"I was diagnosed with IBS less than a year ago, though I've been suffering severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea for about four years. I believe the onset of my symptoms is related to my having babies and/or the dysfunction of my thyroid. When I am pre-menstrual I am at my worst and most sensitive. Anything will trigger an attack. The use of a heat pack has been the most remarkable discovery I have made. I heat it up in a microwave and place it directly on my lower abdomen, while I lie down and try to relax. What a fantastic help! It has actually stopped my cramps on the spot.
The heat relaxes everything and makes me feel better immediately. The hotter the pack the better - if the pack is too hot in some places I just use a small towel underneath. It can go with me wherever I need to be, can be reheated again if it gets cold, and it gives me some security and confidence when going out, which otherwise can be so scary. Alternatively, a hot bath, especially with essential oils in it, can be useful too. This is a new discovery for me, but a goody. I'd like to pass it on!"
Yep, just plain old heat can provide unparalleled relaxation and help prevent stress-related attacks, as well as relieve abdominal cramps once they've already begun. If you have access to a Jacuzzi, steam bath, or sauna, take advantage of this and try engaging in regular sessions of heat-induced bliss. A hot oil massage, especially with aromatherapy, can work wonders too. Make a particular effort to try heat therapy right before any upcoming stressful event it's a great pre-emptive strike. It doesn't take much effort to try this approach. A simple hot bath will do, or even a long hot shower. You can also wrap yourself up in an electric blanket, or apply a hot water bottle or heat pack directly to your abdomen.
Use of a heat pack is particularly beneficial for women when it's used in anticipation of menstrual cramps. Try direct, intense lower abdominal heat the day and night before you expect to be in pain, and odds are you will significantly lessen both your cramps and the likelihood of a related IBS attack.
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