Updated June 2022 by Serena Bansal BSc Hons RD
On the first day of Christmas my IBS gave to me – Bloating all day
This IBS flare up was caused by all the stress of the Christmas period. Try to take at least 20 minutes out each day to relax with a good book or go for a walk.
Click here for some more advice around looking after your mental health at Christmas.
On the second day of Christmas my IBS gave to me – Bloating all day and slight stomach pains
This was caused by constipation – because you haven’t been eating enough fibre. It may be Christmas but make sure you are getting at least your ‘5 x 80g portions a day.’
On the third day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- Bloating all day and slight stomach pains which have now turned into a constant stomach pain
This was caused by lack of fluid, you may have increased your fibre intake, but because you have been out of your normal routine, your fluid intake is rubbish. Make sure you carry a water bottle around with you to keep on top of it!
On the fourth day of Christmas, my IBS gave to me – Loose stools in the morning
This was caused by a combination of the build up of gas, constipation and stress. Make sure you follow the above steps to avoid it!
On the fifth day of Christmas my IBS gave to me – Nausea
You can’t work this one out as you are following the above steps. However, this time it was caused by all the rich food. Many people find it difficult to eat fatty foods such as cream/cake/chocolate and at Christmas we tend to gorge.
Instead, limit yourself to smaller portions or keep a food diary of the snacks you eat as a reminder of the accumulative affect the small things can have.
On the sixth day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- Constipation and bloating
(Oh and I also have a sore head)
This is quite simply the alcohol you drank last night. Alcohol is drug which causes your body to become dehydrated and also affects the bowels to cause bloating.
If you have had some bubbly you can easily make this even worse. The best way to avoid this is to follow the above steps, drink water in between alcoholic drinks and then make sure you are well hydrated the next day.
On the seventh day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- Stomach cramps and loose stools
Well, unless you have have food poisoning, these symptoms may be caused by caffeine. Like alcohol, caffeine can affect some people’s bowels. At Christmas time, we drink a lot more than what we would do normally.
This may be because you have changed to using fresh coffee for guests (instant is a lot lower in caffeine), are mixing your drinks with diet coke, eating more chocolate or having things like coffee after your 3 course Christmas meals. Whatever it is, be VERY aware! As an alternative, why not mix drinks with caffeine free mixers, buy in some fancy loose leaf tea or go decaf.
On the eighth day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- Bloating and and constipation
Although hectic, Christmas is a pretty inactive time; most days are filled by sitting around eating food. This will cause the digestive system to slow down and if you are prone to bloating, you can almost guarantee you will be suffering.
Instead, incorporate a 30 minute walk in each day. This may sound like a lot by there are 24 hours in the day and so I am sure you could spare 1/2 of one: 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back.
On the ninth day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- Heartburn
Heart burn is caused by acid in the stomach coming up your throat. If this is something you suffer with then please be aware that the Christmas combination of stress, alcohol, constipation, large portion sizes and fatty foods WILL make this worse. Just follow the above steps to avoid it.
On the tenth day of Christmas my IBS gave to me – LOTS of bloating
This time it was caused by irregular eating. Your body loves loves loves regular habits and not eating your 3 meals a day WILL cause bloating. Even if you have had a large lunch, then have a light evening meal such as a poached egg on toast, a sandwich or bowl of cereal.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- Bloating, loose stools and lots of wind
We tend to eat large portions of FODMAPs at Christmas. Even if you have trialled this diet, and found you can tolerate most FODMAPs, these foods do tend to have an accumulative affect. And, it takes around 6 – 24 hours for your gut to react.
Instead, try to keep to normal portion sizes of foods, trial using garlic oil instead of garlic, use the green tops of spring onions instead of onions and make use of low FODMAP fruits. This is not the full low FODMAP diet, but a small reduction could really help your symptoms at Christmas.
Check out some of my low FODMAP Christmas recipes here.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my IBS gave to me- No symptoms
If you have followed the above advice, it is likely you will have a symptom free Christmas
Just to summarise;
- 20 minutes of relaxing a day
- At least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce fat intake
- Stay hydrated when drinking alcohol
- Be wary of caffeine
- 30 minutes walking a day
- 3 meals a day
- Keep portion sizes of FODMAPs to a minimum.
If you would like help with your IBS, book a free 15 minute phone consultation today with me Dietitian Kirsten today to get specialised advice for your symptoms.