What Are Ibs Flare
IBS is an uncomfortable gastrointestinal condition affecting 25 to 45 million people in the U.S. While the disorder doesnt cause damage to your digestive tract, symptoms can become acute. These acute attacks are often referred to as IBS flare-ups because they come on quickly and can last anywhere from hours to months.
Researchers believe a range of possible IBS causes exists, including muscle dysfunction, overly sensitive nerves, changes in gut microbes, bacteria, viruses, and even stress.
But what causes those acute flare-ups, and are they preventable?
Tips To Avoid Ibs Flare
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short, you know the flare-ups can be unpredictable at times. Other times, you may find certain triggers that can aggravate your condition. The key is to figure out what those triggers are for you and then avoid these. Here are some tips to avoid IBS flare-ups.
A Word From Mindset Health
An IBS flare-up can be frustrating and may cause a range of digestive symptoms. If youâre experiencing a flare, there are several at-home remedies you can try, such as gut-directed hypnotherapy, removing high-FODMAP foods from your diet, heat therapy, avoiding caffeine, exercising, and reducing stress. You may also wish to talk to your healthcare provider about medications to treat IBS symptoms and check that another condition isnât causing your digestive symptoms.
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Top Five Triggers Of An Ibs Attack
When you identify the things that can exacerbate your IBS symptoms, known as triggers, you can put in place measures for avoiding them, which will help to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Below are five common triggers of IBS:
Diet Triggers for IBS-related Constipation
Any foods or beverages that tend to dehydrate an individual are expected to cause constipation if you suffer from IBS and should be avoided if you have IBS-C. These foods include:
- Bread and cereals prepared with refined grains
- High-protein diets
If you suffer from IBS with constipation and are looking for ways to manage the symptoms, these five simple lifestyle changes may help.
Stress and Anxiety
If you suffer from IBS, you may experience anxiety or stress-triggered symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal bloating, constipation, mucus defecation, and persistent sensations of incomplete bowel movements. Worries and stress can originate from various sources, such as:
- Work and family issues
- A feeling that things are beyond your control
- Your commute
Numerous studies reveal that many women with IBS tend to experience serious symptoms during their menstrual periods. While the mechanism is unclear, some gastrointestinal cells are believed to have receptors for hormones like progesterone and estrogen such that variations in the levels of hormones throughout the menstrual period may cause an IBS attack.
Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medicines
Conditions Often Mistaken For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS flare-ups cause digestive and intestinal distress symptoms that mimic other conditions. Since irritable bowel syndrome is relatively common, its easy to assume its the source of your troubles. Before accepting an IBS diagnosis, be sure youve ruled out other possibilities with your doctor.
Here are some of the conditions often mistaken for IBS.
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Can Ibs Attacks Be Prevented
IBS is a set of symptoms rather than a disease. For decades, health care professionals did not know the cause of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. However, research is now shedding light on the many factors that can lead to IBS [48
All of this research gives us much more insight into managing IBS symptoms. If you suffer from frequent IBS attacks, there are steps you can take to prevent IBS flare-ups and improve your quality of life.
The Connection Between Ibs And Panic Disorder
Research has indicated that rates of IBS are high among people diagnosed with anxiety disorders and/or mood disorders.
The frequency of IBS symptoms has been found to be especially high for people diagnosed with anxiety disorders such as panic disorder. Much like panic disorder, IBS poses many distressing symptoms that can be embarrassing and difficult to manage.
Recurrent and often unexpected panic attacks are the main symptom of panic disorder. Similar to IBS, panic attacks are characterized by many uncomfortable physical sensations. Some of the most common symptoms of panic attacks include sweating, trembling, chest pain, accelerated heart rate, and shortness of breath.
Both conditions also share many of the same symptoms, such as anticipatory anxiety and avoidance behaviors. The symptoms of both IBS and panic disorder can be upsetting, embarrassing, and difficult to manage.
Shortness of breath
Symptoms of IBS
It is currently unclear why a significant percentage of panic disorder sufferers also struggle with the symptoms of IBS. It has been hypothesized that both conditions are triggered by the fight or flight stress response. The fight or flight response is prompted by the sympathetic nervous system, causing changes in the body to prepare to fight off or flee from a perceived threat. Common physical reactions include sweating, rapid heart rate, and a slowing down of the digestive system.
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Keep A Food Diary To Identify Food Triggers
For both migraine and IBS, foods and beverages can trigger symptoms.
For IBS, dietary advice includes avoiding dairy products, fatty foods, caffeine, and gas-producing foods such as beans and cruciferous vegetables, DeVito says.
Trigger foods can have a domino effect, warns Spears. Often, if someone has IBS and consumes foods that trigger an attack for example, spicy food it will often lead to a migraine attack as well, says Spears.
