Dr Simon Smale is a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist based in York.

He has worked with IBS patients for over 25 years, and we recently conducted an interview with him to discuss how the treatment of IBS has changed.

Our short excerpt focuses on the self-management of IBS:

What self-management steps would you recommend for IBS patients?

”It can be challenging – firstly patients need a firm diagnosis, after this dietary changes can be made – eating regular meals, avoiding excess caffeine and fizzy pop, then thinking about exclusion diets. Also, consider your lifestyle; sleep, stress, and exercise are all important.”

What else can a patient do to look for support?

” Self-management of IBS is not just about the patient doing everything on their own. The IBS network has lots of information for patients. People can also seek advice from their GP or other healthcare professionals. Access can sometimes be challenging, and I would like to see this improve.”

Do you see IBS as a lifetime condition?

”I think many patients find strategies for managing their condition so that it doesn’t become such a problem, but I suspect that all patients with a formal diagnosis of IBS probably have a predisposition to get recurrent symptoms if they are exposed to the right triggers. So I think it is a lifelong condition even if you are managing it.”

You can watch the full interview with Dr Smale here.