The Hard Truth About IBS

A reader posted that he hopes I’m feeling better, since I haven’t posted in a while. I must first apologize for being so negligent with this blog, and I’d like to recommit to my goal of writing at least one weekly post.

Second, let’s face the hard truth about IBS. Once you have it, you have it for the rest of your life. There’s no real “cure” for IBS, no magic pill you can take that will let you eat whatever you want, at least not in my experience. Even the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (that’s a mouthful) says IBS does not have a cure.

When I was in the process of getting my diagnosis, I was in so much pain I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house. When my symptoms first started, I was in the middle of an internship I had to give up because my advisor said she “couldn’t have an intern that was getting sick all the time.” This, coming from a woman who barely showed up to work three days a week, but that’s besides the point. So I moved back home and went through over six months of tests to see if there were other problems — Crohn’s disease, cancer, whatever — causing my symptoms, but it all came back negative. I had one doctor prescribe anti-spasmodic pills, but they honestly didn’t do much for me. Another doctor prescribed pills to ease bloating, which also just didn’t really do anything. I realized fairly quickly that IBS wasn’t something I could mask with a pill.

I read Heather Van Vorous’ book “Eating for IBS” and discovered that radically changing my diet was the only way to get relief from IBS symptoms. I have found that some of her advice doesn’t work for me, just proving the fact that IBS is different for every person. And I’m still discovering foods that I simply can’t eat, or else I’ll suffer the wrath of an angry colon. I’ve also accepted that diarrhea is my norm and probably will be forever.

I’ll never be “all better.” Phew. I think part of dealing with IBS is accepting those hard truths. And now that I accept it, I can be proactive about making life easier.

The “cure” for IBS is modifying your diet. And I’m hoping here I can pass on what I’ve learned to make it easier for you, too. Stay tuned.

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5 thoughts on “The Hard Truth About IBS

  1. I’m so happy I’m truly not alone. I’ve suffered from IBS for the last 5 years but Since my grandpa passed in August of last year I feel I’ve just gotten worse. I’m either extremely constipated or have extreme diarrhea but usually solves itself in a few days. The last few weeks have been really ruff, constant diarrhea. The urgent care doctor prescribed lomotil but its not working like I hoped it would. I hope its just the stress of my upcoming Fundoplication Surgery for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)(which is getting scheduled on Tuesday). I feel like a total wreck, as I’m sure most IBS suffers do.

    I hope we both get some sort of relief soon.

    • As I’ve posted, I also have an anxiety disorder. I find during times of anxiety and stress, my IBS symptoms get worse, so I’m sure that is some of what you’re experiencing. I’d recommend some relaxation exercises, and definitely try aloe for your GERD. I had a friend basically cure her reflux by drinking aloe on a daily basis. I hope your surgery goes well, and I also hope you get some relief.

      • Thanks. As far as my heartburn goes I take Zantac twice a day, 300 mg at a time and Maalox in between usually a bottle a week. Because of the damage to my esophagus the doctor said Fundoplication Surgery for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) surgery was my best option. Where the IBS is concerned is has gotten worse in the last month or so. I take bentyl for the cramps and Imodium when needed. Right now its what I call the “explosion” episodes where it hits you all of a sudden with no warning. This has been going on for nearly 3 weeks now. It takes weeks to get in to see my normal doctor and all the Urgent care could do for me was Lomotil and tell me I needed blood work (that they couldnt order). They said I needed the blood work done to see if I had a bacterial infection but since it was urgent care he couldnt order the tests I needed. So Im trying to take my days as they come. I’ll be calling the doctor again tomorrow to see if the regular hour nurses can help me get the blood work ordered.

        I agree. Im sure some of this is from surgery related stress and some could be from the stress the GERD is causing. I read an article some where that GERD ‘could’ be a contributing factor in IBS but I couldn’t find much about it. So I don’t know for sure. I’m on ativan 1 mg pills as needed but I try not to take them too often. I don’t want to become dependent on something like that. and if I take them as prescribed I become a zombie (not fun).

        I’m not working due to the fact my IBS flair ups happen a lot and then its diarrhea it wipes all my energy out of me. I don’t have insurance. I tried getting medicaid but all they said they could offer me was “Family Planning Medicaid” which only covers pap smears and birth control. So I’m basically shit out of luck.

        Sorry so long… just trying to get my story out there, in case someone might have some ideas I haven’t tried.

        Thanks for listening.

      • These are the kind of stories that break my heart. I hope you get some relief after your surgery, and keep us posted on your progress. I’ll keep posting some ideas that should hopefully help you out.

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