1. Managing stress is key as the body’s stress response switches digestion off and if we are continuously stressed our digestion cannot work optimally. Learning some relaxation exercises may help reduce our stress response – try deep breathing, meditation or simple yoga moves.
2. Food intolerances can also be a factor and identifying the foods that trigger symptoms in us as individuals and removing them from our diet can help to reduce symptoms.
3. Reduce alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods as they can irritate the intestinal lining and cause a reaction in some people.
4. FODMAPs are ‘fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols’, carbohydrates that are increasingly being implicated in IBS. Following a low FODMAPs diet may help to alleviate symptoms, although this is not intended to be a permanent eating plan as it restricts certain food groups.
5. Female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) may be one of the reasons that women experience more IBS than men. These hormones affect how well our digestion works, how much pain we feel and can also impact inflammation throughout the body, so keeping them balanced can help to manage IBS symptoms.
6. Bacterial infections and can sometimes lead to long-term gut issues and cause IBS symptoms.
7. Low digestive enzyme and stomach acid secretion will affect our ability to digest our food and absorb the nutrients they contain, potentially affecting our gut and health in general. Supplementing these may help to improve IBS symptoms.
8. Adding friendly bacteria to your diet through foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and live yoghurt may help to balance your microbiome, but if you feel these foods make your symptoms worse, try a friendly bacteria supplement.