Post # 1
I was diagnosed with IBS about a year ago. I’m sure I’ve had it for longer than that. Over the past 3 or 4 years it has really started interfering with my life. I sometimes can’t make it to work (45 min drive) without having to pull over at a gas station somewhere along the way. I’m worried to go out to fancy dinners, road trips and plane rides are agonizing to even think about, and now I’m worried I’ll have problems at the wedding.
I know it is pretty common and I’m honestly not really embarrassed about it. It’s more frustrating than anything else. I’ve gone to the doctor and they’ve given me two different medications, neither of which really do anything.
Do any of you have tips or suggestions for getting it a little better under control? I’ve heard that cutting certain foods can help, but I’m not sure which ones. I go to the gym about three times a week and I’m pretty healthy, not overweight (140lbs, 5’6”). I don’t eat a whole lot of junk food, but I’m not a health nut either. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Post # 2
I had the diagnosis of IBS, for 15 years. I was misreable. It later turned out to be celiacs. I would try going gluten free. I have family that also were misdiagnosed as having IBS and really ended up having chrons and/or celiacs. In general I feel IBS is a blanket term, for when they dont know what is causing the true issue. Celiac and Chron’s cause a lot of damage over time and its hard to detect at first. If possible go to other doctors for a second opinion and an allergist to get tested for food allergies (could be that too). Also have work drawn up on your vitamin & nutrition levels since you are having chronic D, I would think they may be off.
From my IBS days (pre gluten free) I had a self imposed strict eating schedule. I would not eat much in the morning, if anything. That helped eliminate issues in the morning/afternoon. While that is not ideal for everyone, if you dont have anything in your system pushing through, then you wont have to run to a bathroom ASAP. I found that timing the time between eating and running to the bathroom helped in making the issues more predictable.
Safe foods (that also happened to be GF) that always helped were rice, bananas and apples. If i was starving in the morning I’d eat rice or rice cereal (like rice crispies) and a banana.
Things I would avoid: eggs, coffee, all dairy products, tea.
Good luck! I hope you feel better and that on your big day you have a good stomach day!
Post # 3
MechEBee: I’ve been recently having GI issues as well, and wanted to figure out whats going on. I have a family history of Ulcerative Colitis (both mom and sister) so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t that.
Doctor first suggested IBS, and told me to elimiate the foods on the FODMAP (If you google, you will get a ton of resouces on what foods are triggers and not–if you haven’t already). I didn’t realize it, but my favorite fruits were some of the biggest triggers. After being very strict on cutting out these items (eating out was tough), I realized what my triggers are.
Try it out for a week or two, and see if you notice any difference. I know the PP mentioned Apples, but they are one of the highest FODMAP producing foods. I always hated apples when I was younger and told my mom they gave me stomach aches and she thought I was crazy, but it turns out I’m not too crazy after all.
Post # 4
SparkleBee11: Thank you for the advice. The reason it took me so long to go to the doctor was because I knew he would tell me it was IBS and I wouldn’t have a real “diagnosis.” Not that IBS isn’t a real problem, but I agree that there has to be something else underlying. The weird thing is that I’ve always had a “nervous” stomach. Like interviews, first day at work, first day at school, parties where I don’t know people… stuff like that. Adrenaline induced I think. But over the last 3-4 years it’s been happening during mundane things that were never a problem before: plane rides, road trips, driving to work, at home doing nothing, at restaurants. Sometimes I have issues every day.
I’ve tried dairy free and cutting out red meats and eating healthier, but never tried gluten free. That would be very hard for me since I’m huge into pastas and breads and other gluten ridden food. But if it would help, I’d be willing to try it. Do you know if it can come on later in life? I never had problems until I was 21 or 22.
Post # 5
MechEBee: pp are right about checking for celiac.
But I just avoid foods that push me over the top, like too much cheese, or greasy foods. I eat lots of natural fibers.
Post # 6
ADiamondInTheRough: Thanks, I hadn’t heard of this before. I’ll take a look into it.
Post # 7
Cutting back on gluten and sugar helped me so much. I have bad anxiety which triggers IBS, but IBS also triggers my anxiety (its such a fun game!) I notice I feel so much better if I dont eat any gluten and if I do I make sure I also have protien with it And that helps immensely.
