Navigating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in the Workplace

Navigating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in the Workplace

Insights from Dr. Latha V. Chandu , (Sr Consultant, UWAY Health) Bangalore’s “renowned” Ayurveda Gastrointestinal Specialist

Navigating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in the Workplace

In bustling Bangalore, known for its vibrant tech industry and dynamic professional landscape, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is becoming a significant concern, particularly among working women. My practice has seen an increase in consultations, not just locally but from various Indian cities, as more professionals seek guidance on managing this challenging condition.

Personal Stories:

Consider Priya (name changed for privacy), a software developer from Hyderabad who reached out to me via online consultation. Like many others, Priya found that her symptoms of IBS worsened due to the stress of looming deadlines and high expectations at work. Then there’s Anjali from Mumbai, who had to navigate client meetings around her unpredictable IBS flare-ups. These stories are not just narratives; they are real challenges faced by real people every day.

Understanding the Impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) on Working Women:

IBS affects about 5-10% of the global population, with a noticeable prevalence among women under 50. In tech hubs like Bangalore, the pressure to perform, the office commute in the horrible traffic, and domestic chores can exacerbate IBS symptoms, making management strategies an essential topic of discussion in my practice.

IBS is not just a physical condition; it encompasses a spectrum of symptoms that can affect every aspect of a person’s life. In the workplace, these symptoms can manifest as physical discomfort, emotional distress, and decreased productivity. The unpredictable nature of IBS symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, or constipation, can disrupt daily routines and make it difficult to focus on tasks at hand.

One of the most challenging aspects of living with IBS in a professional setting is the constant anxiety and worry it can provoke. The fear of experiencing symptoms during important meetings or deadlines can create a persistent state of alertness and apprehension. This heightened stress level can further exacerbate symptoms and impact overall job satisfaction.

Identifying Triggers:

To effectively manage IBS in the workplace, it is crucial to identify the triggers and types of the condition. IBS can have different triggers for different individuals, and common triggers include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, and gastrointestinal infections. By understanding the triggers specific to an individual, it becomes easier to avoid or minimise exposure to these triggers.

Common Triggers of IBS and Their Interplay

Common Triggers of IBS and Their Interplay

This chart provides a clear overview of the typical triggers of IBS and how they interact with each other. Keep these factors in mind to better manage your symptoms.

The Different Types of IBS: A Closer Look:

IBS manifests in several forms, each with distinct challenges:

  1. IBS-C (Constipation Predominant): Marked by persistent constipation, leading to significant discomfort.
  2. IBS-D (Diarrhea Predominant): Involves sudden, frequent bowel movements that can disrupt any workday.
  3. IBS-M (Mixed Bowel Habits): Presents a combination of both symptoms, adding a layer of unpredictability to one’s professional and personal life.

Effective IBS Management Strategies for Working Women

It’s crucial to have a solid plan in place if you’ve been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). To succeed in the workplace, keep these points in mind. Here are some helpful strategies:

1. Diet modifications: Identifying trigger foods and steering clear of them can significantly alleviate symptoms. I often recommend keeping a food diary to track what you eat and any corresponding symptoms.

2. Stress management: Stress can really exacerbate IBS symptoms, so finding healthy outlets like mindfulness techniques, deep breathing exercises, or regular exercise can work wonders in keeping symptoms at bay.

3. Medication: Medication may be necessary, Depending on the severity of symptoms, Antispasmodics, laxatives, or anti-diarrheal medications can provide relief for specific symptoms. However, it’s essential to take after consultation with healthcare professionals to determine the right course of action.

4. Alternative therapies: Some individuals find relief from IBS symptoms through alternative therapies like acupuncture, herbal supplements, or probiotics.While these can be beneficial for some, It is important to discuss these options with a healthcare professional before trying them.

By implementing these management strategies, individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can minimise the impact of their symptoms and improve their overall well-being in the workplace.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment

As your doctor, I understand the challenges of managing IBS in the workplace. With many women returning to work after the lockdown, it’s crucial to create conditions that help you feel understood and comfortable. Here are some tips I share with my patients:

  1. Open Communication: Talk to your employer about your needs. Discuss accommodations, flexible schedules, or access to private restrooms.
  2. Education and Awareness: Educate your colleagues about IBS. Providing resources or requesting the HR to organise a workshop  can reduce stigma and misconceptions.
  3. Accommodations: Request ergonomic workstations, adjustable desks, or short breaks to manage symptoms.

Sometimes, companies may not fully support these needs. In such cases, prioritise self-care and seek support from healthcare providers or patient advocacy groups. Your well-being is paramount.

IBS Management: Ayurvedic and Allopathic Approaches

In Ayurveda, IBS is often seen as a result of an imbalance in your body’s doshas, particularly Vata and Pitta. It’s considered a type of “Grahani” disorder, which affects your digestive system. Especially for those with high-pressure jobs, some symptomatic management might be necessary. However, Ayurveda looks at the body holistically and may be better suited since IBS involves many causative factors. Here’s a simple table for general understanding of IBS management in Ayurveda and Allopathy. Remember, this is just an overview and not a prescription, as treatment varies from person to person.

IBS Management: Ayurvedic and Allopathic Approaches


Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) while maintaining a successful career is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s not insurmountable. With a personalised approach that includes understanding the nature of the syndrome, recognizing triggers, and utilising both traditional and modern therapies, women can find relief and continue to thrive in their professional lives. In Bangalore and beyond, I am committed to helping women navigate the complexities of IBS, ensuring they receive the support and care needed to manage their symptoms effectively. Remember, prioritising your health is essential, not just for personal well-being but for professional success too.

If you’re struggling with Irritable bowel syndrome and finding limited relief from current treatments, reach out to our patient coordinators to explore the potential benefits of Ayurveda and request a consultation with one of our senior doctors specialising in Digestive disorders.

UWAY, follows traditional Kerala ayurveda medical protocol with modern diagnostic techniques for better patient outcomes.

Please feel free to contact us at

Follow Us on Facebook , Instagram LinkedInX


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor