By Gastro MD
The holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, indulging in delicious food, shopping and traveling. But suppose you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive issues. In that case, these holiday festivities and traditions can cause you to stress as you worry about how to enjoy the season without getting sick from all of those tempting dishes and holiday-induced stress.
But don’t fret; we know plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday with fewer tummy troubles. Here’s how:
For many, the holidays bring the opportunity to travel. It can be stressful knowing that nature may call when you’re on the road or somewhere unfamiliar. By planning ahead, you can be prepared in the event your digestive condition flares up. Knowing your destination, research where the restroom facilities are so you don’t find yourself in a mad rush. You should also always carry around a small bag of emergency essentials, including medication, underwear, extra pants, moist towelettes and toilet paper.
This advice also applies if you’re planning on doing a lot of holiday shopping in the malls. Don’t go out unprepared, especially since you may be weaving through crowds all day. Alternatively, you can avoid the stress of holiday shopping and IBS-related embarrassment by choosing to do your gift buying online instead.
Don’t stoke your appetite before parties.
Arriving at the party starving can lead you to make unwise food decisions. If you have IBS and other digestive issues, you may have discovered by now that eating smaller meals throughout the day is better for you. This doesn’t have to change just because you’re invited to dinner parties or brunches during the holiday season.
Eat a small meal before attending a party; this ensures that you have the calories to keep your body going and don’t overeat. And with a relatively satisfied tummy, you’re less likely to give in to the temptation of reaching for food that you know you shouldn’t be having.
Get plenty of rest and relaxation.
We tend to forget that the holiday also offers us the opportunity to relax. Instead, we get caught up in the festivities and feel pressured to attend every gathering and sample every tempting treat. However, fatty food, unrefined carbs and overeating are not the only triggers for IBS symptoms; stress is also high up on that list. This is because of the brain-gut connection and how stress triggers chemicals that impact gut health and function.
So, this holiday, focus on your mental health and wellbeing. Find the time to rest and relax between social engagements—and feel free to RSVP not to a few, especially those you know you won’t enjoy. And always prioritize your sleep because poor sleeping habits can also aggravate IBS, triggering stomach pains and inflammation.
To learn more about managing conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, contact Gastro MD. We are a cutting-edge clinical gastroenterology practice that sets the standard in digestive health care.