Lifestyle changes

Advise your patients on appropriate lifestyle changes to help manage their IBS symptoms. Adapted from NICE guidelines[1]

Encourage your patient to take control of their life and help manage their symptoms in an effective manner.

Keeping fit in mind and body

Most people with IBS find that regular exercise and relaxation helps with their symptoms.

  • Suggest they identify activities they enjoy so to make the most out of their leisure time
  • Encourage patients to create relaxation time, whether it's reading a book, taking a walk or having a relaxing bath
  • Assess physical activity levels and for those with low activity levels give brief advice on ways they could increase their activity. Perhaps they could try different exercise classes to find out what they enjoy most.


For many IBS sufferers, looking at their diet is one of the first things to consider when managing their symptoms. Although triggers vary from person to person, common ones are:

  • Caffeine (e.g. tea, coffee)
  • Fizzy drinks and alcohol
  • Fresh fruit
  • Processed foods (e.g. crisps and biscuits)
  • High-fibre food (e.g wholemeal, bran cereals, brown rice)

Whilst it may be challenging to eliminate these completely from their diet, eating the right diet can really make a difference to the symptoms of IBS. For example, NICE suggests restricting tea and coffee to 3 cups a day.[1]