From cramps and spasms to bloating and diarrohea, IBS affects one-in-10 people, especially women. While there’s some evidence painkillers such as paracetamol may ease the discomfort of IBS, it’s thought other varieties, including ibuprofen, may worsen symptoms.
Ask for a referral. Your GP can refer you to an integrated health practitioner for advice. For example, the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (uclh. nhs.uk) offers help with diet and nutrition, CBT therapy and hypnotherapy.
Relax. For many people, IBS is triggered by stress, so relaxation techniques can help. Studies show yoga postures such as gate pose and half-seated spinal twist can ease the condition. Check for food intolerances. Latest research suggests 30 per cent of IBS sufferers may be intolerant to certain foods – most commonly cow’s milk or wheat. Ask your GP or try the medically accredited York Foodscan Test, £250 (yorktest.com).
1. VSL#3, £14.95 for 10 sachets; vsl3.co.uk. Clinically proven to reduce IBS symptoms, this probiotic supplement contains 450 billion ‘good’ bacteria.
2. A.Vogel Silicolgel, £8.29 for 200ml; silicolgel.co.uk. This silicic acid gel soothes the lining of the intestines.
3. Healthspan High Strength Peppermint Oil, £13.99 for 180 caps; healthspan.co.uk. Peppermint oil capsules have been shown to reduce IBS symptoms in 16 clinically controlled studies.