The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as stomach cramps and bloating, can be detrimental to ones social life. Many people find themselves avoiding social events they once loved because of the fear of an IBS flare-up. If you’ve started to decline invitations to dine out because of your IBS, it’s time to take back your life.
Avoid Trigger Foods
During the day, you’ll need to steer clear of things that can trigger your symptoms. Everyone responds a little differently, so it’s a good idea to create a list of foods you know are safe and stick to it when dining out.
Ask the restaurant to substitute trigger foods for safe foods when necessary. If you don’t have a safe list, you should avoid some of the most common triggers:
. Caffeine and alcohol
. Fatty or fried foods
. Red meat
. Some types of vegetables (beans, broccoli, onions, garlic, and uncooked salads)
. Sweeteners, spices, dressings, and condiments
Stress can make the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome much worse, so it’s important to stay as relaxed as possible. You should try to keep your diary clear on the day you plan to eat out, rescheduling any stressful appointments for other days. You should also make sure that you have plenty of time to dress and prepare for the meal.
Many people who have been diagnosed with IBS struggle when eating out because they fail to plan ahead. Before heading out to dinner, you should carry out the following steps to nip problematic situations in the bud.
. Eat several small meals of “safe foods” throughout the day. Doing so will stop your stomach from feeling bloated or irritated before you head out to the restaurant.
. Choose a restaurant in advance and look over the menu for suitable food options before you go. Call ahead and ask if you’re unsure whether a meal has symptom-inducing ingredients.
. Learn the layout of the restaurant and ask for seating that allows you to excuse yourself from the table discreetly if you need to visit the bathroom.
. Drive yourself to the restaurant or arrange for alternative transport in case you need to leave before the rest of your party.
IBS doesn’t have to be the end of your social life. By following these tips, you can take control of your IBS and enjoy good company and great food.