Many IBS sufferers (and specialists!) focus only on diet and which FOODS can trigger your IBS symptoms. However, there are other important factors that may be setting your IBS regularly in motion.
So get ahead. Here are 6 IBS triggers you must know about – and most people don’t...
[Of the 6 IBS triggers, this was by far the most powerful one for me!]
You may find that certain people are triggers for your IBS.
This may well include, family, friends, neighbours, a colleague, your boss.
It can be someone you see or hear from regularly, or not very often. If you have a person that triggers you every day, you may not even have noticed the link. Because you are always subject to that trigger.
If you do recognize someone as a trigger for you (and this may be more apparent to a partner or friend than to you, so do ask them) you may feel lost to know how to change things.
As a fast, temporary measure, you may find some deep breathing before and afterwards helps to stop, or reduce, the stress reaction.
Alternatively you can choose to work on the trigger pattern. You can learn to release it (yes, this is actually possible!). This is the work I now do in private coaching sessions.
Some women find they have more flare-ups a certain times of the month and are sensitive to the hormonal changes in their bodies.
Of the 6 IBS triggers I’m presenting, this one has to be the one women feel the least able to change because periods are a natural part of life.
If you can relate, I would especially look into how you can take care of your liver. You liver collects all used hormones ready for elimination from the body. If the liver is working under par, it is also the place where used hormones accumulate and it can start disrupting the levels of hormones present in the body.
Alternatively talk to your gynecologist. I personally tried this, but got no help there.
If you’re in the same boat , grab this book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti examines hormone disruption and elimination in detail, and may give just give you some of the answers you have been looking for.
She also talks a little about IBS, signs that elimination of waste in the body when they are compromised, and what you can do about them.
Situations and (social) events
You may notice that certain situations or events set your IBS.
Your job is to work out why, and see if you can find a way to counter that.
For example, I found that being invited round for drinks was a trigger for me because it starts late, goes on late, and everyone is hungry and tired. Plus I felt deprived and embarrassed turning up and just having water with ice and lemon, and not being able to have the nibbles:)
But I didn’t want to miss out! And looked into how I could turn this around.
So I decided to say that I wasn’t free in the evening, and would they like to come for coffee instead.
I found that situation suited me much better. I could control what I had to eat and drink (like substitute coffee🙂
Maybe you can you turn a situation or event that you feel you can’t deal with into a better alternative?
One that makes you feel good, instead of drained?
These can be anything from the weather, moon state, to products and substances in your environment that trigger you.
However, it is not necessarily the triggers themselves that are dangerous.
They can be linked to past situations or bad memories that trigger your IBS, and they have become an integral part of a trigger loop. Check out this article on trigger loops to find out more.
Sounds and smells
This may sound trivial, but you may find yourself reacting to different sound levels, or different smells.
Do you wince when someone talks loudly? Or if there is loud music?
Do certain smells cause you revulsion? A food smell?
A particular perfume or aftershave?
If you react, you may find that these experiences are linked to past experiences, and have also formed a trigger loop.
When you notice an IBS trigger like this and you can avoid it, great.
If you notice it regularly sets of your IBS symptoms, know that it IS possible to sort this out.
Sun and heat (or cold)
One day I went to a restaurant, had lunch inside and digested it relatively well. A few weeks later I went back and had the same dish. As it was a nice day I sat outside and ate it in the sun. I immediately felt very tired – usually a symptom that I wasn’t digesting, – and I had a flare-up later that afternoon. Same meal, same people.
I went back a few weeks later and ate inside in the shade. No problem that time.
I concluded that heat, or the sun, was a trigger for me – even though at the time I had no idea why.
Knowing this, and not really being able to do much about it at that time (that was before learning how to work on triggers and trigger loops), I avoided having lunch in the sun, and I felt much better for it.
Avoiding your triggers is a smart first choice. But the smart long-term choice is to release them, and the IBS symptoms they set off.
Why these 6 IBS triggers are useful indicators
Look out for these 6 IBS triggers in your life. You may have just one. Or you may have all six.
Finding triggers means that you start to look at the cause and effect of your IBS. And take back some control over it.
Maybe you can avoid some triggers, and avoid an accumulation of them. And this can already improve day-to-day living.
However I would urge you not to stop there.
To beat my IBS I went a step further. I traced these 6 IBS triggers back to their trigger loops and to their root causes – to the big why’s buried deep down in my story. And by releasing the trigger mechanism of each of them, I could then FULLY recover. After many years of suffering with chronic IBS and food intolerance.1