Take a clinically proven antibiotic
& # 39; Patients often ask me if they should take a probiotic to help prevent bowel complaints, and there is a growing body of evidence that probiotics can benefit from the symptoms of IBS, & # 39; claims Dr. Smale.
Make sure you are looking for a probiotic that is clinically proven. & # 39; A clinically proven probiotic has evidence that it works for patients with irritable bowel. That means it has to penetrate to the bone that it's actually meant to exert influence, & Dr. 39 describes.
& # 39; It must also be available in sufficient numbers so that it actually affects IBS symptoms & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale.
There are also other considerations when choosing a suitable probiotic, explains Dr. Smale. To start with edibility, if you take a probiotic in liquid form, how does it taste? You absolutely don't want probiotics that leave a bad taste in your mouth – yuk.
And how often do you have to take it? Some probiotics brands suggest that you have to take something four times a day, which is often unrealistic with our busy lifestyle, & almost no one succeeds. I certainly will not do that, & # 39; admits Dr. Smale.
Plus, do you have to keep the probiotic in the fridge or can you take it with you everywhere? Fridges with probiotics are forgotten much earlier than the ones you can keep in your bag.
If all else fails, talk to a dietician
& # 39; Diet is important for bowel function & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale. & # 39; If you do everything you can in your diet and you get the basics right with regular eating and excludes the obvious things but still see no positive results, the next thing to do is seek help from a dietician to talk about specific exclusion diets & # 39 ;, advises Dr. Smale.
Three common exclusion diets are dairy, wheat and FODMAPS.
The term FODMAP stands for & # 39; fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols & # 39 ;, scientific terms used to classify groups of carbohydrates that are known to cause digestive complaints such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain and other common symptoms found in IBS patients.
& # 39; FODMAPS are sugars that end up undigested in the colon, making them available for the intestinal bacteria to ferment, leading to gas production.
& # 39; This irritates the colon and causes people to have a change in bowel movements & # 39 ;, Dr. Smale explains.
The low FODMAPS diet has been demonstrated in numerous studies to help alleviate the symptoms of IBS.
A 2016 study, published in the journal Gastroenterology and Hepatology, indicates that limiting FODMAP food is an effective nutritional intervention for reducing IBS symptoms.
& # 39; It is important to see a dietician if you are going to try this or another exclusion diet for your IBS to make sure you are not missing essential nutrients & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale. Find a dietitian at The British Dietetic Association.
Limit your intake of onions and garlic
Foods such as onions, lentils, rye, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beans and dried fruits are all high in FODMAPS and are therefore poorly absorbed by the gut.
As a result, they go through and into the colon where they are fermented by bacteria. This leads to the production of excess gas that causes cramps, bloating, wind and pain.
Limiting the two foods that give the most food is simply not fair. But unfortunately, if your gut complaints drive you crazy, it may be a step to consider, as both foods are considered high in FODMAPS.
Garlic is fermented by bacteria in the colon, leading to excessive gas production (stock)
Eat less broccoli and cauliflower
These are two foods that are also often associated with a FODMAP exclusion diet. Broccoli and cauliflower are examples of cruciferous vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates or sulfur-containing chemicals. Because glucosinolates break down in the intestines, they form other compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, which is why gas smells of sulfur after eating these foods.
Stop the sprouts
Similar to the reasons for avoiding broccoli and cauliflower, those who eat more food with a high FODMAP have demonstrated such as Brussels sprouts, prolonged hydrogen production in the gut and intestinal poisoning through fermentation.
That means an excessive build-up of wind in your gut. This leads to IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating and stomach upset.
Sprouts are known to cause wind at Christmas, but are the cause of IBS (stock) all year round
Watch out for stoned fruit
Avoid eating stoned fruit such as plums, peaches, nectarines and mango. This is (no) thanks to fructose.
Fructose and sorbitol (sugar alcohol) are the sugary substances found in every fruit, and some people have major problems digesting them and will therefore feel bloated.
Improve your sleep & # 39; hygiene & # 39;
A large number of lifestyle factors can influence the way our intestines function. & # 39; I would start by looking at your sleep routine & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale.
& # 39; Many people sleep poorly, and that has a major impact on the way your intestines function. It is all good that I say you need eight hours of sleep every night, because that is very difficult in reality.
Voldoende For sufficient reasons, it is difficult to have a number of reasons, such as a busy life or because we do not always have the best sleep hygiene or the best bedtime routine, which means that the quality of our sleep is not always good. .
