One of the ways you can really understand IBS is to look what triggers the gut reaction.  Often people will ask me what do you mean by a trigger?  

A trigger is like the INPUT that starts a reaction or a circuit. It can be from 'outside' or 'inside' the person.  They can be from the enviornment around us such as...."When I see the school bus, I feel........"  or they can be from inside the person- triggered not by the enviornment but by a particular thought that doesn't have to be related to where they.  "I am going to make a mess of this presentation next week!" One thought can then put focus on a whole series of other thoughts.   

In some people they are really obvious, and other times you really have to search for them. Foods can be an obvious trigger, but certain thoughts can also trigger a reaction in the gut.  For example for people who feel socially anxious, the thought of going to a party or a night out can make them stomach do somersaults!  For others going into a situation where they feel out of control like public transport or flying makes their stomach react before the journey.

A challenging trigger to find a way around for may people with digestive problems is the fear that something might happen, they expect their stomach to react and that in itself is stressful! 

The thought of: ‘where is the nearest bathroom...?’

becomes enough to trigger off awareness on the stomach and therefore heighten the chances that symptoms may come at any moment.  Every thought we have creates a biochemical response within the body.  Overtime, the longer we have run certain responses within us, the more automatic they become and the less it can feel that we could ever have control over them again.  Thanks to neuro-plasticity and the ability of our nervous system to continually update and learn new things, we can coach your mind to change these old habits and patterns of thought.

Changing the triggers and finding a way around them is fundamental when someone has quite reactive IBS symptoms, for other people triggers are less important.