What its like to have chronic IBS

disclaimer: this post my be tmi for some people so if you don’t want to read about bowel movements, or lack there of I would suggest you come back another day.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with IBS, aka irritable bowel syndrome. For those of you who don’t know IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine and causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea, super fun times!

Back in the day my IBS was pretty manageable I may have an episode (if that’s what you want to call it) once a month maybe twice a month. But for about the past 6 months I have been dealing with some major episodes. I would say about one day a week I feel like a normal person and the rest of the time I feel awful!

I either wake up bloated with a painful stomach ache or a I go to bed with one.

The whole situation is frustrating.

I know that stress aggravates IBS and I am stressed 99.9% of the time. I have issues with handling stress and anxiety and it is something I am really trying to work on. But when you wake up looking like you are 5 months pregnant due to bloat, its hard to calm down.

It’s hard to want to do things because I either a.) have an existing stomach ache and feel bad/gross b.) am afraid I will eat or drink something wrong while I am out and give myself a stomach ache. So you can see the stress creates itself here.

I recently decided to try the FODMaps diet. FODMAPs are carbohydrates found in foods. FODMAPs pull water into the intestinal tract and may not be digested or absorbed well. So, in this diet foods are rated on a scale from low to very high. For 6 weeks one should only eat the things on the low scale and avoid everything high or very high. The foods on the moderate scale should be eaten in moderation and you should not have too many moderate things in a day.

I was resistant to try this at first because I eat such a flipping healthy diet already I couldn’t figure out why I would need to cut things out. But once I did a lot more research I realized at this point I have nothing else to lose and if I wanted to offer myself some relief this might be the only way.

Fortunately there are some great Apps out there to download onto your phone. They tell you what is low, moderate, high and very high. So it helps me easily monitor the things I am going to eat or want to eat to see where they fall on the scale. Unfortunately just about ALL the things I ate on a regular basis are in the high category. Which might explain a lot!? Garlic and onions are on the VERY HIGH scale which makes me really sad, because I love ALL the garlic.

The idea behind the diet is that after the 6 weeks you slowly introduce the high things back in and learn what affects your symptoms more or less.

Right now I am only a week in and in the frustrating stage where I feel like I can’t eat anything. I am sure once I become more accustomed to the things I can and can’t have it will be easier. I am trying to stay optimistic because I only want to feel like a normal person.

I have no eloquent way to end this post and the only reason I wanted to write this post is because I am frustrated with life and needed to get my feelings out. I also feel like many people struggle with IBS and don’t talk about it.

Do you have IBS? How do you deal with it?

What methods have you used the have worked or haven’t worked?

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