• Masarat Jilani

5 bad habits that drive your IBS crazy

IBS has its bad days and it’s not so bad days. Sometimes, it can seem so random which days are going to be good or bad. Or what is really triggering your IBS flare-ups. But there are some habits that can drive your IBS crazy!

What makes IBS worse?

IBS affects people in different ways, that’s why it can be difficult to find out what triggers symptoms in you. But there are definitely different habits that can make your IBS much worse!

Five habits that can trigger a flare-up

While there hasn’t been a lot of research into the topic of lifestyle factors and IBS. The following habits have been shown to be linked to an increased risk of IBS in research studies.

Not tracking your symptoms.

Tracking your behaviour is key to changing it. And tracking your symptoms can have a similar effect! By noting down when you have symptoms, you can start to find patterns that were previously hard to recognise. In fact, not tracking your symptoms could mean you lose out on a lot of helpful information such as key trigger foods that cause an IBS flare-up. This habit is the one that allows you to have personalised ways to deal with your IBS since as you track your symptoms, you find out more about how IBS affects you. You will find the foods your may need to avoid or the unique habits which are causing your IBS to spiral out of control. Zemedy has a great way to track your symptoms so that you can quickly turn this bad habit around.

Letting stress take over your life.

Stress is an inevitable part of life. But too often we have bad habits when it comes to the ways we manage stress. This may include unhealthy ways of dealing with it including stress eating, procrastinating, or even avoiding situations. Stress eating can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Procrastinating and avoiding situations can lead to a build-up of the stressor and then even more stress as a result! We may also have unhelpful ways of thinking. This can include catastrophising when we start thinking that a situation is the end of the world when it is not. Other unhelpful thought patterns can include black and white thinking and automatic negative thinking. Since these habits are automatic and not something we actively realise, they can be difficult to shift.

However, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you identify unhelpful thinking patterns. The Zemedy program using CBT to help you change your habits in relation to IBS. Once you change the way you think, this can change the way you feel, and this can then change your behaviour!

Not getting enough sleep

Sometimes our habits can result in us having dysregulated sleep. Whether it is having too much screen time in the evening or not having a sleep routine. Sleep disturbance has been linked with IBS. Stress management is also key to helping you get good quality sleep. If you are interested in improving your bedtime, check out our article on an Evening routine for gut health.

Irregular eating habits

There is a lot of focus on what you eat when it comes to IBS. You may be recommended to go onto a certain diet or avoid certain foods. But there is not as much insight into the way you eat. However, some studies have shown a link between irregular eating and IBS. Irregular eating is when you do not eat meals regularly each day, and have long periods between each meal, including breakfast, lunch, and supper. People with irregular eating habits have been shown to be around 3 times more likely to suffer from IBS. So, it is important to try to eat your meals regularly and establish a good eating routine.

Physical Inactivity

It’s not always easy to get active and sometimes we may find ourselves in habits that prevent physical activity. Or we may even find ourselves in too much pain to try and attempt exercise. But a lack of physical activity could be driving your IBS crazy! Incorporating some low-intensity exercise like yoga for IBS into your life could really help you keep your gut happy. You can access a Yoga for IBS class in the Zemedy app. Other low-intensity exercises you could try include walking, gentle swimming, or gentle jogging.

What’s next?

Habit change isn’t always easy. We all need a helping hand when it comes to changing habits that are so deeply ingrained into our routines and inside our minds. That’s why it is important to take things step-by-step and realize there can be good days and bad days. The Zemedy program takes you through a whole process of behavior change so that you can tackle bad habits with ease.

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