Within the last week, I had one of the worst IBS flare-ups. Not only do I feel experience bloating, constipation, nausea, but it also impacts my mental health. You feel unmotivated, uncomfortable, and down. You know what I am talking about right? That brain fog and overall down mood? Yeah, it is the worst! However, when it comes to what causes these triggers it can be multiple things.
Not only can the symptoms be different, but the duration of that flare-up can be different. I know first hand how awful an IBS flare-up can be and honestly wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. With IBS, many women are diagnosed with it when there is actually another issue. A prime example is SIBO. It has the SAME symptoms as IBS. I mean seriously…Therefore, I do recommend speaking to your doctor and get tested for SIBO as that may be where you flare-ups are coming from!
Cause I mean is IBS even real or is a diagnosis doctors throw around?
However, since there are different forms of IBS and actual information out there let’s dive in. With IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there are three different forms. The three different forms are:
- IBS-D: This is IBS associated with diarrhea and common symptoms are stomach pain and cramps, frequent diarrhea, gas, bloating, and urgency.
- IBS-C: This is IBS associated with constipation and common symptoms are infrequent stools, stomach pain and cramping, unable to completely go to the bathroom, bloating, and gas.
- IBS-M: This is IBS with both diarrhea and constipation, in which symptoms are a combination of those above.
However, other symptoms associated is fatigue, lack of motivation, sadness, and specific mental disorders (i.e. depression). When it comes down to it, an IBS flare up can really f*ck up a lot in your life. These tips are great options to try out to see what could be causing your flare-ups! A quick disclaimer, I am not way a medical professional, but I hope these tips help you to live a healthier and regular life. However, always go to the doctor and if your doctor’s response doesn’t seem right to you, do your own research!
A great way to become aware is to write down what you eat and how you feel afterward. This can point you in the direction of what can cause a trigger. Some common triggers can be gluten, dairy, soy, too much dietary fat, and so on. However, it will be different for everyone. Sometimes taking a break from the trigger can elevate symptoms. Also, assess if the foods are cooked or raw. Cooked food is easier on the digestive system than raw. It is a lot of trial and error! Don’t beat yourself up as finding these triggers will make you more aware, which can lead to change!
Do a protocol such as Low FODMAP or Whole30.
This is similar to the tip above except you cut out specific foods for a period of time and reintroduce. This is a great way to know specific food triggers. Low FODMAP is the removal of high FODMAP foods such as garlic, onions, avocados, and others. Whole30 is more of a reset, in which you remove all processed foods (i.e. gluten, dairy, sugar, soy) for 30 days then reintroduce. There are a million sources out there, but I created to guides one for FODMAPs that you can find here and a guide for Whole30 you can find here!
Reduce Stress ASAP.
Stress will only make your symptoms worse and is often a trigger. By putting yourself in a fight-or-flight mode shuts off digestion. Therefore, your digestion cannot function effectively unless it is relaxed. It kind of like when you got to the gym right after you had a meal. You feel the food sitting in your stomach because your body is “nope got to get ready for action.” Essentially the body doesn’t know when causes the stress it just responds in a way for you to survive. Ways to reduce your stress is blocking off “you time” and I mean “you time”. Do whatever YOU want to do that’ll reduce your stress. It can be either listening to podcasts on a walk to dancing your butt off in your room. Just get those cortisol levels down!
It will be lots of trial and error, but once you are aware you can make changes to your lifestyle. The biggest one to focus on is stress and then nutrition. Stress is the worst offender to the body. If you are really geeking on this info you can check out my post here about specific remedies to reduce symptoms!
I do truly hope these help you live a regular and healthy life!