IBS is often a lifelong problem but symptoms can come and go over time.
Symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation, and while the condition can be eased with simple lifestyle changes, there’s currently no cure.
The exact cause is unknown, but nutritional therapist at Lepicol, Natalie Lamb, said there are a number of things that can trigger symptoms.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Natalie said: “Getting a good night sleep and adhering to a regular sleeping pattern of say between 10pm and 6am has been associated with an improvement of morning symptoms in IBS patients.”
You don’t have enough good bacteria
An imbalance in the diverse gut microflora is seen in IBS sufferers, alongside an increase in gut sensitivity or irritability which could be influenced by the balance of gut flora, says Natalie.
She added: “Probiotics, live bacteria supplements, are well known for their effectiveness at reducing IBS symptoms in many studies.”
You could be exercising too much
Intensive exercise can have a big impact on the levels of stress exerted on the body. As too can the worry or anxiety of a big race.
Natalie explained: “Stress can disturb the mixture of bacteria in our gut and has been shown to initiate or worsen disease, which is a particular issue for those with any gut disturbances such as IBS.”
You’re not eating enough fibre
Dietary fibre is said to be necessary for healthy bowel movements, but those with an over sensitive gut lining and imbalanced gut microflora will find some grains, vegetables and legumes difficult to digest.
Natalie added: “Insoluble bran fibre is often too harsh for sensitive IBS sufferers.
“Psyllium husk on the other hand is a gentle fibre supplement known to absorb much more water than other common fibres, forming a soft gel like substance, making it suitable for those with loose or hard stools.
“Lepicol is a three in one combination of gentle psyllium husk fibre, five probiotic strains to help rebalance gut microflora and inulin acting as a prebiotic (food source for beneficial bacteria).”
Your negative outlook on life
Emotional tension of any kind is regularly linked with the worsening of IBS symptoms, according to Natalie.
She said: “Often more commonly seen in those prone to stress, worry, anger, anxiety, fear, envy, guilt, depression etc.
“Try starting the day with one thing you are grateful for and as niggles arise during the day try to let them be.
“As stress or negative emotions arise try to remove yourself from a situation and take threedeep breaths, before returning with a calmer mind.”