Numerous rolls of toilet paper

4 Things My IBS Relies on During a Flare

I don’t know about you, but when I happen to have an IBS flare in the comfort of my own home – it’s what I wish for, rather than having to use a not-so-pleasant public loo, unprepared – I have a number of items I instinctively reach for to help me through.

I like to think of them as my IBS comfort blankets. I know where they are at all times, so I can grab and go as needed, usually as I run between the bathroom and the bedroom.

1. Loo rolls by the nine pack

And let’s make it quilted and multiple ply because when I’m having a flare, I like a little bit of comfort when I wipe. I want sturdy paper. Reliable paper. Maybe even scented. What I don’t want is scratchy, thin, miserable paper that falls apart in your hands, or, to have to use kitchen roll, which I have before on a few desperate occasions.

2. Peppermint tea by the bucket load

I hate all hot drinks except a thick hot chocolate, topped with squirty cream and fluffy marshmallows but I had to give that up a while ago, so now I settle for a cup of peppermint tea in the morning to help ease my gut into the day. I’ve found peppermint tea to be there for me in any situation. Eaten a big meal, peppermint tea. Feeling a bit unsettled inside, peppermint tea. Painful cramps, peppermint tea. It’s my rescue remedy for a bit of instant relief. I may not like the taste but I do like the way it makes my tummy feel.

3. The hot water bottle, my BFF

Find me someone with IBS who doesn’t rely on a cuddle with a hot water bottle or two. I have one of the ones you heat in the microwave and I have my favourite, which has a furry animal print cover. I have them glued to my stomach both at the same time because I’m greedy and cramps suck. I once burst a few blood vessels in my stomach due to the direct heat so always make sure there’s a layer of clothing between you and the bottle. Let’s all learn from my mistake.

4. Elasticated waistbands for life

I live for elasticated waistbands. Give me volume. Give me comfort. Give me room to disguise my bloated belly, which has me resembling a 6-month pregnant lady. There is nothing I hate more than feeling restricted by my clothing. I don’t like clothes that feel like they’re strangling my stomach. I like to allow it room to expand as needed. I choose pleated midi skirts, voluminous shirts and trousers with elastic in them, anything that my body can be free to move in. I’ve even worn my friend’s maternity jeans before, now that was a revelation!

There you have it, my four IBS essentials for when my IBS-D is playing up. How many can you tick off this list? And at the same time, what else would you add?

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