Post # 8
BWLE: Gluten and sugar are my favorite things. Haha. I’m not much into salty and greasy, but I do love gluten and sugar. I have the same cycle with the IBS and anxiety. I feel your pain. 🙁
Post # 9
SparkleBee11: This. I don’t eat in the morning or early afternoon. I know it’s not healthy, but that’s just how I’ve learned to deal until I can afford a doctor.
For flights and car rides, I also don’t eat all day, until a few hours before landing so I know i’ll be near a bathroom when it kicks up.
Post # 10
jenilynevette: Thats about where I’m at currently. But sometimes if I don’t eat anything, it’s just water. (Sorry for the TMI). I’m kind of at my wit’s end with it. It just seems to be getting worse every year.
Post # 11
I feel you, IBS can really suck… I work as a counselor in a school, and sometimes I think “hey, kiddo, could you please have a crisis when my bowels are not screaming at me?”. A big thing that helped me was cutting out artificial sweeteners… you’d be surprised how often they show up in your food (gum, mints, candy) and the havoc they wreak on your system. I cut way down on gluten and sugar and that also seemed to help.
Post # 12
I think triggers are different for everyone, so I would definitely recommend keeping a food diary (which is a pain the butt) at least for awhile to see what seems to make your symptoms worse. It sounds like you’re pretty miserable right now and the food diary won’t help too much until you can get the symptoms under control a bit. I would do a very plain diet for a few days just to see if you can start to feel a little better–do you have any really safe foods? White rice, egg whites, plain boiled chicken breast are on my “when I feel awful, these should be okay” list. Sometimes it takes a couple of days to get my symptoms settled down, so if I’m in a bad spell and cut back to just eating egg whites and rice, it might be 2 days until I start feeling like they’re not also making it worse.
FODMAPs were definitely a key for me; apples and pears are two of my favorite foods and they were definitey aggravating tummy symptoms. Now I can have one once in awhile as a treat as long as I’m doing okay otherwise. I can’t tolerate garlic or onion almost at all, so I’ve had to cut those completely (they are in everything, wah!)
I take align probiotics daily and also use acacia fiber (mix 2 tsp in water) daily which has been huge in getting my symptoms under more control. I still have flare-ups (especially if I cheat on eating) but it’s gotten better.
The Yogi Stomach Ease tea also helps me a lot (and tastes good).
Going lacto-paleo (I eat mostly paleo but still eat dairy, especially plain Greek yogurt almost daily) has helped, too.
Sorry you are so miserable! Yes, it can get better!
Post # 13
The best thing that helps me is eating small meals all day. If I have one bite too much, it’s just horrible. I snack on food pretty much all day long and only eat about half a snadwich for lunch, and like 3-4 bites of something for dinner. What surprised me was on our honeymoon in Mexico I was never sick once, but Darling Husband was. Limiting greasy foods also helped. I’ve had this my whole life and used muscle relaxers a lot in like high school but not so much now.
Post # 14
MechEBee: Research yeast cleanses. I believe IBS is a cop-out diagnosis for other resolvable issues. Yeast in the intestinal tract (made even worse by consuming sugar) can cause severe bowel irritation. It was the only thing that helped me and was directed by a naturopathic doctor. No more “IBS”. No more rushing home from a restaurant mid-meal.
Also, yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract casuses massive sugar cravings, so when you said you love sugar and gluten…well, might be an indicator.
Post # 15
msvelociraptor: Thanks! I actually already don’t eat artivicial sweeteners. I found when I was about 7 or 8 that they gave me headaches, so I avoid them. No diet soda or sugar free sweets for me.
That sucks about working with kids. Luckily most of the time my job I’m at a desk so I can just get up. But there are times I’m in meetings or something and I’ll have to leave. It REALLY sucks when I’m out in the field. I have to “suit up” in a jump suit and a respirator and go through decon to leave (I work in the nuclear industry). Most of my coworkers know I have issues so they understand when I have to leave. A little embarassing, but better than having to abandon them without reason. They’ve all been pretty cool about it.