IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine. People with IBS may experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. There is no cure for IBS, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. An IBS flare up is a period of time when the symptoms of IBS are particularly severe. During a flare, people may experience more abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Flares can last for days or weeks, and they can be unpredictable.
Table of Contents
- What causes IBS?
- What symptoms does IBS cause?
- What causes IBS flare ups?
- What does an IBS flare feel like?
- How long do IBS flares last?
- Can I prevent IBS flare ups?
- What should I do if I have an IBS flare?
- How long does a typical flare last?
- What you should eat if you have IBS flares
- Using the CareClinic App to manage IBS Flareups
- Tips on reducing stress
- Tips on starting an elimination diet
- In Summary
What causes IBS?
The cause of IBS is not fully understood, but it is thought to be a combination of factors. One of them is abnormalities in the digestive system: There may be problems with the muscles in the intestine, or with the nerves that control them. Problems include:
- Slow transit time: This means that food moves more slowly through the intestine. This can cause constipation.
- Gut dysbiosis: This is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. It has been linked to IBS, although the exact relationship is not clear.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): This is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. It can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
- Food intolerances: Some people with IBS may be intolerant to certain foods, such as lactose or gluten.
- Stress: Stress can worsen the symptoms of IBS.
- Genetics: IBS may be more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
Other common reasons include may be psychological factors and diet.
What symptoms does IBS cause?
- Abdominal pain: This is the most common symptom of IBS. The pain may be cramp-like, and it may be relieved by passing stool or gas.
- Bloating: This is a feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdomen.
- Gas: People with IBS may have more gas than usual.
- Diarrhea: This is a loose, watery stool. It may be mild or severe.
- Constipation: This is a hard, dry stool that is difficult to pass.
Other symptoms may include nausea, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. To keep track of your daily bowel movements, consider reading this article on how to effectively use a poop tracker app.
What causes IBS flare ups?
Family history: If you have a family history of IBS, you may be more likely to develop the condition.
Stress: Stress can be a major trigger for IBS flares. Try to find ways to manage your stress levels, such as yoga, meditation, or exercise.
Diet: Certain foods can trigger IBS flares. Common triggers include dairy products, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, and fatty foods. Keeping a food diary can help you to identify your own personal triggers.
Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormones can trigger IBS flares. This is often the case for women who experience flares around the time of their menstrual period.
Medications: Some medications can trigger IBS flares, such as antibiotics, painkillers, and antidepressants. If you think your medication is causing flares, talk to your doctor. Although it is commonly accepted that antibiotics can sometimes make irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms worse because they disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, if you are currently taking them and notice your IBS worsening, be sure to tell your doctor so they can reevaluate your treatment.
What does an IBS flare feel like?
Everyone experiences IBS differently, so the symptoms of a flare can vary from person to person. However, common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. These symptoms can range from mild to severe.
How long do IBS flares last?
There is no set duration for how long an IBS flare could last for you. Some people may only experience a flare for a few days, while others may have flares that last for weeks or even months. You may need to track your past flareups to determine the average length of a flare. You can download the CareClinic app to determine the average length of each flare-up using the reports and logs feature in the App.
Can I prevent IBS flare ups?
There is no sure way to prevent an IBS flare up, but there are some lifestyle changes that may help to reduce the frequency and severity of flares. These include:
- Managing stress: Stress can be a major trigger for IBS flares. Try to find ways to manage your stress levels, such as yoga, meditation, or exercise.
- Identifying triggers: Keeping a food diary can help you to identify your own personal triggers. Once you know what triggers a flare, you can try to avoid those triggers.
- Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat can help to reduce the symptoms of IBS.
- Exercising regularly: Exercise can help to relieve stress and improve gut motility.
- Getting enough sleep: Sleep plays an important role in gut health. aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
What should I do if I have an IBS flare?
If you have an IBS flare, there are a few treatment options available to relieve your symptoms:
Drink plenty of fluids: This will help to prevent dehydration and make it easier to pass poop. Learn more about tracking your water intake and remaining hydrated.
Take over-the-counter medications: Medications such as loperamide can help to relieve diarrhea.
Fiber supplements: such as psyllium husk, can help to relieve constipation.
Avoid trigger foods: If you know what foods trigger your flares, try to avoid those foods.
Get plenty of rest: fatigue can make IBS symptoms worse. aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Exercise regularly: Exercise can help to improve gut motility and reduce stress levels.
Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve your IBS symptoms. Common medications include antidepressants such as amitriptyline and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as well as antispasmodics such as dicyclomine.
How long does a typical flare last?
There is no set timeframe for how long an IBS flare will last. Some people may only experience a flare for a few days, while others may have flares that last for weeks or even months.
What you should eat if you have IBS flares
Processed foods are often high in trigger foods, so try to avoid these. Consider adding the following to your diet plan.
Brown rice: Brown rice is a good source of fiber.
Vegetables: Vegetables are a good source of fiber and nutrients.
Fruit: Fruit is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Lean protein: Lean protein, such as chicken or fish, is a good option for people with IBS.
Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that can help to improve gut health.
Yogurt: Yogurt is a good source of probiotics.
Using the CareClinic App to manage IBS Flareups
CareClinic also has a built-in symptom tracker that can help you to track your symptoms over time. This can be helpful in monitoring the severity of your flares and determining which treatments are effective.
In addition to the symptom tracker you can also use CareClinic to:
- Tracking your bowel movements
- Set reminders for taking medication
- Track your diet and exercise
- Manage stress levels
- Monitor your sleep patterns
- Keep a journal
If you are struggling to manage your IBS, CareClinic can help. Our team of experts can provide you with guidance and support to help you find the best way to manage your condition. Contact us today to learn more.
