The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can suck the fun out of anything. Many people find themselves avoiding social activities they once loved out of fear of a flare-up. If you've started to decline invitations to dine out because of your IBS, it's time to take back your life. Yes, you can still enjoy restaurants, but there are some tricks you should use to make your dinner a success.
Try to Relax
Stress can make the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome worse, so it's important to stay as relaxed as possible throughout the entire day of your outing. For example, you may wish to manage your appointments so that you have a relatively easy time before you head out to eat. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can also help you to de-stress.
Often worrying about your IBS can be enough to trigger the illness, so by planning ahead, you can help to lower your stress levels. It is a good idea to have an emergency plan in case your IBS flares up during a meal. You may wish to try out the following suggestions:
- Learn the layout of the restaurant and ask for seating that allows you to discreetly excuse yourself if need to visit the toilet.
- Drive yourself or arrange for alternate transportation in case you need to leave before the rest of your party because you feel unwell.
Avoid Trigger Foods
At the restaurant, you'll need to steer clear of things that can trigger your symptoms. Everyone responds a little differently, so it's a good idea to create your own list of foods you know are safe and stick to it when dining out. Remember, it's the restaurant's job to cater to your needs, so ask them to substitute trigger foods for safe foods when necessary. If you don't have a safe list, avoid some of the most common triggers, such as:
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Fatty or fried foods
- Red meat
- Sweeteners, spices, dressings and condiments
A big part of managing IBS is avoiding triggers but when that isn't enough, it's time to consult with your doctor. IBS treatments and medications are available to help reduce or eliminate symptoms, so you can get on with enjoying your life. If you would like to find out more about how you can manage your IBS and maintain your gut health, you should make contact with a local company which can offer you help.