A woman is shown in 4 different positions from left to right: checking her watch, tasting a sauce, stretching her arms above her head, hailing a cab. The GI tract is shown in each position, and colorful lines connect the four figures in delicate harmony.

4 Things My IBS Needs

Last updated: May 2019

Over the years I’ve learned to listen to what my body and most importantly my gut, are trying to tell me. Which means I’ve come to know what it is my IBS needs. Other than a toilet and a whole load of loo roll on standby.

It likes the safety of routine

My IBS needs to eat three meals a day, at roughly the same time each day. If I skip one, it doesn’t sit well. It likes to wake up at the same time daily and generally know what lays ahead. At the start of the year I went freelance, working from home, meaning that my routine had a massive shake up. As did my IBS. No more 6am wake ups followed by a long train commute. It took my body a while to get used to this new routine. And I use that in the loosest of terms because each day for me can look different. Some days I may be chained to my desk. Others I may go into the city or meet with a friend for a walk. I’m enjoying the flexibility and my IBS is learning to work with it.

To be treated kindly

This one is super important as I know that my gut and I feel much better when I treat it kindly. That means regular feeding of home-cooked, colorful food. It means trying to chew each mouthful as much possible before swallowing, something I’m still working on. Alongside eating slowly rather than scoffing it down like an animal. It also means listening to what it needs, whether that be a restful day with some time out or a gentle walk.

Gentle exercise

I am no gym bunny but I like to get outside and give my body a good stretch. It could be as simple as walk by the river, gentle yoga flow or my weekly Zumba class. Sometimes, when my IBS is playing up and I feel sluggish and bloated, the last thing I want to do is leave the house to exercise but I know I always feel better when I do. That rush of endorphins, the way it makes my body feel strong and the way it distracts my mind from focussing on the IBS pain. It's all needed.

To be pushed

Hear me out on this one. You see, my IBS likes to trick me into believing it’s happiest in a situation it can control. However, I’ve done some testing and found that I can enjoy a meal out with friends and order a pizza. I can go to London for meetings, some work and a wander and not worry about where the loos are. I can also leave the house when I’m feeling bloated and down and come back feeling a tonne better for doing so. Which is why I’ll continue to push myself and my IBS to take more risks.

What does your IBS need?

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