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.