Keeping detailed records of what you eat and how you feel afterward will help you pinpoint food triggers of your migraine and IBS symptoms.
Hours In An Ibs Flare
Toay, Im going to walk you through the life cycle of diarrhoea-forward IBS flare-up
Goes without saying, but everybody is unique and this is a general overview. Exactly what goes on in your gut is snowflake-style special. Plus, if your symptoms persist, head to your GP to get checked out. The below is for illustrative purposes only and does not sub out for in-person medical advice.
Lets start at the beginning. There are two main triggers for IBS: certain foods, or stress. So now, one of two things might be happening.
1. Youve eaten, say, a butter bean stew, with lots of garlic and onion. Your food is making its way into the six metre long tube that is your small intestine.
2. Youve barely slept, had to deliver a Zoom client presentation that went down badly and your fight or flight response has been triggered multiple times.
3. Work is crackers, youre fighting with your partner and you throw a breakfast of beans-on-toast into the mix.
Next, a few things might be at play:
1.Your food is in your small intestine, which is where nutrients are absorbed from your gut into your blood to feed your cells and keep you functioning hunky dory. But wait! The trigger food is not well-absorbed and heads into your large intestine. Here, it draws extra fluid into your gut.
The upshot? All of this liquid can overwhelm your bodys ability to absorb even more, meaning you need to vacate your bowels, urgently.
Cramps, bloating, frequent dashes to the loo its all kicking off.
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What Causes Irritable Bowel Attacks
The most frustrating thing is that even when you are doing everything right you may still get an attack of IBS. Commonly its due to eating something that didnt agree with you, or something that happened to upset you.
You may often link your IBS symptoms to something you ate, but it could also be related to how you were feeling. We know that our mental state has a large part to play in digestive symptoms.
- Stress When were stressed we will have less energy for digestion, which means foods arent broken down as well by the process of digestion, so they cause bloating and sensitivity. This could be coupled with pain, and either diarrhoea or constipation.
- Lack of sleep when were tired we feel more pain so you may be more sensitive to symptoms. We also tend to eat more sugary, carb heavy foods when tired which can affect gut health. Related post Sleep and Gut Health
- Diet Eating something that doesnt agree with you this will be different for everyone, but could be too much fibre, coffee, alcohol, sweeteners, dairy, high protein diet, processed foods.
- Menstrual cycle women may find symptoms worse just before or around their period.
Foods To Consume During An Ibs Attack
The good news is that many foods and drinks are known to be well tolerated in IBS. Some of the examples are water, ginger ale, Gatorade, Sprite, soy milk, rice milk, plain pasta, plain white rice, and baked or boiled potatoes .
Some other examples include white bread, plain fish, plain chicken, plain turkey, plain ham, soft boiled or poached eggs, plain cornflakes, Rice Krispies, lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar dressing, cooked carrots , peanut butter, jellies, and jams.
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Breathe Deeply And Relax
Your body’s natural stress response can have a dramatic effect on your IBS, triggering the release of stress hormones that can increase IBS symptoms. There are several ways you can deal with this:
- Breathing deeply not only helps calm the nerves, it sends powerful messages to the brain, telling it that everything is okay and that there is no need for an emergency response.
- Pranayama breathing, a yoga practice in which you control the flow and pace of your breathing, is especially useful. It is often incorporated into certain meditation practices.
- Guided imagery is another relaxation technique in which you create mental images to stimulate calm feelings and, by doing so, gently shift your thoughts from the areas of physical discomfort.
Stress And Anxiety Triggers For Ibs
- A sense that things are out of your control
How to Manage Stress:
- Choose healthy habits. Eat a well-balanced diet that works for your IBS. Get regular exercise and enough sleep.
- Do something fun as often as you can. Listen to music, read, shop, or take a walk.
- Learn better ways to calm down with behavioral therapy. There are a few types: relaxation therapy, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.
- If you feel comfortable, talk to family members, close friends, your boss, or co-workers about your IBS. When they know whatâs going on, they can support you and better understand how it affects you.
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Where To Turn For Help
A nutritionist or naturopathic doctor may be able to help resolve or reduce IBS symptoms, and can discuss the potential benefits of nutrition and supplementation. These health care providers may also help you identify possible dietary triggers to be aware of. In addition, there are some other steps you can take to positively impact how your brain and gut communicate, including cognitive behavioral therapy for irritable bowel syndrome, and learning how to manage symptoms on your own.
Work With Your Doctor
There is no need to suffer in silence. By working with a doctor, you can better pinpoint the peculiarities of your IBS and find strategiescombining lifestyles, stress relief, and medicationsthat may offer better and more sustainable control of your IBS symptoms.
There is an ever-widening range of medications able to treat both diarrhea-predominant IBS and constipation-predominant IBS. These include antispasmodics to alleviate cramping, bile acid binders to reduce diarrhea, and osmotic laxatives to relieve constipation.
