- ABDOMINAL PAIN
- IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
- DIET & LIFESTYLE
Are you looking to make some changes to your diet or lifestyle but you're not sure where to start?
If you are trying to make changes to your lifestyle so that you avoid the symptoms of IBS or abdominal pain, it’s all about making small steps over time. Any change you make may not be visible overnight, but by gradually changing one thing at a time or combining a few changes at a pace you feel comfortable with you’ll soon begin to notice your body adapting to your new routine.
If you suffer from constipation, try introducing more high-fibre foods into your diet. These foods can help stimulate your bowel movements making it easier for you to go to the toilet.
High-fibre foods include fruit and vegetables, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread, seeds and oats.
If you suffer from diarrhoea, try to include foods into your diet that promote stool firming such as cheese, bananas, rice, toasted bread, carrots, potatoes and yoghurt.
These foods can have a binding effect on the digestive system, helping to firm up stools and making you less prone to bouts of diarrhoea.
If you suffer from excess gas after eating, try to reduce the amount of dairy products you consume; opting for lactose free milk and cheese could help reduce the severity of your symptoms. You can also reduce your consumption of sorbitol and fructose containing drinks.
Don’t skip meals; eating at regular times each day and in regular quantities can improve and regulate your body’s normal bowel function. If you suffer from diarrhoea, eating smaller frequent meals can make you feel better. However, if you suffer from constipation, eating larger meals containing high-fibre foods may improve your bowel habit.
Try to increase the intake of fluids into your daily routine, water being the best inclusion into your diet. Lower the level of caffeine based drinks you consume, these can sometimes stimulate your intestines making the symptoms of diarrhoea worse, and lower your intake of sugary carbonated drinks which can increase the symptoms of wind.
For further information on how diet can impact your symptoms please visit our diet page.
Gentle, regular exercise can improve your overall health dramatically. You don’t have to visit the gym every other day, all you need to focus on is increasing your heart rate. Regular walks at a steady pace, yoga, cycling and of course the gym (if you feel up to it) can all increase your heart rate and promote your body’s regular cardio function. Try exercising at the same time each day to assist your body in adopting a routine, but try to avoid exercising when you feel sleepy or an hour before or after eating. Instead exercise at a regular time when you feel most alert, and stick to a pace that fits with your way of life – don’t overdo it.
Stress is a well-known trigger for abdominal pain and IBS symptoms. In times of stress the nerves which control the smooth muscle of the colon can become out of rhythm, and the resulting muscle contractions cause abdominal pain. People who suffer from abdominal pain or IBS are more sensitive to stress related abdominal pains and so it is important that whenever you can you should look to reduce the levels of stress in your lifestyle. As well as breathing exercises, which increase oxygen levels in the body reducing body-tension, you may wish to try Yoga exercises. Yoga involves combining breathing with stationary and moving exercises.
For more information on stress and how it can impact your lifestyle visit the Stress and lifestyle page.
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