IBS Trigger Foods #3: Too Much Salt

Last night for dinner, I had a low sodium lentil soup.  And it was THE SADDEST THING EVER.

Photo: SodaHead

Photo: SodaHead

I was like, man this soup really needs something.  It needed salt, my dear friends…it needed salt.

Do you have IBS?  Stop eating so much bacon.  Don’t touch that salt shaker and flick your wrist until you see those white crystals fall onto your food like unique and beautiful snowflakes.  And don’t hope some of that salt will fall onto the plate or table, forcing you to lick your finger, stick it in the salt, and lick your salty finger.

I discovered over time that having food with too much salt caused one IBS symptom every time — blood in the stool.  And I’m sure most doctors and, hell, let’s say it — ALL PEOPLE — agree blood in your poop is a bad thing.

For me and my body, I find that excess salt made my stool harder, so I would venture to say the blood was from anal fissures because not only was the poo bloody, but also it hurt.  WebMD compares fissures to a paper cut in your butt.  Thanksssssss, guys.

No more bloody poop, I BEG YOU!

No more bloody poop, I BEG YOU!

So what diet changes did I have to make in order to prevent my toilet from going on strike?  I insanely reduced the amount of food I ordered from fast food restaurants, and even restaurants that serve things like teriyaki.  I opted for soup and things that boasted “LOW SODIUM” on the label. I stopped buying frozen dinners completely (HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH SODIUM IS IN THOSE THINGS?!).  Now these two lifestyle changes you might say made for a healthier me.  Of course, but also long gone were the days of a five-minute prep time for dinner.

I also don’t add salt to anything.  I made a lovely salad for my parents, and I told my mom what I was going to put on it, and sadly, she added, “And salt and pepper?”  Little did my mother know I do not even own salt and pepper shakers, and the Morton salt canister is hidden somewhere in my spice cabinet.  I keep that salt so I can make my steam vaporizer work.

No salt? You've depressed the deer.  Photo:  Hey! Homewrecker

No salt? You’ve depressed the deer. Photo: Hey! Homewrecker

Food can still be delicious without salt.  I’m talking seriously here now.  I added fresh avocado to that lentil soup and it helped A LOT.  I also add things like onion or garlic powder (not onion or garlic salt, you cheaters) as flavor for soups and things.  Trigger foods mean you have to make sacrifices, and it definitely takes time to find those tricks so you’re not eating loads of white bread because it’s all your tummy can handle.  Lower your sodium intake and see what it can do for you.


IBS Trigger Foods…ermm…Smells #1: Bad Body Odor

If you needed proof that your stomach is wired to your senses, put a person with IBS in a room full of sweaty, stinky people and see what happens.

Eww. WTF is that smell?

I first realized something was “wrong” with me when I would get sick after attending a weekly meeting. There was one person in this group that had THE WORST body odor ever.  And I don’t think it was like normal “I-just-went-to-the-gym” odor. I honestly can’t compare the smell to anything else, but I can say it was fetid, repugnant, mephitic, whatever big word you can use to say revolting and offensive, make-your-lunch-come-back-up nauseating.

So after being besieged by this smell, I would start to feel all rumbly in my belly. I’d get hot like someone turned on a furnace in the middle of my chest. And after a few meetings, I knew what would come next — the most excruciating pain, mostly in my left side, but sometimes I felt it all over. I’ve never been stabbed, but this pain is how I imagine being stabbed would feel like.


The time after these meetings would be spent on the floor in the fetal position. I found that passing gas would temporarily alleviate some of the pain, but I had so much trouble passing gas that the times of relief were few and far between. And it would be like this for HOURS. How could a smell possibly create such pain and need for flatulence? Where does the gas come from?

Why, when I Google “bad smells and IBS,” the only results are about foul-smelling farts and stools.  Guys, it’s waste, of course it smells like ass. Further delving into the topic produces the ever-so-helpful, “yeah, sometimes smells trigger IBS attacks.” Thanks, fellow IBS sufferers, I figured that one out already. The hard way.

The closest thing I can get to an answer is that it’s caused by problems with brain-gut signals.  So I guess now I can point the finger and blame, but I still don’t have a clear answer for how to deal with such an IBS attack when it happens.  Just pray to the toilet gods for that one, ahh-relieeeeeeef! fart?


My advice?  Stop going to meetings with people who smell bad.  Wear lots of deodorant at the gym and hope everyone else does, too.  Realize that dating someone with bad B.O. has to go because, let’s face it, smelling bad is a deal-breaker.