Your stomach is a very sensitive place that you are trying to deal with on a regular basis. For some people, it can be especially hard to allow things to “sit well,” no matter what it is that you’re trying to eat.
In some cases, you may be fending off a disorder that is usually referred to as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. What is IBS, and what are the most common symptoms that you see during a flare up? Let’s take a look.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, usually just referred to as IBS, is a disorder that is actually made up of a number of things.
In short, if your doctor cannot figure out other issues that you may have as a part of your symptoms, or the symptoms just don’t seem to match with any sort of diagnosis, then they may tell you that you have IBS.
The issue is, there are a lot of different stomach issues that you may have, or you may not have some symptoms that are the “earmark” of various diseases, and in those cases, you may not be able to figure out exactly what it is that you have. You can also check the Best Probiotics For IBS.
IBS gives you a nice umbrella to be under and it makes it better for your doctor to try and move forward with whatever treatment that you’re going to need.
Obviously, IBS can be paired with other issues as well. It’s common to have IBS with GERD, acid reflux, Crohn’s, and a number of other diseases that affect your digestive system.
Your doctor will make that determination for you and help you to figure out the best way to move forward so you can eat and enjoy life in a comfortable way.
What Are The Most Common IBS Flare Up Symptoms?
In some cases, you may end up having an IBS flare up. What is an IBS flare up? In short, it’s a moment when your body just starts to get annoyed or “flared up” because of something that you ate or did.
The IBS is then triggered and it becomes difficult for you to go ahead and try to fend off whatever it is that you’re feeling. What are the most common things that can happen during one of these flare ups?
Pain or spasms in the abdominal area, specifically around the stomach or the intestines. The lower it is in your abdomen, the more you want to pay attention to it and possibly get an evaluation so that you can see what is going on.
If your bowels are not acting as they normally would (you aren’t having bowel movements in a normal pattern), it could be a sign of IBS.
Keep an eye on when you’re having bowel movements and how often in order to get a better idea as to whether or not this may be a problem that you’re dealing with.
Constipation and/or diarrhea as a result of eating or drinking something that would be referred to as a trigger for the issue.
Passing gas (flatulence or belching), especially if it happens excessively and you are uncomfortable and/or in pain before you actually pass the gas from your system.
Incontinence, which means that you are passing urine (and in extreme cases, fecal matter) if you are unable to get to the toilet after an urgent feeling of going to the bathroom.
If you feel like you have to urgently go to the bathroom, even when seconds before you didn’t feel like you had to do anything.
If this happens regularly (and you end up with incontinence, as listed above), then you will want to take care of it with some help from your doctor.
Any sort of pain in or around the rectum area. While this could be a sign of other bowel issues, or, if you are a man, it could signify that you have an issue with the prostate. If this is a symptom that you’re dealing with, then you want to make sure that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible in order to prevent further issues as possible.
Your stools change in substance or structure (and do so without having a cause that is obvious, like illness).
Feeling like you have to have a bowel movement, but you actually aren’t able to pass anymore at that point in time.
Odd rumbling noises within your stomach during the day, even if you are not hungry and/or you aren’t digesting food at that point in time (you haven’t eaten within a couple hours of the loud noises). Sometimes, your stomach will feel uncomfortable when it makes those noises as well.
These aren’t the only symptoms, of course, and in some cases, you may have one or two and never see the others that people are dealing with. As with any disease, some people are going to react one way, and others are going to react another way.
Learn to listen to your body and make sure that you understand how it should be reacting so that you don’t have to try and fend off these issues when they come. Have a plan and know how you’re going to take care of things when this happens.
As with any other disorder, you don’t want to try and diagnose yourself. If you see some, or many, of these symptoms while you’re taking care of yourself, then you may want to make an appointment to talk to your doctor in order to make sure that you’re going to be able to get what you need in terms of treatment.
Talk to your doctor about your options and look around to see what could be the best thing(s) for you to do and take care of. That way, you can get care and get back to enjoying all of the foods that you’ve always been eating.
What Does an IBS Flare Up Feel Like?
An IBS flare up is essentially a time during which your IBS symptoms drastically worsen.
