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It can be so frustrating to be stopped in your tracks by an IBS flare up. Perhaps your belly has swelled up so you look pregnant, or you’re rushing to the loo every 10 minutes so can’t leave the house. Read below for my tips on how to support your body and mind during a flare up of your irritable bowel symptoms.

How do you calm IBS?

The best thing to do during an IBS flare is to look after yourself and take some time out to recover. The following ideas may help you next time you get  your symptoms flare up:

  • Heat packs or hot water bottles on your stomach can ease pains or feeling of sensitivity
  • Try drinking some soothing teas for digestion – Best teas for IBS
  • Wear comfortable clothes with a soft expanding waistline to accommodate any bloating
  • Take a warm bath
  • Snuggle up in bed and allow yourself to rest
  • Eat low FODMAP foods for a few days to ease your way through the flare (see below for more on how to do this). What is the FODMAP diet?

What causes irritable bowel attacks?

The most frustrating thing is that even when you are doing everything ‘right’ you may still get an attack of IBS. Commonly it’s due to eating something that didn’t agree with you, or something that happened to upset you.

You may often link your IBS symptoms to something you ate, but it could also be related to how you were feeling. We know that our mental state has a large part to play in digestive symptoms.

  • Stress – When we’re stressed we will have less energy for digestion, which means foods aren’t broken down as well by the process of digestion, so they cause bloating and sensitivity. This could be coupled with pain, and either diarrhoea or constipation.
  • Lack of sleep – when we’re tired we feel more pain so you may be more sensitive to symptoms. We also tend to eat more sugary, carb heavy foods when tired which can affect gut health. Related post – Sleep and Gut Health
  • Diet – Eating something that doesn’t agree with you – this will be different for everyone, but could be too much fibre, coffee, alcohol, sweeteners, dairy, high protein diet, processed foods.
  • Menstrual cycle – women may find symptoms worse just before or around their period.

7 Day Low FODMAP Meal Plan

A tasty 7 day meal plan with over 25 healthy meals for easing IBS flares

What to eat during an IBS flare

Some people may find that eating foods lower in FODMAPs during a flare up of IBS can improve symptoms.

Example foods are chicken, tofu, oats, eggs, grapes, melon, potato, rice, peppers, broccoli and many more. See my 7 day Meal plan for a low FODMAP selection of healthy recipes to try.

How long does an IBS flare last?

Everything with IBS is very individual but people may experience an upset stomach for around 2-4 days before things settle down again.

What does an IBS flare feel like?

Your IBS flare symptoms may include

  • bloating or swelling in your tummy
  • excess gas (with or without odour)
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • abdominal pains
  • feeling sensitive around your digestion
  • feeling like you haven’t been able to fully empty bowels

If you’re ready to identify what triggers your IBS flare ups then please get in touch. I can help you, as I’ve helped many other people already find a diet that works. See me a message to get started on your nutrition journey.

7 Day Low FODMAP Meal Plan

A tasty 7 day meal plan with over 25 healthy meals for easing IBS flares

Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritionist (mBANT, CNHC). I help people with IBS, SIBO, reflux and other gut health issues.

I can help you to:

  • understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
  • eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
  • develop healthy, sustainable habits for life

“Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed"

Find more about 1:1 IBS nutrition consultations