Supporting those living with IBS
IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a disease with no cure affecting millions across the globe, meaning that a person can only manage it, making it a chronic illness. It affects a person’s lifestyle to a significant extent, meaning that, to live relatively healthy lives they need support from those around them to cope. Given the nature of the disease, one can feel helpless to help the person suffering from IBS. Here, we’ll provide tips to set you in the right direction to support those around you.
Research about the disease
Most people act out of ignorance when dealing with people with IBS. They will perhaps suggest food options that the person cannot consume and then suggest cures after. It not only shows a lack of consideration but it also comes across as quite insensitive, of which it is. If someone around you, a family member, friend or colleague, tell you they are suffering from IBS, take some time to look up online journals that detail what the illness is, the symptoms, what it means to live with it and how one can manage it. That way, you’ll become more sensitive to their needs and become a better support system.
Those with IBS have to stick to a strict diet and therefore dragging someone you love to a pizza café that does not offer gluten-free wheat options would be setting them up for stomach problems later on in the day. For that reason, instead of having your way with regards to what you want to eat, become considerate in asking what they can eat that won’t affect them. Go out of your way to find out a restaurant’s menu option in their restaurant supply refrigerator is beforehand to avoid inconveniences.
Taking these steps will help them avoid foods that trigger symptoms. Not everyone is the same so find out what specific foods affect them. That, for them, shows that you care and are willing to support them. It doesn’t stop at the restaurant level. If you’re planning an event you can ask for their input as well.
Try a different pallet
Part of being flexible is trying new things. You don’t want to complain about each meal you have that is different from what your staple is. Appreciate that it takes time to change one’s pallet. While at it, work on not commenting on a person’s food choices as it makes them all the more aware of what they are going through. It leaves them feeling guilty that they are an inconvenience. Part of being supportive then is trying something new; you can always have your favorite meal another day.