Living with irritable bowel syndrome: Learn how to cope
Have you ever stopped to think how many people out there are living with irritable bowel syndrome? If you are curious to know, millions of people from all corners of the globe are struggling with this disease. Naturally, prevalence rates vary between countries. The vast majority of sufferers are women. The point is that IBS is a common medical condition and that some people are more likely to have it than others.
Those who do not have the disease cannot even imagine what it is like to have irritable bowel syndrome. In the beginning, you think that it is only a virus, the kind that messes with your gut and results in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. When you experience the symptoms over and over again, you understand that something wrong is going on. You realize that it is not the stomach flu, so you head out to a doctor, only to find out that you suffer from irritable bowel disease.
What is it like living with an invisible illness? In addition to the fact that you cannot stop going to the toilet, you have a huge belly all the time. Try as you might to keep everything hidden from your friends and family, it is impossible. Do you have IBS? If you have not had the disease for a very long time, chances are that you have not learned how to manage the symptoms. If this is true, keep on reading to discover what you need to do. Coping with irritable bowel syndrome means more than taking your meds.
Pay attention to what you are eating
Coping with irritable bowel syndrome is a daily struggle. Not only is it painful, but also embarrassing. If you do not want to start skipping social events, it is recommendable to make a change in your diet. Have you not noticed that you feel worse after consuming certain foods? Sure, you have, it is just that you have not been paying attention. Maybe you have been focusing your attention on finding some lesser known remedies. It is completely okay.
Getting back on topic, it is important to say the very least to pay attention to what you are eating. Certain foods can and will lead to uncomfortable symptoms. If you ever happen to feel bad, know that you do not have a dietary allergy and neither do you have an intolerance. These are the most common culprits:
- Insoluble fiber: Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, meaning that it stays intact in the digestive system. It is very helpful for people who have a little bit of constipation, but not the same thing can be said about those dealing with IBS. Vegetables like broccoli or zucchini may be tasty, but they will not help you feel better. On the contrary, it will make you feel bloated, among other things.
- Dairy: Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome do not feel okay after consuming dairy products and this does not really come as a surprise. The dairy products are to blame for the diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Stay away from milk and yoghurt.
- Processed foods: do your best to avoid processed foods. They contain lots and lots of additives and they will exacerbate your physical manifestations. Savory snacks and tinned vegetables also contain preservatives that trigger unpleasant symptoms. If you have the time, cook homemade meals using nothing but fresh ingredients. Knowing which ingredients are fresh is difficult.
Talk openly about your medical condition
People do not even consider the possibility of admitting that they have irritable bowel syndrome. Why? Because they do not want to give the impression that there is something wrong with them. So, they suffer in silence. Does this sound familiar? Keeping your illness a secret will not do you any good. This does not mean that you have to disclose every little detail. No, there are certain things that you need to keep for yourself. As far as the medical condition is concerned, it should not be a secret. Let your friends and family know what is going on with you. They care about you so much and should not be left in the dark.
You will immediately see that talking about your problems with someone that you know helps a lot. You do not have to make excuses every time that you are late. Insist on the fact that you have a chronic illness and that it is impossible for you to control the symptoms. It is tempting to think that people are mean and unsupportive. The truth is that individuals are very amicable and they will jump at the opportunity to help you. If you do not think so, why do you not put your loved ones to the test? You will have the surprise of a lifetime.
Eliminate stress from your life
Many say that life is not stressful and that it is us who make it so disquieting. The truth is that stress is present in your lives and there is nothing that we can do about it, except for ignoring it. If the irritable bowel syndrome is giving you a hard time, avoid becoming stressed. Yes, this is easier said than done, but what choice do you have? You cannot afford to mess around with your wellbeing. So, do not stress over everything. Life is already very hard and there is no point in complicating things. In case you did not know, there is a close connection between stress and irritable bowel syndrome. The more stressed you become, the sicker you become.
By stress, we do not mean physical stressors like infection and surgery. We are talking about environmental conditions and events that you might perceive as being challenging or even threatening. It is essential to develop a plan to fight stressors, when they are present, of course. When you are upset, you experience greater discomfort. This is due to the fact that the brain and the intestines do not communicate as they should. The point is that you need to make an effort to reduce the stress in your life.