Staying Hydrated With IBS

Last month, I traveled to London to catch up with my Aussie cousins and spend some quality time together. I was overjoyed to finally visit Windsor Castle, one of my bucket list locations.

Eating pub food on vacation

Of course, during those days around the British countryside and London, we ended up eating out at every meal, mostly pub food. Not the healthiest, but of course, great for IBS! I wasn't really bloated, but my gut was completely stuck. How weird!

Not drinking enough water

I realized I'm not drinking anywhere near the amount of water that I do on a regular day on vacation. I'm either busy, forget to drink, or scared of not finding a restroom when needed. I then wondered if drinking more might help my gut, so I decided to do some research.

Do you ever stop to think about how much water you're drinking throughout the day? Probably not, right? Well, for those of us dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, staying hydrated isn't just a matter of quenching thirst; it's a crucial part of managing our condition and keeping our gut happy.

Let's break it down in simple terms. Imagine your gut as a delicate ecosystem, with trillions of microorganisms working together to keep things running smoothly. Now, picture what happens when this ecosystem gets out of balance. It can trigger uncomfortable symptoms of IBS, like bloating, cramping, and irregular bowel movements.

Why stay hydrated?

So, where does hydration come into play? Well, think of water as the ultimate facilitator of all things good in your gut. Here's why:

  • Keeps Things Moving: Water helps to soften stool, making it easier to pass. For those of us with IBS, this can be a game-changer, especially if constipation (IBS-C)is a common issue. By staying hydrated, you're giving your digestive system the lubrication it needs to function properly. In the case of IBS-D, it helps avoid dehydration.
  • Aids Digestion: Ever notice how lethargic you feel when dehydrated? Your gut feels the same way. Drinking enough water helps maintain the balance of digestive juices and enzymes in your stomach and intestines, ensuring that everything keeps moving smoothly.
  • Reduces Bloating: When you're dehydrated, your body tends to hold onto any water it can get, leading to that dreaded bloated feeling. By drinking plenty of water, you're actually helping to flush out excess fluid and reduce bloating—a win-win for anyone dealing with IBS-related discomfort.
  • Maintains Gut Flora Balance: Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. These bacteria play a crucial role in everything from digestion to immune function. By staying hydrated, you're creating an optimal environment for these friendly bacteria to thrive, which can help to alleviate symptoms of IBS.

Alternatives to plain old water

Now, you might be wondering, , how much water is enough? While the exact amount can vary from person to person, a good rule is to aim for around 8-10 glasses (or about 2 liters) of water per day. Of course, if you're exercising or living in a hot climate, you may need to adjust your intake accordingly.

But what if plain water isn't your thing? My mum has this issue and she drinks instead (too much) English breakfast black tea. However, there are plenty of ways to stay hydrated that don't involve chugging endless glasses of H2O. Herbal teas, coconut water, and even certain fruits and vegetables (always remember to prefer those that are low in FODMAP: kiwi, carrots, and oranges) can all contribute to your daily fluid intake.

At the end of the day, staying hydrated is one of the simplest yet most effective things you can do to manage your IBS symptoms and support overall gut health. So, drink up, friends; your gut will thank you for it!

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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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