5 Ways You Can Help Someone with IBS
Last updated: March 2021
While each person with IBS is different, getting to know and understand their condition is always the best way to create a better connection and help. Allow them to communicate with you by being open.
Sometimes they may want to talk and other times they may not. Just be there for them as you would any other friend, just realise they have a special case and you may need to be a bit more flexible.
But don’t worry, your friend with IBS is worth it! Here are 5 ways to better connect and help them:
1. Don’t make it a big deal when they go to the bathroom
I find that one of the big stressors for those with IBS is what people will think about them, especially if they go to the bathroom frequently or for long periods of time. Don’t make jokes and let them know it is ok. That will help to reduce their level of anxiety around it and help them with their symptoms.
2. Be open to hear about symptoms
Don’t feel grossed out or make faces. These are natural bodily functions, get used to hearing about them. Being able to talk about what is happening really helps people to process their condition and come to terms with it. Be a shoulder they can lean on when they need it.
3. Don't take it personally
If they decline an invitation to dinner or to do something with you, be ok with it and make sure they are alright or if they need anything. Don’t take it personally, it has nothing to do with you. They have a condition that can make it hard to leave the house. While they enjoy your company, being away from home or where they feel safe can be hard. Offer to come to their place and see them on their own turf where they are more comfortable.
4. Get informed
Find out what IBS is, what type they have – IBS-D, IBS-C, IBS-M – and how it affects their lives. Each person is different, so don’t assume, ask. They will feel relieved that you understand what is happening for them and it can help you to know what they are going through, so you can be sympathetic.
5. Make them feel special
If you have invited them for a meal, go the extra mile and know what they are able to eat. Most IBS sufferers have trigger foods, so cook something that they can eat. Ask what their favorite meal is and cook it exactly to their specifications. This will make them feel special and understood.
These are just a few of the ways to help a friend with IBS. I’d love to hear more! What do you find has been the best?
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