Changing Your Daily Routine Can Affect Your IBS

Since so many different things can trigger IBS, one of the best ways to achieve stable management is to develop a consistent daily routine. This may include things such as how you eat (types of foods, timing of meals, meal size, etc.), exercise, sleep, relaxation, and other daily activities. While you don’t need to have exactly the same routine every day, being consistent with the big things can be very helpful for achieving stability.

But even though this constancy has value, you won’t always be able to keep your routine consistent. Things can happen that will change your routine from day to day, sometimes more, sometimes less. And things can also happen, sometimes by choice, that will throw your routine on its head. Here’s what you need to know about such changes.

Small changes that have only a small impact on your IBS

Small daily changes aren’t always a big deal. You might get an hour less sleep one night or not be able to exercise one day. Or you might eat something very different for lunch, but which is still within your safe food choices.

These small changes happen all the time and they’re something you’ll face regularly. On their own, these changes won’t usually trigger your IBS. And if your IBS isn’t triggered, the best way to deal with these small changes is to ignore them and get back to normal as quickly as possible. The general rule is that if it’s not affecting your IBS very much (or at all), then don’t fuss about it or you could make the situation worse.

Small changes that can have a big impact on your IBS

There are however small changes that can severely impact your IBS. You might eat a food that you’re sensitive to or suddenly have to deal with a very stressful event.

While it could be a tiny thing that happened, such as an ingredient in one meal, it may take several days to recover from the consequences. It’s these small changes that you’ll want to guard against as much as possible to prevent regularly triggering your IBS. Of course you can’t prevent them altogether, but taking steps to stop them is a good move.

Big changes that can mess everything up for a while

In contrast to the small changes, big changes are things that completely turn your routine on its head. This can be quite scary for someone with IBS to consider, but sometimes it’s worth doing it anyway. For instance, you might take on a new job or maybe choose to start a new type of exercise.

These big changes could be very good for you and shouldn’t be stopped because of your IBS. But you’ll need to be prepared and accept that your gut may function differently until your body gets used to a new routine.

As an example, I recently started walking in the mornings – previously I walked only on some afternoons. The goal was to walk 5 km every day, before breakfast, so I could ensure that I’d exercise every single day. While the walks were fantastic for me and gave me lots of energy, my bowel habits changed. Instead of going to the toilet in the morning, I wasn’t going until later in the day, which wasn’t always comfortable. And some days, I stopped going altogether. But then it started to get back to normal and gradually shifted back to a morning routine. It took over 2 weeks to settle, but I know it was worth the change.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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