Do you suffer from IBS and want to know what you can do to relieve IBS symptoms? These tips and advice may help to ease your IBS.

If you're one of the estimated 20% of the UK population to be affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you'll know that at best it's an inconvenience and at worst, it's life-changing, stressful and debilitating.

Around twice as many women as men experience IBS and I speak to a lot of women who experience discomfort on a daily basis. While no two people suffer the same IBS symptoms I’ve noticed some common similarities and treatments which can help.

Symptoms of IBS range from bloating, to diarrhoea, constipation, cramps and pain; or an intermittent mix of all of these.

IBS can be seen as a bit of a mystery. There's no single test for it and a GP will most likely diagnose it by ruling out any other potential issues, which can add to the frustration if you're looking for answers and treatment. If you are worried then always consult a GP before undertaking any alternative treatment as it's important to speak to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis of IBS and to rule out anything potentially more serious.

Doctors have begun to take it seriously. In 2012 irritable bowel syndrome led to more than 5,000 UK hospital admissions. And interestingly, the 40 – 44 age group account for the highest number of admissions within any five year age group. I do wonder if it’s to do with our vision of running a home, business, career and juggling all the attendant pressures associated with wanting it all! I certainly know my life, and my stomach, is much more settled now I have a true balance of work and family mapped out.

So where does it all start?

Your gut is a complex place, home to trillions of bacteria and many neurons which are constantly communicating with your brain. We often talk about "gut feelings" which is why experts in the field sometimes call the gut the "second brain." Many IBS sufferers will say that their emotions, particularly stress, can make their symptoms worse. If you feel tense and stressed, it could make your digestive system tense and stressed too and exacerbate IBS symptoms.

Factors such as emotional issues, diet, lifestyle and intestinal flora balance could all be playing their part too.

So what can we do about it?

Try taking a peppermint oil supplement.

Peppermint oil supplements are well document by NHS England as helping to alleviate IBS symptoms and could help calm muscle spasms in the gut. I also take the Arbonne Detox Tea -I love peppermint and green tea but for me the Arbonne Detox tea is a must each day too. The peppermint and liquorice root sooth and calm the stomach while dandelion root helps the kidneys and sweet fennel helps to support the gastrointestinal tract.

Shop detox tea 

Probiotics are essential to health

I believe our digestive tract is the window to our health and wellbeing and adding a pro-biotic can make a huge difference to general health and IBS. Arbonne’s Digestion Plus is a three in one product. It consists of prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes. It comes in a convenient pack format which can be dissolved in water, juice or blended into your morning smoothie or Arbonne protein shake, aiding the nutrient uptake from the foods you eat.

Do you get enough fibre?

It sounds contradictory I know but for some IBS sufferers the addition of fibre can help symptoms. I add fibre to my diet and for some suffers this will be needed but for others it will be too much. Adding fibre really is trial and error in my experience. Although I eat healthily, studies have shown that most people only get half the recommended amount of fibre through their regular diet. The Arbonne Fibre Boost  delivers 12 g of easily digestible fibre through a gluten free blend of fruit and veg. It’s a soluble fibre with no flavour and certainly beats powdered bran in my opinion! It supports your gastrointestinal health, regularity and blood sugar levels when already within the normal range. Again I add it to my daily shake but you can add it to anything you are eating hot or cold so can even add it to a chilli or soup for added fibre.

Look into the low-FODMAP diet

This stands for the unpronounceable "fructo-oligo-di-mono-saccharides," which are basically foods which contain gas producing carbohydrates. All the well-known gassy culprits are there — beans, broccoli and onions — along with wheat and dairy products. It’s worth adding a multi vitamin in to your diet too if you are going to look at a FODMAP diet to ensure you don't miss out on essential nutrients. I take the Abonne Power Packs for Women on a daily basis. They are a complete system with 20 essential vitamins and minerals which every woman needs to support the maintenance of the body’s normal functions. They also contain a botanical enzyme blend and live microorganisms.

Consider getting counselling to help with any stress, emotional issues or past trauma

Things like yoga, mindfulness, meditation and exercise may help ease your IBS. Hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are both supported by NICE (the governing body of the National Health service in the UK) so look into anything that could be affecting your gut from an emotional point of view.

Eat slowly and mindfully

Eating regular meals and being aware of every mouthful so that you slow down and chew slowly and effectively may also help sufferers.

Although there is no one 'cure' for IBS, the tips and products listed above can make a real difference. You may not get the results you want immediately and may have to try different things over a period of a few months to get the best results but don't give up. My experience has shown that for many there is a solution out there.

If you’d like to have a chat about your IBS symptoms and the products I recommend please get in touch.

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