What to Do When You Have Mild IBS

Self-Care When You Have Mild Stomach Symptoms

Even if you are not dealing with a full-blown case of IBS, there may be times when your system acts funny, resulting in stomach problems and bouts of abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Maybe this happens just when you are really stressed out, or maybe your stomach just doesn't feel right for a while after a bad case of the stomach flu. Just because you don't have it as bad as those heart-breaking stories you read about, or maybe as bad as you have had it in the past, doesn't mean that there is nothing you can do. Read on for some simple ways to get your system back to normal.

Use Heat

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Heat can offer you more than just psychological soothing. Applying heat to your belly can relax the area and help to reduce your tummy pain as well as help to reduce muscle spasms and cramping.

Invest in a hot water bottle or heating pad so that you will have this option whenever your belly acts up. Just be sure to protect your skin with a towel or a layer of clothing to prevent a burn.

Avoid the Really Bad Trigger Foods

variety of fried foods
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Until your belly settles down, you may need to treat it with kid gloves. This means eating foods that are easier to digest and avoiding those foods that have a reputation for triggering unwanted digestive symptoms. This means avoiding greasy, fatty, and fried foods and junk foods. You may also want to avoid dairy for a short period of time until your stomach starts to feel better.

Sip Some Tea

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Like the use of heat, sipping a cup of tea can bring you some oh-so-important soothing. In addition, the choice of the right tea may also bring about some relief of your symptoms.

The best tea to use to soothe abdominal symptoms, hands down, is peppermint tea. Peppermint has been clinically shown to act as an antispasmodic, meaning that it eases cramping and thus relieves abdominal pain.

Try a Probiotic Supplement

probiotic supplement pills
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Probiotics are known as "friendly" bacteria, thought to be beneficial for your immune system and your overall health. Taking a probiotic supplement may be a good option for a mild case of IBS as this may ​help your gut re-establish a healthier balance among the various types of bacteria that live in your large intestine. The research on the effectiveness of probiotics is far from definitive, but they do seem to be of help to some people.

Learn How to Physically Calm Your Body

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The body's ability to respond to stress worked wonderfully when we lived in caves and occasionally encountered a hungry tiger. In our current stress-filled world, however, the system doesn't quite work as well.

Because our digestive systems are closely connected to this stress response system, it is quite common to experience unpleasant intestinal symptoms during times in our lives when our stress levels are higher. Luckily, there are ways for you to counteract or turn off the stress response. Relaxation techniques are a simple, do-anywhere, non-drug method for calming your body and quieting your system. Learn how to use visualizationdeep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation.

When to Call Your Doctor

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If your symptoms persist for more than three months, call and make an appointment with your doctor so as to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will work with you to find the source of your symptoms and provide more options for relieving them.

If you have any of the following  red-flag symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

These symptoms must always be checked out as they can point to a condition or illness that needs immediate treatment.

Source:

Ford, A., et.al. "American College of Gastroenterology Monograph on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Idiopathic Constipation" American Journal of Gastroenterology 2014 109:S2-S26.

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