How to relieve IBS cramps?
17 ways to relieve IBS cramps:
IBS-related lower abdomen and tummy cramps are not fun! The worst thing? They can last a long time! Resulting in, not only abdominal pain, but headaches, lack of concentration, frequent urination and overall low mood.
You’ve probably tried a lot of stuff already. I encourage you to try out few of the following tips at once. Doing just one, may not be enough, but combination of few can make a real difference!
- Antispasmodic medicine (tablets like Buscopan can successfully help you relieve cramps and spasm; especially if you’re on the go or at work).
- Peppermint oil capsules – very gentle, over the counter remedy; and they can help you ease symptoms of heartburn too.
- Yoga. Practicing yoga on the regular basis can help you manage your abdominal pain, as well as stress. Try gas relieving/releasing poses.
- Warm bath – it loosens up muscles and helps you relax. Try essential oils (I especially recommend lavender oil). You can also you use gentle smelling candles (honey, lavender) and try relaxing music while taking a bath.
- Hot water bottle – try one before you go to sleep, while watching tv and after dinner.
- Herbal teas: Best teas to drink for IBS.
- Laxatives – These are your last resort, if you can’t get rid of the cramps and pain using other methods.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothes. Love your tummy! Don’t squeeze it too much! Skip the belts and tight jeans if you can. Wear everything that’s loose and comfortable (especially, if you’re spending a lot of time in sitting position). Let yourself breathe normally. You shouldn’t feel any clothes-related tensions around your stomach and abdomen area while sitting.
- Try mindful walking. Mindful walking and breathing deeply can really put your mind at ease and help you relax.
- Low impact aerobic and stretching. It’s easy and it’s fun! It will relax your muscles & get your endorphins going. Try stretching exercises focused on the lower part of the body. And don’t be afraid of squats! 🙂
- Meditation. You can start at 3 minutes a day and go from there.
- Drink one cup of kefir (fermented milk drink) on an empty stomach every day. You will probably start seeing results after a week or two.
- Try slow cooking. Slow cooked meals are gentler on your stomach. They are moist, soft and easy to digest!
- Eat more soluble fiber, but always mix it with insoluble fiber foods. Mix and match during the day to get most benefits and help regular bowel movements. Eating soluble fiber can speed up your bowel movements, soothe constipation and cramps, but eating too much soluble fiber (or eating it on the empty stomach) can result in diarrhea. So please, be cautious, especially when trying new foods. Soluble fiber foods include oats, blueberries, bananas and flax seeds (these are the most IBS friendly foods from soluble fiber list). Mix them with insoluble fiber foods (that add bulk to the stool): gluten-free whole grain bread, brown rice, and raw Florida or California Avocado.
AT WORK try:
- Regular light meals. Be good to yourself! Regular meals are the key. Energy bars, light salads will do, but please make room for at least one hot meal a day (even a small cup of soup). You can prepare few snacks at home, freeze some soup on the weekends, so you can easily put in the microwave at work.
- Regular short breaks at work. Even 5-minute break, getting fresh air, cuppa break, small talk with a colleague or moving your attention to something else for a moment, may help you relieve some stress. Be sure to take pee breaks. Don’t add to the abdominal tension, pee regularly! 🙂
- Regular warm drinks will help you to ease tummy tension.
You don’t have to try everything at once. You can choose just a few new things to try a week. Start with easy ones (like a warm bath, hot bottle, and herbal teas) and then, gradually add harder ones to your list (the ones that are not so easily manageable on a daily basis). Sport and work-related tasks are for sure harder to squeeze in into the busy schedule.
Please note: if workplace gives you the most anxiety and aggravates your symptoms, don’t hesitate to start your changes there. This may be very beneficial to your health and general well-being! You may be forced to do some stuff you don’t necessarily like (like asking boss for additional break or doing less than usual in a day), but after a while, you may notice that your body is being grateful for the attention you started to give to it.
If you’re worried about boss or colleagues reaction, tactfully describe your current health situation and ensure your boss that few additional minutes here and there will improve your overall performance. If your performance suffers due to stress and IBS, relieving symptoms may only help, so it’s worth a try!
Please remember: short breaks and hot meals go a long way during stressful working days!
Learn more about IBS:
More IBS friendly recipes:
IBS general info: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
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