How To Live With IBS
Living with IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is like walking a tightrope every day wondering if you should stay home or brave the outside world. You don't want to have an attack in public.
And if not yet retired the working life becomes very tricky to navigate.
This is how I live with IBS and you can also manage your symptoms well enough to love your life and keep it in a healthy balance. Suggestions for help listed below.
For those who don't know what IBS is, an attack is a sudden uncontrollable, sometimes exploding episode of diarrhea. Not socially acceptable, not to discuss with others. Mostly, just with your doctor.
Causes for this condition are still a puzzle for most doctors and a good one will tell you that. Foods, definitely, are the basis for the irritation in your colon. But what causes it in some folks and not in others is still a mystery.
Sometimes this condition appears after an illness or procedure requiring an antibiotic. My off and on condition ramped up in frequency and intensity after having cataract surgery and months later a root canal, both requiring an antibiotic for protection from further infections.
The explanation for this result is that the drug used kills off the resident bacteria in your colon leaving, for some reason, more bad bugs than good ones.
The solution advised by doctors is to take a probiotic to replace the good ones and hopefully prevent the colon attacks of diarrhea and boomerang constipation.
I found a probiotic online (details below) and took one capsule in the morning and one at night and it regulated the episodes until they stopped. And I could leave the house knowing that I would not have to rush back as fast as possible.
The condition did not leave me but became more manageable. There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. One just learns how to live with it.
Other ways to manage the condition is to learn what foods upset your gut. These foods irritate the intestinal lining as they pass through the digestive tract and are not all the same for everyone.
But some of the worst triggers that affect most people are oil in any form even melted butter, insoluble foods like fruits and raw vegetables, coffee for some folks, carbonated drinks, alcohol, red meat.
And all dairy must be tested by each individual as it affects some and not others. Fortunately, I can still eat the cheeses that I love.
Beans need eaten infrequently as the skins are insoluble. All of these do not bother everyone who has IBS, as it affects each person individually.
It is the same with the safer foods, some affect, some don't. Foods with soluble fiber soothe the irritated tissues and need to be eaten first in a meal, especially if on an empty stomach.
Some of the best foods here are oatmeal, rice, pasta, potatoes, French bread and sourdough bread, soy, and barley. These foods soothe and fill the colon preventing it from expelling its contents in an unwanted explosion.
Living alone with this condition, at least, permits you to experiment with foods without having to share the kitchen or cook for someone else. It permits you privacy in your own home for dealing with the symptoms.
Of course, this also means that no one is there to care for you or give you the sympathy you think you deserve.
I speak from experience. My condition has bedeviled me for several years now, off and on, depending on the foods I eat. Doctors advice was to eat different foods, one at a time, to see what would cause the cramps and bloating that would herald an attack.
Finding the foods that work for you, getting enough sleep, and trying to reduce the stress in your life become the routines you need to live with if you want a life worth living. It can be done with care and others' help.
And, of course, the first help you should get to deal with this incurable condition is your doctor's concern and sympathy. Find one who deals with this illness and has some training in nutrition.
Or else is willing to learn what works best for you. A kind doctor's interest is invaluable with this puzzle.
A Lancet medical journal abstract advises that taking L-Glutamine will repair the damaged intestinal lining. This is available over the counter as a daily supplement.
Also organic apple cider vinegar such as the Bragg brand helps rebuild the irritated and misbehaving gut. A teaspoon in liquid taken before meals provides enough to start needed repair.
The probiotic I found online and took, with the doctor's permission, is the All-Natural IBS Remedy a bottle of 60 capsules. It is a combination of psyllium, acai, slippery elm, aloe, a green algae, papaya, and lycopene. All natural substances that calm and soothe the gut lining.
I took one in the morning and one at night and it regulated the episodes until they slowed enough that I could live safely around them. I could leave the house knowing that I would not have to rush back as fast as possible.
The condition did not leave me but episodes became less often and were mostly predictable. There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. One just learns how to live with it.
There are now numbers of websites online dealing with IBS. One such is a blog named MommyOnPurpose.com by a young woman from Canada. Her husband developed this condition causing her to research it extensively.
And then she wrote up their experience with the pros and cons of treatment. I recommend her site for more detailed information and references to read.
The best advice I found that works for me is from a book, Eating For IBS by Heather Van Vorous, who has lived with it since she was a child. She lists some of the worst foods that will trigger an attack for most people and also lists ones that will soothe an irritated intestine.
Her book also has over a hundred recipes, tried and true by her, that are safe to eat. She and her husband have founded the largest organization for Irritable Bowel Syndrome information which can be contacted at their website, www.helpforibs.com.
Click into this one-of-a-kind website, especially for her IBS Diet Kit and get a boost to health and an easier life.
This IBS is one of life's less desirable conditions to live with, alone or not. But you can live well with attention to what you eat and how your body reacts to it.
At all times in your life, good or bad, ill or not, this is what you want to do while you are here. Live well. And love your life!