Chances if you are living with IBS, you know that there is a ton of information out there about the symptoms, possible causes, and the fact that there is no real cure for this condition, but there actually isn’t much from real people about what it’s honestly like to live with it. So, here’s the thing – I have IBS. I battle it, every day. In fact, I’m just balancing out after almost a two-year long flare-up.
While things are finally getting better, it’s been a rough, and uncomfortable run. I’m not going to get into the details of what kind of IBS I have – too much information, I think, but I will tell you that in general, there is the type of IBS that is associated with constipation, and the type that is associated with diarrhea. Like I said, it’s gross. Each type has it’s dangers – and problems, but it’s also likely that you will experience some type of gas and bloating. Worse still is the pain that is associated with IBS. According to “official” symptoms, pain is relieved with a bowel movement, but here’s the thing – you don’t always have to go.
Now, I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I’m going to tell you that IBS pain has caused me to double over and actually sweat. For me, it was worse than labor. I’ve had a prescription that was supposed to help ease the pain, but it didn’t help. When things were the worst, ibuprofen was the only thing that could ease the pain.
Health care professionals say that regular exercise can help to keep you balanced and avoid symptoms, and they are right, to a point. In my case, exercising in the middle of a flare up seems to only make my symptoms worse. Great.
My doctor says that stress causes IBS flare ups, as well as the hormonal changes that come about the time a woman has her period. She’s right. With me, the pain starts when the crisis is solved, and we won’t even talk about what happens during those dreaded four days a month.
It sounds pretty bleak, but the good news is that it’s not all grim. You can control your IBS symptoms, and for me, it’s been a matter of finding what works. I found that when I started to pay attention to the foods I had eaten before I began to experience symptoms, and I was able to avoid them, or eat them in moderation.
I also started trying to relax – like a lot. I’m getting more sleep and exercising more, and enjoying Greek yogurt and other sources of “good” bacteria. I’m also keeping an eye on the foods I eat in general, and trying to get a healthy balance of fresh produce while working to ensure that I don’t experience a flare.
The point is; while you’re in the middle of an IBS flare; you might think that it will never end. You may feel as if the rest of your life is going to be difficult and filled with pain, but you can manage your IBS. It’s hard and frustrating, but it can be done.