Questions that come up often regarding IBS.
What is the best way of managing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?
There is not currently a cure for IBD, but there are treatments available that can help to manage the symptoms and prevent flares.
Does drinking carbonated beverages affect IBS?
There is no clear evidence that carbonated beverages affect IBS. However, some people find that their symptoms are worsened by these drinks. If you think that carbonated beverages are triggering your symptoms, you may want to avoid them.
Is it possible to have IBS and celiac disease?
Yes, it is possible to have IBS and celiac disease. Both conditions are thought to be caused by an abnormal immune response to food. If you have symptoms of both conditions, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
What is the difference between IBS and IBD?
IBS is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. IBD is a group of chronic inflammatory diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract. IBS does not cause inflammation, while IBD can cause inflammation in the digestive tract. IBD includes conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
What are some natural remedies for IBS?
There are many natural remedies that are thought to be helpful in treating IBS. These remedies include probiotics, fiber supplements, peppermint oil, and chamomile tea. It is important to speak with a doctor before taking any natural remedy, as some may interact with medications.
Peppermint oil is thought to be helpful in treating IBS. The oil can help to relax the muscles of the digestive tract and reduce inflammation. Peppermint oil is available in capsules or as a liquid extract.
What is an IBS attack?
An IBS attack is a sudden worsening of symptoms. Attacks can be triggered by stress, certain foods, or hormone changes. During an attack, people may experience abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. IBS attacks can last for a few days to a few weeks.
Can spicy food cause IBS?
There is no clear evidence that spicy food causes IBS. However, some people find that their symptoms are worsened by spicy food. If you think that spicy food is triggering your symptoms, you may want to avoid it.
What about acidic foods?
There is no clear evidence that acidic foods cause IBS. However, some people find that their symptoms are worsened by acidic foods. If you think that acidic food is triggering your symptoms, you may want to avoid it.
Can IBS cause muscle pain?
Yes, IBS can cause muscle pain. The pain is often felt in the lower back and legs. The pain may be worse after eating or during a flare-up. If you are experiencing muscle pain, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis and track the severity of your pain.
Is it normal to experience weight loss with IBS?
Weight loss is not a common symptom of IBS. However, some people with IBS may lose weight due to poor appetite or diarrhea. To track your weight you can use a digital solution like the CareClinic app or use a printable weight loss tracker sheet which can be found here.
What are the good gut bacterias and which are bad?
Good gut bacteria help to break down food, produce vitamins, and protect the intestine from harmful bacteria. Bad gut bacteria can cause infections, diarrhea, and constipation. Examples of good gut bacteria include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Examples of bad gut bacteria include Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli.
Can IBS cause urinary problems?
People with IBS may experience urinary frequency or urgency due to pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction is a condition that affects the muscles of the pelvic floor. The Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and help to control urinary function. If you are experiencing urinary problems, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
What is the difference between IBS and GERD?
IBS is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. GERD is a condition that affects the esophagus and is caused by stomach acid flowing back up into the esophagus. IBS does not cause damage to the esophagus, while GERD can.
What is the difference between IBS and diverticulitis?
IBS is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Diverticulitis is a condition that affects the large intestine and is caused by small pouches bulging out from the colon wall. IBS does not cause pouches to bulge out from the colon wall, while diverticulitis can.
What is the difference between IBS and celiac disease?
IBS is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine and is caused by an intolerance to gluten. IBS does not cause intolerance to gluten, while the celiac disease can.
Do you manage IBS-C and IBS-D in the same way?
IBS-C and IBS are two different types of irritable bowel syndrome, so they require different approaches to management. IBS-C is characterized by constipation, while IBS is characterized by diarrhea. While there are some similarities in the way that these conditions are managed, there are also some important differences.
Diet is often a key part of managing both IBS-C and IBS. For IBS-C, a diet that is high in fiber can help to alleviate constipation. For IBS, a low-fat diet may help to reduce diarrhea. Other dietary changes that may be helpful for managing IBS-C or IBS include avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and avoiding caffeine.
Tips on reducing stress
Here are the top 3 ways you can reduce stress according to psychologists:
1. Get organized: Make a to-do list and set aside time each day to accomplish tasks. This will help you feel in control and reduce stress levels.
2. Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to reducing stress.
3. Relaxation techniques: Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation. These activities can help you to focus on the present moment and let go of stressors.
Tips on starting an elimination diet
If you suspect that a food is triggering your IBS symptoms, you may want to try an elimination diet. An elimination diet involves removing suspected trigger foods from your diet for a period of time and then gradually reintroducing them one at a time. This will help you to identify which foods are triggering your symptoms.
When starting an elimination diet, it is important to:
- Remove all suspected trigger foods from your diet for a period of time.
- Gradually reintroduce suspected trigger foods one at a time, while monitoring your symptoms.
- Keep a food diary to track which foods trigger your symptoms.
- Work with a registered dietitian to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need.
IBS is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Some people with IBS may lose weight due to poor appetite or diarrhea. Good gut bacteria help to break down food, produce vitamins, and protect the intestine from harmful bacteria. Bad gut bacteria can cause infections, diarrhea, and constipation. People with IBS may experience urinary frequency or urgency due to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Psychologists say that the top 3 ways you can reduce stress are by getting organized, exercising, and doing relaxation techniques. If you suspect that a food is triggering your IBS symptoms, you may want to try an elimination diet. The CareClinic app was designed for those with IBS, to track, manage and understand triggers and more information about their symptoms. To get started managing your condition download the App for iOS or Android today by clicking here.