When symptoms flair-up, most people panic and make haphazard treatment changes. A better approach is to pause, observe the symptoms and allow them to subside naturally. If the symptoms don’t subside, pausing will help you make thoughtful treatment changes.
Flair-Ups often lead to haphazard changes.
What happens when your symptoms get worse? Typically, this triggers a panicky reaction to find a solution. Example of haphazard changes include:
- Researching on the internet
- Starting new treatments – such as supplements, medications, diets.
- Booking appointments with health care providers
- Eliminating suspected foods
When symptoms flair-up, they often improve on their own.
For most people, symptoms fluctuate – better on some days, worse on others. When symptoms are at their worst, they will likely improve due to natural fluctuation. Unfortunately, people often start new treatments when symptoms flair-up and they may incorrectly attribute the improvement to the new treatment.
Haphazard changes may lead to unnecessary treatments, especially if it is a repetitive cycle.
I help clients on a restricted diet to expand their intake. A common history of how clients have gotten on an overly- restricted diet is eliminating foods after a symptom flair-up, repeatedly. Joe is a good example. He suffered from bouts of acid indigestion, which usually lasted for about two weeks. After the first bout, he eliminated dairy and gluten. A few months later, he had another bout and eliminated a long list of foods based on food sensitivity testing. This pattern continued until he was eating a very restricted diet and did not know what (if any) foods were bothering him.
Pause and observe symptoms before making changes.
A better approach is to pause when you have a symptom flair-up. Resist the urge to react and make changes. Easier said than done! Here are some tips to put this concept into action:
- Expect fluctuations. Symptoms tend to better on some days (or periods of time) and worse on others. You may be feeling bad right now, but this does not mean that your symptoms are permanently worse.
- Observe your thoughts. Common thoughts include – What caused this? How bad am I going to get? I was doing so well; it’s not fair that I am feeling lousy again? These thoughts create anxiety which can make your symptoms worse and lead to haphazard changes.
- Calm your body and mind. Rather than making haphazard changes, focus on self-care. Take extra time for gentle breathing or other activities that calm your body and mind. See Minimize Food Sensitivity Through Mindful Habits.
- Make thoughtful changes when you are calm. If your symptoms don’t subside, treatment changes may be necessary. However, taking the time to pause, observe your symptoms and wait until you are in a calmer mindset will help you to make rational, systematic treatment changes.
Does this article sound familiar? I can help you learn to pause when you experience food sensitivity symptom flair-ups.