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Treatment Options For An Ibs Attack
There are a number of treatment options for an IBS attack. Some people will find that their symptoms can be treated with dietary changes, while others may require medication. The type of prescribed medication is tailored to the individual and their particular needs. There are over-the-counter medications as well as prescription drugs available to help ease your symptoms during and after an IBS attack.
Stomach pain relief medication, such as:
- Pepto Bismol
- Gaviscon Extra Strength Liquid
- Metoclopramide Hydrochloride
What Can You Do To Avoid An Attack
Knowing how to avoid an IBS attack can make it easier to deal with the condition. Here are some suggestions for reducing the frequency of attacks:
- Increase physical exercise to relieve constipation and control intestinal contractions. Three times a week, for at least 30 minutes, you should exercise
- To help regulate bowel function, eat at the same time every day.
- Keep a food diary to track your trigger foods.
- To relieve constipation, gradually increase your fiber intake. Diarrhea can be caused by consuming too much fiber.
- You might also want to look into probiotics. IBS symptoms may be relieved by increasing the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or eaten in the form of probiotic yogurt.
- To relieve intestinal spasms, drink peppermint tea or take peppermint supplements.
- Understand how to deal with stress. To reduce stress and anxiety, try yoga, meditation, or mindfulness, or discover joyful activities.
- Experience acupuncture. This supplementary therapy may help to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.
- Seek the advice of a hypnotherapist to learn how to relax your abdominal muscles. This may help to alleviate the symptoms of an IBS attack.
- Through cognitive behavioral therapy, investigate your thought processes. This method teaches you how to change your negative thought patterns to good ones. This approach has been shown in clinical trials to produce significant and long-lasting relief for IBS symptoms.
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What To Do During An Attack
The key is to initiate these protocols RIGHT when the pain begins. Dont underplay the situation, dont let yourself go into denial, Oh, its just gas, not and attack forming. If the pain starts, initiate the protocol, no matter what. The focus of this protocol is to keep you cool. Remember, it all starts with the gas pressure and raise in core body temperature. Control your temperature and you control the gas, and you control the rest of the attack and avoid MANY of the symptoms. In many cases, you may avoid severe pain altogether.
Tips To Help With The Pain And Discomfort During An Ibs Flare
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Stay at a healthy weight and eat more soluble fiber like oats, vegetables, or apple sauce.
- Soluble fiber binds with water in the gut to form a gel-like substance that can help relieve constipation and soothe stomach discomfort.
- Avoid high-fat foods which may worsen diarrhea symptoms.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals to help ease discomfort.
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar or fat for a while and see if your symptoms improve.
- Ask your doctor about other medications you can take to relieve IBS pain and discomfort caused by constipation or diarrhea.
IBS symptoms are common and can be managed with diet, exercise, stress management therapies, and medication. People who have IBS should talk to their doctor about the best way they can live a healthy lifestyle without giving up foods that make them feel better or worse.
IBS is a common condition that, with the help of doctors and other medical professionals, can be managed. People who have IBS should talk to their doctor about the best way they can live a healthy lifestyle without giving up foods that make them feel better or worse.
If you suffer from IBS-related symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, or constipation please contact your physician.
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How To Prevent An Attack
Understanding how to prevent an IBS attack can help you cope with this condition. Here are a few tips to reduce the frequency of an attack:
- Increase physical activity to regulate intestinal contractions and ease constipation. Exercise for at least 30 minutes three days a week.
- Eat at the same time every day to help regulate bowel function.
- Keep a food journal to identify trigger foods.
- Slowly increase your fiber intake to ease constipation. Too much fiber can cause diarrhea.
- Try probiotics. Increasing the good bacteria in your digestive tract may relieve symptoms of IBS. Take probiotics as a supplement or eat yogurt containing probiotics.
- Drink peppermint tea or take peppermint supplements to ease intestinal spasms.
- Learn how to manage stress. Practice yoga, meditation, or mindfulness, or find enjoyable activities to minimize stress and anxiety.
- Experiment with acupuncture. This alternative therapy might relieve IBS symptoms.
- Consult a hypnotherapist and learn ways to relax your abdominal muscles. This may reduce symptoms of an IBS attack.
- Change your pattern of thinking with cognitive behavioral therapy. This technique teaches you how to replace negative thought patterns with positive ones.
How Long Does An Ibs Flare Up Last
IBS flare up duration is different for everyone. Most people’s IBS symptoms will flare-up for 2-4 days, after which your symptoms may lower in severity or disappear completely. Many people experience IBS in waves, in which symptoms may come and go over several days or weeks.IBS attacks can be managed to reduce symptoms or shorten duration using several management techniques .
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