Buscopan kindly sent me an IBS truth kit which contained some lovely items. The kit focuses on self-care (a great idea as IBS can seriously affect your mood and self-confidence!) and coping mechanisms as part of their #ibstruths Facebook campaign.
As someone who has lived with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) for a few years now, I wanted to share a few details of my journey and some of my best flare-up remedies.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, I was diagnosed with a severe case of IBS in 2016 following on from my 2012 Coeliac Disease diagnosis. I struggled with getting doctors to confirm I have IBS as at first I was told I must be being careless and including gluten in my and that was causing my symptoms. This was very disconcerting as I knew something else was wrong but felt like no-one was listening to me. So for years I continued to have painful cramps, bloating and irregular bowel movements without really knowing what to do about it.
It wasn’t until I got sent to hospital by my GP while experiencing extremely painful cramps, to the point where I felt like I was going to pass out, that my symptoms were taken seriously. I underwent a few tests for Crohn’s Disease and it was confirmed that I have IBS, which at the time was so bad it was mirroring the symptoms of Crohn’s.
I am finally in a place where I feel like I am in control of my IBS, due to following the low FODMAP diet (recommended to me by the NHS) and discovering what coping mechanisms work best for me. I still have the occasional flare up if I eat foods that I know cause my symptoms, or I feel anxious or stressed (stress is one of the biggest triggers for me).
These are some of my most effective treatments/coping mechanisms:
- Buscopan tablets (for cramps)
- Peppermint oil capsules/peppermint tea (for bloating)
- Making sure I drink enough water
- Regular exercise, even though getting in the gym or going for a walk seems like the last you want to do when you feel like crap. Trust me it works!
- Getting enough sleep (especially during a flare-up)
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol during a flare up as it makes me feel worse