Tips and tricks for treating IBS symptoms at work

Experiencing IBS symptoms can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially when it occurs in public spaces like your workplace. Here are seven tips for managing IBS symptoms at work

Woman with stomach cramps
IBS symptoms can be uncomfortable but are easy to manage

irritable bowel syndromeor IBS, is a common chronic condition that affects our colon and leads to several uncomfortable symptoms.

People with IBS often experience symptoms such as cramps, stomach painbloating, gas and diarrhea or constipation.

Although the disease is long-term, IBS is actually easier to manage when you know what to avoid, what triggers your attacks, and what signs to look out for.

In honor of RDS Awareness Month this April, here are seven expert tips to help manage and prevent flare-ups in your workplace, according to Parvinder Sagoo, principal pharmacist for SimplyMedsOnline.

Avoid certain food triggers

Certain types of food and drink can trigger IBS flare-ups



Even a tiny bit of the wrong food is an easy way to trigger your IBS. Some foods that cause flare-ups of IBS are breads and cereals with refined sugars, dairy products — particularly cheese — and certain beverages like fizzy sodas, alcohol, and coffee.

If you’re going to a work lunch with co-workers, try to opt for non-alcoholic wine so you don’t feel too left out. Mr. Sagoo also advises that people suffering from IBS eat light lunches during the workday.

Watch out for early symptoms

People can tell if an IBS attack is imminent by looking at a few key early symptoms that gradually worsen throughout the day.

Some of these symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, constipation, bloating and gas. Mr. Sagoo recommends starting IBS medication as soon as you experience any of these symptoms, while it’s best to avoid food and drink triggers that could make symptoms worse.

Talk to your boss and your colleagues

IBS may seem like an embarrassing condition to open up about, but keeping your boss and co-workers up to date on your condition will make you feel more comfortable about withdrawing from work events or about certain foods to say no

Staying silent about your condition can increase your stress and make symptoms worse. By making the people you work with aware of your health issue, you can work better and may even feel more comfortable asking for a day off when symptoms become too severe.

Prevent symptoms with medication

Try to avoid stress and limit coffee consumption during your shifts at work


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Treating IBS with appropriate medication is the best way to prevent or lessen the intensity of the symptoms.

There are different types of treatment, so find out what’s best for you – speak to your pharmacist or GP for more advice on the best course of treatment for you.

Avoid office triggers

It can be easy to give in to the urge to have some coffee to help manage the stress at the office. However, it is important to avoid or limit these types of Office triggers to prevent IBS attacks.

While the amount of caffeine you consume depends on the severity of your irritable bowel syndrome, Mr. Sagoo recommends that it’s best to stick to a maximum of two cups of coffee per day.

He also advises staying away from things like cake or processed foods if possible — like when a co-worker is bringing something for their birthday.

Limit long meetings, presentations and travel

Talk to your boss about limiting things like long meetings or travel to avoid triggering your irritable bowel syndrome


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Normal things in the workplace like long meetings, travel, and presentations can be a nightmare for an IBS sufferer. So try to limit the amount of these activities if possible.

Talk to your boss or co-workers about your situation – it’s possible someone at work will be understanding enough to take on trips or meetings you can’t attend.

reduce work stress

It’s impossible not to be stressed at work, no matter how much you enjoy your work. However, stress is a major trigger for IBS, so try to reduce unnecessary stress to better manage your symptoms.

Try to keep your workload manageable and maintain a healthy work routine to ensure you don’t work late or burn out.

If you find that your work is too stressful and triggering your irritable bowel syndrome, talk to your employer or human resources and find out what can be done to help you cope.

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Fry Electronics Team

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