How To Relieve Gastrointestinal Distress
If you have overindulged in too much food or consumed an Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) trigger food (high FODMAP foods included), then your body might be experiencing some gastrointestinal distress. Unfortunately there is no magic cure to make these unpleasant IBS symptoms go away. However, these tips for relieving gastrointestinal distress might help.
Tips for relieving gastrointestinal distress:
- Revert back onto the FODMAP elimination diet. Going back onto a strict elimination diet for a few days can help reduce symptoms and give your body a chance to calm down.
- Apply direct heat to your lower abdomen. Applying direct heat can help relax muscles, relieve bowel spasms and reduce stress (1). Try using a hot water bottle, reusable heat pack, or electric blanket to ease symptoms. A hot bath is another good heat option.
- Peppermint oil capsules. Peppermint oil capsules have been proven to help reduce IBS symptoms through reducing bowel spasms (1 3). Look for enteric-coated peppermint capsules. These can be an effective short-term treatment.
- Use anti diarrhea medication. If you are suffering from diarrhea then antidiarrheal drugs such as Loperamide (Imodium) or Lomotil can be useful. These drugs will help slow the diarrhea by reducing the secretion of fluid by your intestines (1). This is only a short term solution, long term use of antidiarrheal drugs needs to be discussed with your doctor.
- Fibre supplement & laxative. If you are suffering from constipation then you might need a fibre supplement and laxative to help you become regular again (1). Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what is right for you.
- Nonprescription antigas medications. If you are having issues with gas then non-prescription medications containing simethicone or bismuth might be worth investigating (2). Just be aware that these medications can contain sorbitol or other polyols so check the ingredients carefully.
- Gentle exercise. Exercise is generally the last thing you feel like doing when you are experiencing gastrointestinal distress. However, gentle walking and stretching (yoga) can help relieve gas (3). If you are not sure what stretching can help try searching ‘yoga for IBS’ in Youtube.
- Eat ginger. Ginger is low FODMAP and can help reduce nausea (3). You can get ginger in the forms of fresh ginger root, ground ginger or crystallised ginger. Registered dietitian, Stephanie Clairmont recommends making home brewed ginger tea by adding some sliced ginger root with a lemon slice and drizzle of maple syrup to boiling water (3).
- Drink Water. Water plays an important role in helping our digestive system function. If you have diarrhea it is easy for your body to become dehydrated. If you suffer from constipation then water can help soften stools making them easier to pass. Either way it is important to stay hydrated.
- Take a break and let your body rest. Sometimes this can be the best way to let our bodies recover and finish processing problem foods.
IBS related gastrointestinal distress is never pleasant! I hope these tips help to ease your gastrointestinal symptoms and speed up your recovery. For weekly low FODMAP tips and IBS support please follow me on Facebook or sign up to my newsletter.