Tips to Soothe IBS Abdominal Pain Quickly

In the process of pinpointing what triggers your IBS symptoms, you’re probably going to experience some pain and suffering along the way. As I write this, I am recovering from an awful, sleepless night after waking up at 3:30am with severe abdominal pain and bloating, caused by 3 devilish chili cheese fries off a friends’ plate earlier in the night. It’s now 7:00pm and I am feeling better, yet not 100% recovered from the abdominal pain.

Is 24 hours of severe pain worth 3 chili cheese fries? Definitely not. I was thinking that my digestive system could handle the small amount of fat and spices in those fries, but I was terribly wrong. Lesson learned.

Soothing IBS Pain & Symptoms

So, what is my process to ease my IBS abdominal pain, bloating and gas when it flares up? Here are the steps I take:

  • Immediately take a peppermint oil capsule. Studies have shown that peppermint soothes cramps and eases abdominal pain within the digestive tract. There are a number of brands available on the market, but I prefer Heather’s Tummy Tamers.Heather's Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules I usually take one every morning prior to eating, as well as before any meals that may be risky. You can also substitute peppermint tea instead of the capsules.
  • “Drink” a dose of Konsyl Natural Fiber.Konsyl Natural Fiber I use the word drink in quotations because it’s tough to choke down. It does not mix well with liquid because it absorbs the liquid instead, so the consistency is best described as lumpy. However, I have seen a large improvement in preventing my IBS pain since my doctor recommended this supplement, so it makes it worth it. If you try it, ensure you shake it vigorously (instead or stirring), which allows it to blend with the liquid much better. I take this twice a day, before breakfast and dinner, and mix it with Vitamin Water Zero,Vitamin Water Zero which improves the taste significantly.
  • Drink plenty of water. This is difficult at times because your body will feel very full, but water will help flush your digestive system quicker.
  • Use a heating pad. While there’s no studies that indicate a heating pad works as a treatment for abdominal pain, I feel it helps my comfort level when I am laying down trying to get some rest. I utilize this tactic most often when my IBS abdominal pain wakes me up in the middle of the night and I am trying to get back to sleep.
  • Do a little Yoga. Stretching out my body always helps relax my body and mind. It also helps to remove some excess gas at times. Some of my go-to moves are child pose, hare pose, spinal twists, sun salutation, wind freeing pose, half-cobra pose, and half-moon pose. I am also a huge fan of yogadownload.com, where you can have a subscription to do yoga right in your living room. If you’ve ever farted in a regular yoga class, you know how valuable this is!
  • Take your mind off the pain. For me, I am usually not in the mood to do anything too strenuous, so I usually take the opportunity to put my efforts into some light housework, cooking meals, or writing this blog. All of those items require me to think of other things besides my pain and it will lower my stress level, which can make pain worsen. The activity has to challenge my brain a little, so for example, this morning after I gave up on sleeping, I reorganized the pantry, washed the dishes, paid the monthly bills and packed away all my winter boots.
  • Eat smart. Most times, I am not hungry when abdominal pain strikes. However, it’s still important to fuel your body throughout the day. This is the time when you should rely heavily on your safe foods, such as brown rice or plain grilled chicken, and eat slowly in small quantities. Today, I enjoyed a small serving of my homemade mashed potatoes, a plain grilled chicken breast and some Glutino Gluten Free PretzelsLow FODMAP Foods.
  • Take a prescription pain reliever. For me, I don’t like to be heavily medicated on prescription drugs because the side effects reek havoc on my body. However, in severe IBS abdominal pain situations, I will take a prescription pain reliever. It eases the pain, but it does make me feel very light-headed and I have difficulty focusing and thinking clearly, which is a issue when I have to work. Since starting on the low FODMAP diet, I have limited this method to about 2-3 times a month.

What works well for my body may not be the ideal fit for you, so use my methods as you see fit. It took me a long time to get the method down, but now I feel a little more confident when my IBS symptoms make an appearance.

It’s much better to prevent IBS symptoms than to have to deal with them later, but as you learn what foods in what quantities your system can handle, it’s good to have a back-up plan.

IBS Abdominal Pain

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Recognizing the Symptoms of IBS

I remember the first time I farted in front of my husband (then boyfriend). It was over a year after we started dated and I was sitting on his lap. It was loud and he could feel it vibrate his leg. I was embarrassed, however, I laughed so hard that I ended up farting again, which is probably why I remember the moment so clearly. It wasn’t that I always hid my flatulence from him, it’s just that I didn’t have gas that often.

Fast forward to 10 years, and possibly 100,000 farts later, I look back to the moment and realize how lucky I was then. Gas and bloating is a common, daily occurrence when living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and I am no exception to the rule. Not to mention the constipation and diarrhea that take their turn messing with my digestive system.

The Symptoms of IBS

Here are the common IBS Symptoms:

  • Gas (Flatulence)
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Mucus in the Stool

The symptoms of IBS are hard to deal with on a daily basis and they can make you crazy. For me, the abdominal pain, gas and bloating are the worst and I have spent countless days and evenings curled up on the couch in the fetal position. I am lucky to have a job in which I can work from home whenever I wish, but many other people don’t have that luxury. IBS symptoms can make you miss many days of work or school and make it hard to lead a normal life. It can also put a big strain on your relationships because it’s difficult to be happy or social when you’re in severe pain. I realized that I needed to take more action when I canceled plans with a friend three times in row because of my IBS symptoms.

IBS Symptoms

  1. Disclaimer – I am not a doctor, so if you have these IBS symptoms, you should first seek medical help before taking my advice.
  2. Disclaimer – I use humor to make light of serious and sensitive issues, so instead of the awful pictures you see on other IBS info (a too-skinny woman holding or stomach, an interior shot of the intestines, a sketch of bodily systems), you will NOT find here.

So what’s causing this constant distress if you have IBS? Briefly stated, the items that you’re putting into your body, which is food, drinks, medicine and even gum. Your body is reacting negatively to something you’re ingesting and it’s important to figure it out to get the symptoms to subside. For me, I have taken kindly to the low FODMAP diet, which is difficult to get started, but the relief I feel is well worth the trouble.

Stay tuned for more posts on how to pin-point what is causing your symptoms of IBS.

Want to Live Happy with IBS?

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IBS Problems

So did I. For years, the pain, bloating, gas, and other issues that come with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) kept me from living a full life. It took me a very long time to pin-point some of my issues with food and other items with the low FODMAP diet, but once I did, I found I was able to live that life that I wanted. I’ve been there and I want this blog to be a resource to others who are suffering with all the discomforts that comes with IBS, as well as IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Know that you’re not alone.