IBS is a chronic and unpredictable condition. Symptoms that change over time and are hard to talk about add to the challenge of living with it. IBS affects not only each of us who suffers, but also many others – family, friends, employers, students, teachers, patients, doctors, customers, constituents – everyone whose lives intersect with our own.
Having IBS gives you something in common with literally millions of other people who live with their disorder every day. There is no cure, yet, but there are ways to manage though not always simple or straight forward. It may take some detective work by you and your doctor before you find what works best.
Managing your own health is obviously important. Research shows that supportive relationships are also important. Here are some tips to help you and those close to you live with IBS.
Eight Guidelines for Living with IBS
- Don’t spend time and worry about what your symptoms may or may not mean. Start by getting a definite diagnosis from your doctor.
- Take an active role in your own health care. Learn all you can about IBS so you understand the nature of the disorder and different management and treatment options.
- Use this web site to keep up to date with changes in understanding IBS and treatment advances.
- Try to identify things that seem to make your symptoms worse and work on reducing their impact.
- Investigate non-medication treatments that may help reduce symptoms, like diet, relaxation training, or hypnosis.
- Use medications to relieve or avoid symptoms. You may only need them now and then if your symptoms are infrequent or mild. Or your doctor may suggest or prescribe a medicine for regular use.
- Be sure to tell your doctor about anything you take to treat your IBS.
- Find a health care provider who will work with you over the long term to help you manage and treat your IBS.