What does that mean? It means that certain foods and drinks and stressful events in your life, things that don’t normally wreak havoc on other people, give you alternating bouts of diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Sometimes, lucky you, you can get all three at once! Here are some ways to cope.

You are not going to die – it’s happened before, it will happen again. Take a deep breath and relax

Then….learn to relax! Anything you can do to live a more stress free life will be of great benefit. Keep a stress diary, figure out what your triggers are. Is there a relationship you need to work on? Do you have a job that’s killing you?

Keep a food diary – find your food triggers and avoid them

Add fiber to your diet – bran, fruits, veggies, non soluble fiber seems to work best

Drink lot of fluid – between 6 and 8 glasses of fluid daily, it keeps things moving

Dairy? Some have a problem with dairy, take it out of your diet and keep it out for a couple weeks. Then add 1 thing at a time and see if the problem is better or worse.

Cut out the fat – Fat is a major stimulus to colonic contractions, it can worsen your IBS. Look first to getting rid of heavy sauces, fried foods and salad oils

Gas a problem? – Some IBS sufferers have a bigger problem when they eat gas producing foods. So giving up or cutting back on things like beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, could help ease the problem. Try cutting them out of your diet and then adding 1 at a time back in to see if its a trigger of yours

Go easy on bran, spicy foods, and acidic foods. Try eating a lot of spicy foods one week and then bland foods the next, see if anything changes. Do the same with the other foods

Caffeine – it’s bad, cut it out! It can be a huge trigger

Alcohol – can exacerbate the problems, especially beer and wine

Don’t smoke! – Again it’s a trigger, its the nicotine!

Eat regular meals – smaller, frequent meals will keep your body on track a lot better than larger infrequent ones

Jog it out – it relieves stress, it keeps your body healthy, it releases endorphins that help you relax

Try a painkiller – Often a woman will get an attack during her period. Then she will notice that a painkiller for cramps works for the IBS too. Over the counter or prescription drugs may be needed.

Heat – heating pad, hot water bottle, lay down and relax. Just let your body do the healing.