How to Survive Christmas: Managing IBS Over the Festive Season

Managing IBS over the festive season can be a real challenge, and so we have put together some tips on how to survive Christmas without too many painful and potentially embarrassing flare-ups.

IBS and Christmas

The problem with the festive season is that tables bursting with delicious treats and freely flowing alcohol make resisting the temptation to “over-do” it incredibly hard.

To make matters even worse, many of these delicious temptations are IBS triggers waiting to “strike”.

Combined with the stress this time of year can present, these triggers can cause painful, embarrassing symptoms including abdominal cramps, bloating and constipation; diarrhoea and flatulence.

Sticking to a helpful routine of regularly eating smaller meals may be difficult during the festive season, but there is no need to say “No” every time you are offered a tasty treat or drink – simply following the tips below should allow you to have a good time without any nasty flare-ups.

Top Tips on How to Survive Christmas with IBS

To prevent IBS flare-ups during the festive period, make sure to:

Keep Stress Levels Low

The expense of food and gifts, shopping pressures, seasonal expectations (let’s face it, we all want everything to be “just so” …) and general excitement of Christmas can make the festive season one of the year’s most stressful times.

As stress is a well-known trigger of IBS symptoms, it is therefore crucial to minimise it as much as possible by planning ahead, delegating tasks among family members (or, if you are charged with organising your work Christmas party, colleagues) and, perhaps most importantly, taking time out to relax.

Aromatherapy, Yoga and relaxation tapes can all be very helpful in reducing stress and minimising the risk of related IBS flare-ups.

Get Some Exercise

Your digestive system works much better when you are active, so resist the temptation to become a “couch potato” over Christmas and get some exercise (which will also help to burn off some of those extra calories). Take family walks after dinner, play on the Wii and/or keep up with your usual exercise routine. If you don’t have such a routine already, now may be a good time to get started – here are some suggestions for exercises likely to help prevent IBS flare-ups.

Be Mindful of Festive Buffets

Bursting with plates of rich, fatty and sugary delights, festive  buffets can be an IBS minefield, especially if you have IBS-D. To prevent nasty “after-effects”, stay clear of:

  • Pastry (i.e. quiche, pork pies, sausage rolls, vol-au-vents, etc.)
  • Fried Foods (i.e. samosas, spring rolls, crispy wontons, etc.)
  • Sugary Treats (i.e. mince pies, chocolates, cookies, etc.)

Egg sandwiches, lean meat, fresh prawns, chicken satay sticks and salmon make tasty but altogether much healthier alternatives.

Avoid the Fizz

Christmas is not the same without the occasional “glass of cheer”, but those delicious bubbles in Prosecco, champagne, beer and even cola, lemonade and other mixers  can leave you feeling dehydrated, gassy and embarrassed.

Avoid fizzy alcoholic drinks as much as possible, especially if your IBS is likely to cause you “gassy” problems anyway. It is also a good idea to avoid rich cocktails and go for simpler options like a good glass of wine (which will be much lighter on your stomach), for instance.

Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, water wines down a little with soda water or, better still, offer to be the “designated driver” and stick to non-alcoholic beverages throughout a party can all help prevent IBS symptoms.

Give Your Gut a Break

Start your days with healthy breakfasts. Yoghurt is especially good for boosting “friendly” gut bacteria, which will help keep your digestive system on track and ease digestive discomfort; stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and ease wind and constipation by sipping peppermint tea.

Managing IBS Over the Festive Season

Finally, there is always a chance that, regardless of how hard you try to prevent it from happening, you may experience an IBS flare up during the festive season. Keeping a suitable treatment to get relief from your symptoms handy is therefore a must. Available from stockists across the UK, silicolgel may be the perfect answer – why not get some today?

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