Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition where long term bowel symptoms are not caused by gastrointestinal (GI) disease. Find out more about how to manage your IBS.

Diagnosis

It’s important that you have a diagnosis of IBS confirmed by your GP. Symptoms of IBS can often overlap with other GI diseases, so it’s important that these are ruled out.

Once you have a diagnosis of IBS, there are lots of things you can do yourself which may help manage your symptoms.

Treatment

The symptoms of IBS can vary in severity, come and go, and worsen during periods of stress.

Treatments for IBS will vary depending on symptoms, but can include:

  • medicines
  • changes to diet or lifestyle
  • stress management strategies

We follow IBS management guidelines developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Dietary management

Changes to diet and lifestyle can often be helpful in managing IBS symptoms. These short videos and information sheets explain more about IBS and dietary changes that can help.

What is IBS and how does it cause symptoms?
First line dietary considerations in IBS

Stress management

Managing stress can be a very important part of coping with your IBS symptoms. Take time for yourself, do regular exercise or activity, and try relaxation techniques.

There are mindfulness books and apps available, which could help relieve symptoms of IBS:

  • Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams
  • Mindfulness for health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing by Vidyamala Burch and Dr Danny Penman
  • Headspace
  • Unmind
  • Calm
  • Nerva (gut-directed hypnotherapy app, 7 day free trial)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and directed hypnotherapy can be very effective in managing IBS. Gloucestershire Health and Care Trust offer a number of stress management and CBT resources.

If you consider gut-directed hypnotherapy, you should ensure your therapist is trained and registered with either:

Find out more about Let’s Talk in Gloucestershire.

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