Let's face it, IBS flare-ups are no fun. When you're hit with unexpected symptoms from diarrhea to stomach discomfort, you need fast and efficient relief from IBS pain. Although there’s no magic wand that’ll make symptoms melt away, there are a few things you can do to ease digestive discomfort and feel like yourself again!
How Long do IBS Attacks Last?Although they could last mere minutes, IBS flare-ups have been known to go on for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. Your average IBS attack will likely last around 2-4 days, after which symptoms tend to cool down on their own… although they have been known to make a return if triggered.
How to Calm an IBS Flare Up
Looking for some short-term techniques to relieve IBS pain? Try any of the following things to help relieve IBS symptoms, or combine them as you please:
1. Apply Gentle Heat
Give your tummy a little TLC by warming a heat pack or hot water bottle in the microwave for 30 to 90 seconds, and placing it on your lower belly for 15 to 20 minutes (or according to the instructions). The gentle heat from the pack can ease tummy troubles, relieving some of the discomfort associated with IBS- not to mention the health benefits you’ll get from 15 minutes of rest and relaxation.
2. Get Moving
Exercise can seem counterintuitive, especially when you’re experiencing IBS-D or IBS-M symptoms, like gassiness and diarrhea. When any movement makes your bowels move too, it’s best to chill out for a while; but if you’re able to, exercise can be a great secret weapon against IBS attacks. As with foods, you may have to go through an elimination process; determine which types of movement put you at ease, and stick with those when dealing with IBS symptoms.
3. Stay Away From Trigger Foods
The last thing you want to do while having an IBS flare-up is to add any stress to your already strained digestive system. Keeping track of your personal trigger foods? Go ahead and avoid those, subbing them out for safe-to-eat foods instead. If you’re not, it’s always a good idea to get started on food journaling, to learn what works and what doesn’t.
During an IBS attack, try keeping your meals light, and being extra mindful of anything from fats to spices that could cause stomach upset.
4. Have a Soothing, Non-Caffeinated Tea
Drinking tea is not only a relaxing activity, it can be good for your digestive health too. To help alleviate symptoms associated with an IBS attack, try sipping on one of these Healthline-recommended teas for IBS:
- Peppermint tea
- Anise tea
- Fennel tea
- Turmeric tea
- Dandelion tea
- Licorice tea
- Ginger tea
- Nettle tea
- Lavender tea
5. Dial Down Your Stress Levels
As simple as it sounds: don’t forget to breathe! Remember that an IBS attack is only temporary. Sure, the pain and discomfort can make it feel like it’s lasting forever, but with the healing power of time, and these IBS-relief techniques, you’ll get back to your normal self eventually. In the meantime, do yourself a favor by dialing down daily stress as much as possible. Try pinpointing what makes you anxious or stressed out, and consciously plan on cutting down on any triggers.
6. Try a Relaxation Technique
If you’re having a hard time easing stressors on your own, try one of many time-tested relaxation techniques. Whether you need to pick up a paintbrush, go for a walk, try meditation, or simply close your eyes and listen to some soothing sounds, whatever works best for you is the right answer for calming your IBS flare-up.
Need a Longer-Term Solution? Switch to an “IBS Treatment Diet,” Like the Low FODMAP Diet
If you’re finding that your IBS symptoms keep coming back, the low FODMAP diet is known to be a good diet for someone with IBS. While results may vary, studies have shown that following a low FODMAP diet can show you what foods help relieve IBS, and provide complete symptom relief for up to 75% of people suffering from IBS.
At the end of the day, the best method is the one that works for your body! Try one of these out? Be sure to comment below and let us know what worked for you (and what didn’t).