& # 39; Your feeling and your stress level are inseparably linked to each other & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale. "
& # 39; In fact, the intestine is the organ with the largest number of nerve cells in the body, even more than the brain, and we know that the intestine contains the largest amount of serotonin that is the neurotransmitter that we associate with mood and happiness.
& # 39; So you can imagine that your stomach is not going well, those feelings will affect your emotions and vice versa.
& # 39; That is why we see many problems with depression, anxiety and state of mind in people with bowel problems – but we rarely know what it was first, mood problems or bowel problems, they both influence each other.
So how can we improve our bedtime routine?
Sleep and our gut health are connected, mainly due to their effect on stress (stock)
Go to bed at the same time every night
Often it seems that people who sleep poorly are the ones who end with gut dysbiosis or an imbalance in the gut and therefore it follows that by ensuring our sleep we can improve our gut bacteria.
& # 39; First of all, try to go to bed at a similar time every night & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale. & # 39; It is clear that this is not always possible, but that you strive to go to bed as close to regular time as possible. & # 39;
We cannot put enough emphasis on the consequences of taking care of your stress levels, as these can significantly affect the quality of your sleep.
& # 39; Getting enough sleep is important, just like using things like yoga and relaxation to cope with the hustle and bustle of life. Hypnotherapy can also really help with bowel problems, & says Dr. Smale.
You can look for a hypnotherapist who specializes in bowel problems – talk to your doctor, the waiting list for getting these to the NHS can be long, but you can find a private practitioner at the British Society for Clinical Hypnosis.
Avoid bright lights before bed
& # 39; This includes avoiding your cell phone, social media, your iPad as you approach bedtime – if you can, & # 39; says Dr. Smale.
According to Travelodge research, 70 percent of us & # 39; s send a tweet message at night, while 20 percent of us browse our news feeds in bed for up to 16 minutes and this affects our sleep patterns, with most of us only 6 hours 21 minutes per night, 1 hour and 39 minutes less than the recommended eight hours.
Not great for our ability to concentrate, but possibly not ideal for intestinal health, because research shows that a good night's sleep benefits our intestinal bacteria.
Roll the block
This will not come as a surprise, but exercise is an important part of your lifestyle. Exercise has been shown countless times to help relieve bowel complaints from flatulence, bloating and constipation.
& # 39; The NICE guideline (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) indicates that we must all move for 150 minutes or regularly. That is exercise that breathes out every week & # 39 ;, Dr. Smale explains.
& # 39; Exercise that takes you out of breath, such as jogging or fast walking with intensity done a couple of times a week for half an hour, helps both bowel function and heartbeat & # 39 ;, says Dr. Smale.
This exercise can swim, skate or go to the gym. Any other form of exercise that increases your heart rate.
& # 39; Exercise is good for IBS for several reasons, because it first of all has effects on bowel motility and function. Plus, the more you practice, the better you sleep, which has a positive effect on the way our brain and body communicate with each other.
& # 39; Exercise also helps to establish those normal patterns and normal function, both in terms of our brain and in terms of our guts & # 39 ;.
Get up from your desk every hour
It seems obvious that it is not really healthy for those of us who sit at a desk all day, and unfortunately it is bad news for our gut health.
Relocation encourages peristalsis, which is a good word for food and waste to move faster through the gut.
We have to exercise to make our gut bacteria thrive, because the movement causes the short-chain fatty acids that keep the gut wall healthy.
Try to get up from your desk and move once an hour. Take a walk through the office or walk up and down the stairs a few times, so people won't think you've gone by walking in circles.
Try to include yoga in your daily routine
You may run a hundred thousand kilometers per hour, and unfortunately most of us have jobs that need nothing less, but try to relax as much as possible, because overloading can be bad news for your feelings.
It appears that IBS can also be aggravated by your mental health. In a 2014 review in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, authors say: & # 39; More and more clinical and experimental evidence has shown that IBS is a combination of irritable bowel and irritable brain & # 39 ;.
Stress is considered a major cause of IBS symptoms, suggesting that what's going on in your mind can have a direct impact on your gut health, which in turn is related to the connection between the brain and the gut.
Try to relieve your stress with yoga or meditation. If you take 20-30 minutes of your day to practice yoga, this will greatly help your stress levels.
This article was originally published on Healthista and reproduced with his permission.
Yoga can calm IBS symptoms because of the connection between mind and gut (supply)