How to manage IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome ?
Are you suffering from IBS? What is IBS?
IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS denotes Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is a common chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). People with IBS experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or alternating bouts of both diarrhea and constipation. The symptoms can vary in severity and frequency, and they can be triggered by stress, certain foods, or hormonal changes. This is the general definition of IBS. But here I am going to talk about my experience regarding its diagnosis, symptoms, and ways to manage it in detail. This article is from the lens of an IBS sufferer. To put it in simple terms it’s not a disease but a functional disorder that affects our intestines.
In spite of it not being a disease, it has the full capacity to turn your daily life upside down and it can be very frustrating too.
How IBS got diagnosed ?
It has been almost 9 months since I got to know about this. It was the last year 2022 June when it was diagnosed by the Doctor as IBS. Mine is IBS Diarrhea and constipation mixed though it’s more inclined toward diarrhea. I want to share how it all started. It was in December end 2021 when I got an upset stomach after having chicken biryani the previous night. I thought it is a slight indigestion problem and will be over in a day and it happened also the same way. Then this process continued almost every month.
I would get indigestion and be all right after having antibiotics for a few days. Then in February, I got infected with the Omicron variant of Covid. Before that in 2021, I had also gotten infected with Delta and that too had started with severe indigestion. Once again I got an upset stomach in May 2022 and that did not get me well even after taking the Antibiotic and probiotic for the complete course so I had to show Gastro Specialist. The gastrointestinal Doctor conducted a few tests and then I came to know it was IBS Diarrhea with a mix of constipation. Before this, I had never read about this in detail though I had heard it. My intention for sharing it is that if someone is facing a constant indigestion problem without a proper reason one shouldn’t take it lightly but show it to the specialized doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of IBS
The early symptoms I faced but could not recognize were frequent upset stomach, bloating, pain in the lower right and left abdomen, sometimes pain in the abdomen’s central part, frequent visits to the washroom, Lots of acidities and gas formation, itching, and pain in the anal region and most interestingly sudden outburst of pimples on the facial skin. In addition to this, I faced an increase in hair fall. A few kilos of weight loss also occurred and a feeling of being tired always remained.
Causes of IBS
The exact cause of IBS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of factors, including abnormal muscle contractions in the intestine, hypersensitivity to certain foods, stress, and abnormal gut bacteria. Though there are no definite causes of IBS known but one of the main causes is Stress. And in today’s world stress has become an integral part of our life which one can’t deny. But I feel that the IBS condition in me has also some link with Covid which I contracted in 2021. It may not be the main reason but can be a facilitator because before that I had no serious problem with digestion. And during that time I was really stressed a lot. Life has not been the same since the time it has got diagnosed.
How to accept IBS in life?
One of the most challenging parts for me was to answer relatives, especially those who don’t have any idea about this. They would keep asking surprisingly what had happened to me. Many times they would think that it’s a serious stomach ailment and the doctor is not able to cure it. This would make me more frustrated. They would find it difficult to believe that it has no definite treatment or medication.
I began to surf a lot of articles on Google and YouTube regarding its treatment and medicines but could not find any concrete results. I even consulted a Homeopathic doctor without much benefit. I had taken medicine for a couple of months but then left. I also consulted two Gastrointestinal Doctors to rule out any other factors responsible for my condition. The difficult part of this entire realization was that I needed to make a complete change in my dietary habits and lifestyle.
The next vital plan of action was how to manage it. Here are a few tips which have helped me to manage it. Though it aids in tackling and controlling the symptoms to a great extent but does not eliminate them. For me, some days are bad some are moderate and manageable but never perfectly all right like before.
Foods to Avoid in IBS
The lists of major food which aggravates the symptoms and causes discomfort are
- Fried food
- Spicy Food
- All gluten-containing food like wheat, all-purpose flour (maida) Bread, etc.
- Sour Food like food which contains tamarind e.g. sambhar (south Indian Pulse curry)
- Coconut chutney
- Non-Veg except egg white
- Milk and milk products like khoya paneer cheese
- Khoya Sweets
- All Packaged processed snacks like chips etc.
- Outside cooked food especially those which are spicy oily and gluten-containing.
- Raw onion salad especially at night
- Green Capsicum
- No Alcohol or Soda drinks Cold Drinks
Food I include to manage IBS
I often try my best to include the following items in my food list
- Fruits like bananas, pomegranates, muskmelon, apples, and grapes
- All green and leafy vegetables
- Gluten-free grains specifically Ragi or Finger Millet (Read the related article on the top five gluten-free to include in IBS)
- 1 bowl of curd everyday
- Yellow split moong dal (Pulse)
- Gooseberry Juice (Amla Juice)
- Coconut water
Tips for controlling IBS
- I often drink a warm water concoction made by boiling three ingredients (Saunf ) Fennel Seeds, carom seeds (Ajwain), and mint leaves.
Take 1 tablespoon of Saunf
Take 1 tablespoon of Carom Seeds ( Ajwain)
Take 10 leaves of fresh Mint leaves (Pudina)
Take 1 glass of water
Boil everything together at low flame and reduce it to half
Drink it either after lunch or on an empty stomach.
- Walk at least for 40 minutes every day
- Don’t overeat at any particular time. Always eat in smaller quantities but at regular intervals. Avoid eating acidic nature food.
- Do meditation to ward away any stress regularly.
- Do yoga every day specifically those poses which are for IBS. You can refer to this website for Yoga Poses for IBS.
- If you have to eat outside or have an outstation tour try to eat rice with curd or fruit juices and whole fruits sweet Lassi or buttermilk, Idli, or Plain Dosa. Strictly avoid spicy oily and fried food.
- I take 15 ml of Hamdard Belgiri Juice every day after Breakfast and lunch and Dinner. It has helped me. You can buy it from Ayurveda medical stores or online from 1MG. You can buy it from given below purchase link.
- Proper rest and sleep
- Enzyme supplement- I sometimes take uni enzyme pro tablets once a day when i have too much of discomfort and symptoms. It had been prescribed to me by Gastro Doctor for a fortnight when my condition was bad.
The journey of IBS so far
The need for patience in tackling and managing this syndrome is of utmost importance. My journey so far has been more of learning the ways to reduce this menace. Many a time I get so annoyed and irritated because of upset stomach pain discomfort and restrictions in eating different varieties of food especially when there is a festival, celebration or one is on a trip or picnic. There comes the role of patience and acknowledgment that you have to give up all those food habits or lifestyles which facilitate its symptoms. I usually have a couple of bites of food (I love Samosas) which I like but cannot eat now to calm those pangs of dissatisfaction and resentment. The condition is much more stable than where it had begun.
But still several times I get a stomach ache if I sit and do long hours of work as acidity forms quickly when you don’t move or eat those prohibited foods out of sheer temptation. A few times I could not understand the exact reason behind the aggravated symptoms. The worst part is that once the conditions associated with it increase, it takes a few days to subside. This makes life topsy-turvy as you just want to do nothing. Nevertheless, you need to deal with it and include the above-mentioned dos and don’ts to fight with and defeat it and get back to normalcy.
Post your queries in case of any confusion or guidance.