A woman stands in a city bus, holding the upper railing and listening to music on her headphones as fun and happy shapes swirl around her.

IBS Must-Haves (No Matter Where You Are)

Some things have become necessities in my life ever since I got IBS. No matter where I am, whether it’s at home, at my in-laws or on vacation, I always have to have them with me. These things make me feel safer, reduce my anxiety about getting a flare-up and help me whenever I get IBS symptoms.

If you’re looking for ways to ease symptoms during flare-ups, maybe this list will help you, too!

Heating pad or microwavable stuffed animals

My favorite way to ease pain and discomfort during a flare-up is to put something warm on my stomach. I mostly use my microwavable stuffed animals that I got on Amazon, but a heating pad and hot water bottle work just as well.

Applying heat helps with bloating and cramps. It’s also very comforting, which is always a plus during an IBS flare!

Herbal tea

Drinking tea is a great way to warm up your intestines from the inside. My personal favorites are chamomile and ginger tea.

For me, the smell of chamomile does a great job at calming any anxiety and making me feel better instantly. Ginger tea, on the other hand, doesn’t taste as good to me but is even better at reducing pain and discomfort in my bowels.

Of course, herbal tea is not a magic remedy and it will not do that much during an actual IBS flare-up. But if you’re looking for something to ease mild symptoms or stay hydrated in between bathroom trips, it’s a really great option.

Iberogast or Pepto-Bismol

Speaking of mild symptoms: If you want some type of medication to calm down discomfort in your digestive system, I’ve found Iberogast (an herbal mixture) and Pepto-Bismol to work quite well.

I like having them on hand, no matter where I am. Just in case I need a little help with my digestion. If, however, you’re having a full-blown flare-up, these aren’t likely to do much.

Imodium

If I get diarrhea and I’m not at home, I like having Imodium on me. Even when I’m not having any symptoms, it just makes me feel safer to know that I have it just in case.

Now, Imodium does not always work for me. If I ate trigger foods, for example, or if I’m feeling really sick, I have to take the maximum doses and that still takes hours before I see results.

However, Imodium is a great cure for IBS triggered by anxiety. Like when you have to take a plane or a train and keep going to the bathroom over and over again. In these cases, even one or two tablets usually work and I’m able to travel in peace.

Soft toilet paper

I love going on road trips and stay at different hotels or AirBnBs, but I always get scared that they won’t have enough toilet paper. Or only that horrible recycled toilet paper that they use in public places (at least in Europe).

So, I tend to always buy soft toilet paper at the beginning of every road trip and have it in the car, just in case. It’s often an unnecessary precaution, but it does sometimes come in handy! And most of all, it helps me not to worry about the toilet paper situation.

Too many clothes

Another thing that makes me feel safer whenever I’m not at home it bringing more clothes than I actually need.

My fiancé, for example, is able to leave for a weekend trip with two pairs of underwear and only the jeans he’s wearing, because that’s the number of clothes he’ll actually wear. I, however, will pack around 10 pairs of underwear and at least one additional pair of pants, even if I’ll probably not end up wearing them.

There really is no logic behind this and I’ve never had to use any of these additional clothes I brought. But I like knowing that they’re there, just in case.

A calming playlist and headphones

No matter where I am, an upcoming flare-up or discomfort in my belly instantly makes me want to be by myself. I need to stay in my little bubble to focus on breathing and keeping anxiety at bay.

For this, I always have relaxing music on my phone (downloaded, so I can access it even without an internet connection) and headphones in my bag. This is one of the items that I actually use so often!

Whether I’m traveling, stuck in a place that doesn’t make me feel safe or simply need to retract from the world around me: calming music and headphones have saved me more than once.

It’s such a simple but effective way to reduce IBS-related anxiety!

Now, I know that this list contains lots of “just in case” items. And the reason for that is that my brain likes to imagine all those worst-case scenarios!

I don’t mind being overly prepared though. If something helps me stay relaxed, I’ll take it!

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