Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) is a very real, VERY disruptive and annoying set of symptoms that plagues millions of people, and if you’re reading this maybe you’re one of them.
Our bodies are pretty intricate, it turns out. Our bodies actually WANT to kick ass for us and handle all that we throw at them each day. Sometimes, though, they can’t hang. Like me once I hit age 30 trying to stay up past midnight. Just. Can’t. Do it.
The digestive system has a natural rhythm and is an incredibly complex and amazing body system. Certain things from our modern lives can come in and interrupt that flow, causing short or long term distress.
But I’m here to say 2 things to you right now.
First: you CAN get better. This is not something you have to live with for the rest of your life. There are many paths forward and you’re not alone.
Second: a set of symptoms does NOT a diagnosis make! IBS is not fun,that’s for sure. It’s an increasingly common answer doctors are giving to patients experiencing an array of digestive issues, ranging from constipation to diarrhea to gas and bloating. But see, the thing is….most doctors don’t want to or don’t have the time to dig deeper to find the REAL answer.
“But I have NO idea what the possibilities even are! I don’t know where to begin, and I’m definitely not a doctor!”
I hear you. It’s overwhelming to consider what constellation of factors could have lead you to this point of spending entirely WAY TOO MUCH of your time on the toilet. The truth is, there are many possibilities. Everything from stress to gut infections or parasites, to the lack of a diverse microbiome to food sensitivities….who has time for that?!
I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve spent those long nights on the bathroom floor clutching my stomach thinking ‘WHY ME?!’ Eventually, I reached the tipping point after canceling a few too many plans with friends and missing out on too much sleep because of my symptoms. I would’ve done just about anything from eating only white rice for a week to taking fistfuls of expensive supplements from who-knows-where five times a day if I thought it would fix the problems I was having. (Side note: I tried both of those and didn’t have any luck.)
What I really needed was to start experimenting with factors that were in my control.
I began tinkering with my diet, focusing more on what to add in rather than what to cut out. Cooked vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, beets, and leafy greens became staples in my rotation along with pasture-raised meats. I took a break from dairy and anything that made my stomach turn from just looking at it. (Indian red curry, I’m talking to you.) I finally started to see some progress.
Next, I tried this weird thing everyone’s been talking about….meditation. To be honest, I fell asleep the first handful of times I tried it and was super doubtful that it would make any difference at all. To my surprise, I took another big step forward and my IBS took another step out the bathroom door.
That’s what worked for me, but I don’t want to give you a list of things to try and promise they will work for you. Why?
Because the path forward looks different for everyone.
I don’t know exactly what will work for you right now, but I know that I can help you find out. IBS isn’t a simple fix, but it’s not your endgame. You’re not stuck with this. There are so many factors in your control that you can change,step by step. Start playing around with your diet, leaning into foods that feel nourishing and easily digestible (think cooked foods, soups, stews, and smaller portions) and away from foods that seem like a gamble (dairy, spicy foods,fried foods, and excessive sugar.) You can also try the low FODMAP diet for 2-4 weeks to check for changes. Experiment with stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, massage, or journaling. Keep a daily log of symptoms and look for patterns.
Because it’s all about those baby steps.
If you still feel overwhelmed, I’d love to help you discover your next steps.
Connect with me here to get a free consultation so that we can talk about ways to get you feeling better and OUT of the bathroom!