It can be triggered by a variety of issues, ranging from stress to allergies, that cause your gastrointestinal system to act out.
There is a wide range of symptoms involved in an IBS flare up.
The key feeling in an IBS flare up is simply that your bowels are not behaving like they normally do. You may end up having far more bowel movements than normal, or you may barely have any.
In many cases, this unpredictability can end up causing you to have sudden bowel urges that leave you sprinting to the bathroom.
When you do feel an urge to go to the bathroom, you might find that it fades away randomly without any actual bowel movements.
There are frequently strange rumbling noises in the stomach, regardless of how frequently you are eating or going to the bathroom.
After you do use the toilet, stools might be suddenly watery or unusually firm even when you are getting enough fiber and water.
IBS flare-ups are also quite painful. There are frequently spasming pains in the stomach and lower torso region.
You might feel like you are bloated or uncomfortably full, and there is typically a lot of flatulence accompanied by pain. Some people find that the area around the rectum gets inflamed and painful too.
Keep in mind that each person with IBS is different. You may experience all of the symptoms of a flare up, or you might just have to deal with one or two at a time.
To learn a bit more about how it feels from a person with IBS, watch this informational Youtube video by Tayla Mary.
How Long Does an IBS Flare Up Last?
During an IBS flare up, it can feel very exhausting and depressing, and many people worry that they will just be stuck feeling like this forever.
Fortunately, this is not entirely true. According to Nursing Times, the average length of an IBS flare-up is just two to four days.
However, flare length can vary from person to person, so some people may have flares for a couple weeks at a time.
It is also possible for one flare to start almost as soon as the previous one had ended.
If your flare-ups are lasting for months, it is typically a sign that you are encountering something that triggers your IBS almost daily.
How Can You Calm an IBS Flare-Up?
There are a few things you can do to ease your symptoms while in the middle of an IBS flare up.
Probiotics, which are found in yogurt, sauerkraut, and supplements, help to restore your gut bacteria after bouts of diarrhea, so they help to make digestion a little easier for you.
It may also be helpful to include a little gentle fiber like chia seeds or psyllium husk if you are dealing with constipation.
Those who are dealing with a lot of pain can benefit from over the counter pain medicines or a heating pad placed over the stomach.
If you are stuck in the bathroom, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders suggests that you take loperamide which is also known as Immodium.
This medication lowers intestinal contractions, so the gut does not process waste as quickly.
Which Foods Should You Eat During an IBS Flare-Up?
During an IBS flare up, it is important to stick to plain foods that will not aggravate your symptoms. Foods to avoid will include anything that is overly greasy, caffeinated, alcoholic, or spicy.
Many people also find it helpful to avoid short-chain carbohydrates, which are found in grains, legumes, dairy, and certain fruits, because they can lead to extra gas and be bloating because they are difficult to digest.
Certified Nutritionist Elaine Brisebois recommends that people with an IBS flare up mainly focus on liquid foods.
Bone broth, vegetable broth, and other clear soups provide plenty of calories without containing a lot of aggravating ingredients. They also provide water needed to prevent nasty bouts of constipation from occurring.
Getting a little bit of soluble fiber can be helpful in firming up the stool, but many fibrous foods can make gas and bloat worse. Good options for gentle fiber include bananas, jasmine rice, cooked carrots, cooked green beans, and cooked oats.
How Do You Recover From an IBS Flare-Up?
Once you start to calm down the symptoms of your IBS flare up, it will be time to focus on recovery and preventing further attacks.
Many IBS flares are triggered by stress, so it is important to try to stay calm in your daily life.
Avoid stressful situations when possible and try guided meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques.
Your body will most likely be feeling tired and sore after the flare-up, so try to go easy on yourself. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and avoid any aggressive exercise.
According to a study by the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal, you should continue to eat natural probiotics after your IBS flare up ends to ensure that your gut has enough helpful probiotics.
As the flare-up starts to go away, you can begin slowly getting back to your normal diet. Gradually add in more fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and spices instead of suddenly going back to eating whatever you want.
It may be wise to continue eating cautiously for a few weeks to avoid a recurrence. Gradually increase your fiber intake and continue to avoid caffeine.