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How to Relieve IBS Pain Instantly: 8 Tips to Feel Better

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How to Relieve IBS Pain Instantly: 8 Tips to Feel Better

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause painful abdominal cramping, bloating, and bathroom urgency. 
  • There are several strategies to help you relieve IBS pain instantly, including medications and physical and mental approaches.  
  • A registered dietitian specializing in IBS can help you achieve long-term symptom relief to help you feel your best. 

Irritable bowel syndrome is the simultaneous presence of several gastrointestinal symptoms. Commonly, this includes bloating, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation (sometimes a mix of both), and abdominal pain and cramping. 

Finding relief when pain strikes can help you instantly feel more comfortable. In this article, you’ll learn our tips to help you find IBS pain relief instantly (or as close as you can get). 

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How Long Do IBS Attacks Last?

An irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) attack, or an IBS flare-up, can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Your body’s ability to heal will depend on how well you manage your symptoms and how quickly your gastrointestinal system can recover. 

Factors that can exacerbate IBS attacks include:

8 Tips To Instantly Relieve IBS Pain 

IBS pain can strike unexpectedly and get in the way of your day. Although no miracle cure for instant pain relief exists, our tips may improve your symptoms and help decrease the pain. 

When you feel better, you should follow up with your dietitian afterward to discuss your experiences and long-term solutions to prevent another painful episode. 

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1. Take an Anti-Spasmodic Medication 

Changes in gut motility (the contractions that occur along your gastrointestinal tract to move food through) can be painful and feel like intense cramping in your lower stomach region. An anti-spasmodic medication can help relieve these painful sensations during an IBS flare-up.  

Many of these medications are only available via prescription. You do not need to take these medications daily, only when you need to relieve IBS pain instantly. Ask your doctor to review the pros and cons of starting this treatment. 

2. Try Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil can help manage pain related to IBS. The menthol and methyl salicylate compounds naturally found in peppermint oil perform similar functions in the gut as an antispasmodic medication and help to relieve painful cramping. Peppermint oil is available at most pharmacies and does not require a prescription. 

Peppermint oil is not recommended for people with heartburn, severe gastroesophageal reflux, or pregnant and lactating women. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns about the safety of using peppermint oil.

3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation 

Applying mindfulness practices to your daily routine can help decrease the severity of your IBS symptoms. Research revealed that people who pay attention to tasks and retain present focus are likelier to have less intense IBS symptoms. 

You can develop your mindfulness practices by eliminating distractions: put your phone away while eating, turn off the TV at meals, and focus on the tastes and flavors of your dish. Enjoying the present moment helps your body remain calm and can increase your satisfaction with eating. 

4. Follow a Low FODMAP Diet

FODMAPS includes several different types of carbohydrates that can be difficult for some people to digest. Instead of passing through the bowel, small molecular chains of high FODMAP carbohydrates ferment in the gut and aggravate painful IBS symptoms. 

Opting for low FODMAP foods can lessen digestive symptoms and potentially ease IBS pain. You can follow our ultimate low FODMAP grocery list for ideas on what to buy.

Although these foods may provide instant IBS pain relief, the low FODMAP approach is restrictive and should only be followed short term. It is recommended that you follow this eating plan under the guidance of a registered dietitian for best results. 

If you need help making dietary changes, consider booking an online appointment with a Nourish dietitian specializing in gut health. 

5. Use Heat to Ease Cramping Muscles

A heating pad or hot water bottle can help ease the cramping muscles surrounding your digestive system. To find relief, gently press the heating pad against your stomach and try to relax by focusing your mind on your breathing. These steps help keep your central nervous system calm for faster symptom relief.

If you find it difficult to focus on relaxation, try completing a body scan to identify and release muscle tension. While the heating pad is on your stomach, focus on your toes.

If they are curled, gently uncurl them and allow them to rest in a natural position.

Move your attention upwards to your legs, stomach, arms, fingers, eyebrows, and tongue. If you notice tension, try to relax the muscles while practicing deep belly breathing. 

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6. Take a Hot Bath

Immersing your body in warm water can create a sense of calm and relaxation. Taking a hot bath and experiencing a feeling of weightlessness in the water may improve your IBS symptoms.

The stimulating effects of hot water appear to ease stress and anxiety and increase blood flow throughout the body. This can help supply fresh oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and tissues and promote recovery after a painful IBS flare-up. 

7. Drink Warm Tea or Water

Drinking a soothing hot tea may help some people feel better. Although there is little evidence to suggest a hot drink will calm IBS symptoms, it can promote relaxation, which is essential for recovery.  

Try to choose a caffeine-free option (because caffeine stimulates the gut), such as an herbal tea or unflavored warm water. Ginger's soothing benefits have been researched for centuries, and modern findings suggest the natural compounds in the plant may ease nausea in some people. 

8. Seek Medical Treatment When Necessary

Pain is a signal from your body of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Too often, the severity of pain is discounted, leading to delays in medical care. If you experience sharp, breathtaking pain, you should visit your medical team immediately. Milder but lingering pain also requires attention. 

Medical treatment may involve prescription medications to manage your symptoms. You may be asked to complete medical diagnostic tests (such as bloodwork or imaging like ultrasounds and X-rays.)

The most important thing is that you will be in the hands of the experts who can help you feel better and return to your daily activities. 

How a Dietitian Can Help

While finding temporary relief from IBS pain is important you can achieve long-term relief by working with a dietitian specializing in gut health. 

If you’ve never met with a dietitian, you may be unsure of what questions to ask. Here are examples of questions that may be helpful to ask during your nutrition appointment: 

To prepare for your visit, document your eating habits and IBS symptoms in a diary before your appointment. You can write this on your phone, bring a handwritten journal, or photograph your meals to accompany your notes. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get immediate relief from IBS pain?

When IBS pain strikes, you should focus on getting into a position that feels the most comfortable to you. This may be lying down, curling into a ball, or standing under a hot shower. Try to find a way to relax and avoid eating trigger foods that may exacerbate your symptoms. If the pain persists or intensifies, follow up with your doctor.

What settles an IBS attack?

Eliminating trigger foods can help settle an IBS attack instantly. Limit your intake of spicy foods, high-fat meals, and carbonated beverages. Try to calm your mind and ease any stress or anxious thoughts by completing mindfulness exercises. You cannot rush the healing process; staying compliant with these changes will help your body recover as quickly as possible.

What is the best pain medicine for an IBS flare-up?

Anti-spasmodic medications may help decrease pain in an IBS flare-up. Popular options include Bentyl, Nevsin, and NuLev. Your doctor can review specific medication brands with you to help you decide the best option.

References

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