My IBS Story: Getting It, Dealing With It, Getting Rid of It
My very quick disclaimer
I'd just like to start with saying that this is simply a description of my personal experience with IBS. I'm not suggesting that you do anything that I've done or that your experiences will be similar to mine. I hope to just share what I've gone through, and some of the things that I've done that have helped me.
Hopefully, those who read this who also are dealing with IBS or a similar digestive issue can get something out of this hub... even if its as simple as knowing someone else out there is dealing with the same thing as they are.
I also hope to start a dialogue whereby others share and comment on their own personal experiences. I'd like to learn what has worked for others out there...
I've heard that IBS cannot be cured... but I refuse to believe it. Before IBS hit, I had 25 years of pain free eating and I know I can achieve that once again. This is the story of my "cure IBS" journey.
P.S. I try not to be too graphic when talking about IBS symptoms but IBS in general is not a "pretty" thing... if you have a weak stomach (pun intended)... caution when reading ahead.
CAUTION: Description of IBS Symptoms May Induce Queasiness
The beginning of my IBS troubles
How It All Started- Sudden Onset IBS
This part actually boggles my mind. As a child and through to early adulthood, I had the strongest stomach in the world. I mean, I could eat anything and never feel any pain. Now, I've cut out almost everything that could potentially cause a reaction and still I deal with daily bloating, queasiness, and constipation. This is the part of the story where I believe everything began.
I took a volunteer trip to Guatemala. I didn't drink the water and I didn't eat anything from the street vendors. That's what I was supposed to do, right? And for the most part, I think that strategy worked. I had a great time and didn't get sick. Until the last day, that is.
In line for the ticket counter at the airport, I had this sudden intensely overwhelming urge to use the bathroom. I mean, a stronger urge than I'd ever felt. It was so intense, that I took off running in search of the restroom, leaving all of my bags unattended. That's right, I had to go so badly, I left all of my stuff sitting by itself in the middle of the airport, in Guatemala!
So without going into too much detail about what happened in that bathroom, I can say that it wasn't pretty or comfortable.
You might think that I'd say that after that day everything has gone downhill. But I don't quite remember it that way. I went to my doctor when I got home, and explained what happened, frantically as a matter of fact because I was so afraid that I'd gotten worms, LOL. The doctor took a stool sample, said everything was normal and sent me on my way.
Can you pinpoint the thing that caused your IBS?
Was your IBS of the "sudden onset" variety?
I mean, what did I do wrong?!??! Maybe I ingested some water at some point, or there was some super strong airborne bug that I breathed in and some how got to my intestines and now it won't go away!!!
I can't be sure. But I think this event may have been the thing that started it all. The end of my Guatemalan adventure was just the beginning of my IBS nightmare.
Don't Eat The Street Meat!!!
The Aftermath & IBS Diagnosis
It could just be coincidence but after my Guatemalan trip, things just haven't been the same. I continue to deal with constipation, or at least the feeling of constipation on a weekly basis. I'm now of the opinion that what I feel isn't actually constipation but gas.
In the weeks following the trip, I was dealing with real constipation though. I would go days without passing any stools. As someone who was used to going to the bathroom after every single meal, this was quite alarming.
I also had the feeling of the urge to go but I just couldn't get anything out. I had pain of the left side of my stomach, and pelvis. Some times it was a burning sensation, sometimes it was dull and achey, other times it was sharp.
I would go to the doctors many times only to be assured that "nothing was wrong". I've even had a colonoscopy; before the age of 25 at that!!! Eventually, I had a doctor diagnose me with IBS. He said it used to be called a "spastic colon" and it was just something that I would have to learn to deal with. I was told to take fiber and then sent on my way.
I can't explain the amount of sadness that I felt hearing that I would just have to "deal with it". I didn't (and don't) want to deal with it. I want to get rid of it... I was this thing, IBS, gone. For good.
So what did I do? What any other person who wants answers does... I asked the all knowing Google, "What now"?
What I found was amazing. There were tons and tons of other people dealing with the same sort of digestive issues as I was. No story was exactly the same but they were similar enough... and oddly enough, I was comforted by this. Of course I'm not happy that others are going through similar issue, just happy to know that it wasn't just me and maybe that meant someone out there had the answer.
And that's what I started to do next. Look for the answer.
Things I've Tried, Am Trying, Or Would Like To Try
Food grade diatomaceous earth
Constipating, Irritating, Difficult to get
It didn't help me. I'm not sure if I tried it long enough but I had to stop taking it because it was so de-hydrating.
Widely known, effective, easy to buy
Results very dependent on the quality of the probiotic
I continue to take them and they are helpful
Easy to do, research shows eliminating gluten important for those with gluten sensitivity and allergies
Takes effort, gluten is everywhere, hard to prove you have a gluten allergy
I've cut out gluten and I feel better for doing it but I don't think this was my "whole" problem as I still have stomach issues
All natural, Lots of people swear by it
Hard to say that this is what caused my stomach issues, don't know if you are doing something that will actually help, hard to find locally
I never passed anything that looked like worms, I got no improvement in symptoms after doing this
All natural, very healthy, Weight loss
Hunger, weight loss
I haven't tried this yet but am really thinking about doing this
Colon hydrotherapy / Colonic
Get rid of waste, Easy to find
Can be expensive, May not provide long term results
I felt great after my colonic but I still continue to deal with IBS. Certainly not a cure.
Oregano oil antibacterial protocol
All natural gut cleansing antibacterial/antifungal, inexpensive, easy to find
I haven't tried it yet
Proper food combining
Many people swear by it, free, all natural
Not proven, requires a new lifestyle
I haven't tried it yet
All natural, easy to use, inexpensive, makes bowel movements easier
May improve bowel movements but can't cure the cause of my IBS
I haven't tried it yet
Easy to find
Not a real cure, limited in how many you can take safely
This is the best anti-gas medicine I've tried. When I need relief fast, I take 2 of these.
All natural, Easy to find, Inexpensive
Dehydrating, not a long term cure
It helps when I feel queasy but I like phazyme better for gas.
Easy to find, inexpensive
Didn't work as well as activated charcoal or phazyme
I no longer use it as I've found a better anti-gas medicine in phazyme.
My #1 for gas relief
Still No Cure for Me... Yet!!!
Here's What I'm Trying Next
It's been a couple of years and while my symptoms are better, I still deal with uncomfortable gas, occasional constipation, and queasiness. I have a new resolve to finally kick this IBS once and for all.
I've been doing a bit of research and thinking and I think I want to start the oregano oil protocol & taking grapefruit seed extract. Here's why:
There's been a lot of talk in the medical field lately about IBS being caused by a small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Many doctors are now starting IBS treatment with a strong prescription antibiotic and antifungal. I'd prefer to try to do the "natural" route before I go for a prescription.
Research shows that both oregano oil and grapefruit seed extract are strong antimicrobials.
Take a look at what these two doctors have to say below.
Diatomaceous earth for detoxing and cleansing
Dr. Mark Hyman talks about curing IBS
Best probiotic I've tried
Dr. Weinstock on IBS
How to go gluten free
Please follow my IBS journey!
Thank you for taking the time to read. Please comment and let me know what has worked for you and let me know what your experience has been.
I'll also be writing more hubs on IBS and current research. Be sure to check those out!