IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can be quite tricky to manage.
To tame this awful monster, you need a killer combination:
low FODmap diet, exercise, stress management, and food supplements.
Few lifestyle changes can help you bring your life back on track. Don’t worry, low FODmap diet is not forever and you don’t have to take supplements for the rest of your life!
It’s just the blip on your health radar.
What is low fodmap diet and how long does it last?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.
High fodmap foods are hard to digest. They start to ferment in the large intestine, which leads to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea and other digestive problems. The trick is to substitute these foods (see graphics below) and give your gut a bit of a ‘rest’.
Low fodmap diet is quite restricted and therefore poorly understood by the majority of people (‘How come you can eat tomatoes and not broccoli!? They’re both healthy!’). As you quickly learn, your body begs to differ! 🙂
Low fodmap elimination phase should last from 4 weeks to 3 months. During that period you eliminate foods that trigger IBS symptoms and you let your gut heal. After that time, you can start to reintroduce high fodmaps. Reintroduction phase is the time to figure out what kind of healthy diet suits you best, and what kind of foods are your ultimate triggers. It’s good to swap trigger foods for something with similar nutritional value, so you won’t miss out on all the important vitamins and minerals. You can visit a dietician to help you do that. During reintroduction phase, you will try foods that don’t agree with you and you will feel frustrated (I can almost guarantee that!). But like I previously said, it’s just a blip, and you will go back to being your best self in no time!
How to start IBS treatment?
To do the whole process correctly, start with probiotics treatment (I recommend Symprove Live & Activated Bacteria – Original – 4 x 500ml by Symprove, affiliate link) and combine it with low fodmap diet.
Try to eliminate foods that are your biggest triggers. To have an overall idea what to look for, use graphics below (you can pin them for later, too).
Next step is exercising and stress management. Read more about it below.
How to stay on track?
Set yourself achievable goals.
You probably won’t run a marathon anytime soon. You probably won’t transfer yourself into a Zen Master in the next two weeks.
You can start with 3-minute (!!!) meditation sessions and 10-minute cardio workouts.
During elimination phase, you will think a lot about food. You will be tempted, especially at work and when you’re out and about.
I recommend cooking and freezing sauces, vegetables (or even whole dinners) ahead of time. You will save yourself a lot of time and stress (especially if you’re very busy during the week). I also recommend bringing homemade snacks to work, or buying low fodmap treats (affiliate links):
Just remind yourself, that you will feel a lot better soon, and it’s all worth it!
Should I take any meds?
To ease spasm and bloating, take antispasmodic medicine (like Buscopan, 20 tablets, Boehringer Ingelheim, affiliate link).
Take diarrhea medicine if needed. You can take these and drink/take probiotics at the same time. To be on the safe side, read the leaflet beforehand.
To make it all easier, you can remember ‘magic’ IBS formula and use its super-tools daily:
4 IBS-fighting super-tools:
3-10 minutes of meditation daily
10 minutes (or more) of exercise
3 low fodmap meals
1 dose of probiotics daily (be sure to read the leaflet first, as some probiotic doses vary)
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Here are ideas for 3 easy to make, low fodmap dinners (click to read the recipe):
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section or via the contact form. Don’t forget to subscribe for more IBS tips and low FODmap recipes!
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Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before taking probiotics, new meds, or making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Disclaimer: This post contains amazon and viglink affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided.
Photos & graphics: Pexels, my own.