2 Things You Might Not Know About Your IBS
Figuring out how to deal with my IBS on a day-to-day basis has been a continuous process ever since it started. When I still had to go to work every day, I functioned on a pretty strict diet because I didn’t want to risk unnecessary flare-ups.
My IBS is at its worst in the mornings, and getting up early and leaving for work was pretty hard for me. I would have flare-ups almost every single morning, which didn’t make a great start to my day.
I also didn’t have much room to experiment because my routine was pretty much set in stone: get up every morning at 6 am, hope to be done with symptoms by 8:30 am when I needed to leave, and then go to work and try not to eat anything risky.
So once I started working from home and was able to make changes to my routine, I noticed two things that I didn’t know about my IBS.
Your IBS might get worse if you get up early
One thing I had noticed from the very beginning of my IBS journey was that I had fewer flare-ups on weekends. However, I never thought that it had something to do with the amount of sleep I got. I figured that symptoms were worse on weekdays because my stress-level was higher, and better on weekends when I was more relaxed.
Yet when I started working from home, this pattern didn’t change, even though my stress-level didn’t depend on the day of the week anymore. And since I wasn’t forced to wake-up at the same time every morning, I started noticing a definite correlation between the time I woke up and the symptoms I got.
When my alarm rings around 6 am, I feel just as bad in the morning as I did before going to work. But when I get to sleep until 7:30 am or even later, I sometimes don’t get symptoms at all.
After seeing this happen for 6 months now, I can definitely say that my morning IBS is strongly affected by the amount of sleep I get and by the time I wake up in the morning. Getting up early worsens symptoms while getting up a little later might leave me completely symptom-free.
You can get used to foods
As I hadn’t been experimenting with food at all during the first few years of my IBS journey, I always assumed that my list of trigger foods was set in stone. And so I limited myself to the few safe foods I had. I didn’t eat pasta once in over two years!
But again, when I started working from home and flare-ups didn’t seem so daunting anymore (everything is better when you’re at home), I started experimenting with what I ate.
Some trigger foods, like pizza, tomato sauce, or normal milk, really don’t sit well with me. I tried 3 times to eat a pizza and regretted it for multiple days afterward.
But some foods, which never triggered severe symptoms but would just leave me bloated, like pasta, some green vegetables, or raisins, slowly became foods that I could eat. At first, I did get bloated when I ate them. But that went away after a couple of weeks.
So it turns out that your gut can get used to new foods, even with IBS!
For me, it means that my safe foods are simply the ones I eat all the time. It also means that I’m able to extend the list by introducing foods that trigger light symptoms back into my diet, to see if these symptoms go away when I eat them often.