Health Issues from IBS
I remember like it was yesterday waking in the middle of the night in extreme pain. Many nights were spent lying on the bathroom floor in tears. The dilemma was “not knowing which end was up” as my dad would say. Would it be vomiting from the pain and constipation or would it be diarrhea? The options were not good! My life and career were impacted as I would schedule my travel dates around my menstrual cycle as I knew the symptoms would be most severe during these times. It seriously impacted my ability to function at home and at work.
What is IBS?
IBS is not a disease, it is a functional disorder. This means that the bowel is not working as it should. Women typically experience more severe symptoms than men due to menstruation. IBS is also known as spastic colon and impacts about 20-50% of the population.
Symptoms of IBS
IBS is characterized by its symptoms: chronic but intermittent lower abdominal pain or discomfort in association with diarrhea, chronic constipation, or both. Gas and bloating are common, but vomiting isn't, though it can occur due to nausea from the pain and constipation.
IBS attacks may strike suddenly at any time of day or night and may occasionally wake you from a sound sleep. Unfortunately, for me, this was the norm. So besides the painful symptoms, I was missing critical sleep which ensured the next day would not be good and was setting my body up for long-term health issues from lack of sleep.
So, what did I do to overcome IBS?
Again, this is what worked for me and each of our bodies are unique. Well, the medications didn’t work. They only added " insult to injury" by adding additional toxins to my body. Although I could write a book on all my wellness lifestyle changes over the years, I will share a few key concepts to my healing.
First, I kicked the caffeine habit and removed soft drinks, black teas and coffee from my diet. Caffeine creates an acidic environment in the body which increases inflammation and pain. Caffeine also stresses the body which would escalate symptoms.
Second, I kicked the sugar out. Remember, it is not just the obvious (cookies, candy, soda) that is the culprit. It is the hidden sugars that we don’t consider or aren’t obvious. Read ingredient labels on ketchup, salad dressings, bread, crackers, etc. High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucralose, aspartame, etc. are all forms of sugar. White bread, rice and pasta convert to sugar in our body which creates inflammation. Even certified organic foods may contain large amounts of sugar.
Next, I incorporated “raw and live” foods such as fruits, vegetables and greens which were either fresh or frozen. At that time my idea of eating fruits and vegetables was canned corn and green beans. Canned foods are “dead” foods because they lack enzymes and nutrients key to allowing our body to heal naturally.
Lastly, I started drinking more water. At least 8-10 glasses per day of purified or distilled (NOT tap). Water is a major component to healing and detox.
Again, these are just a few of the changes I made that made a difference. There is no "magic pill" that will make it go away. It takes positive and consistent changes to your diet. If you want a comprehensive plan from someone who has been there and don’t want to figure it out the hard way, I would love to help.