Anything New Can Make Your IBS Flare, But Don't Let it Stop You
One of the most frustrating things about IBS is that you can have everything under control, with no flare ups occurring, and then next thing you know you’re barely functioning and left wondering what happened.
I’ve had IBS for 25 years so have been dealing with IBS triggers for a long time. I’m also a highly qualified health professional who specialises in IBS, so I know the best strategies to keep my IBS under control.
Most of the time my IBS is well under control and I can go several months without a flare up. It’s not easy though. It requires vigilance, careful planning and selective food choices. But too much vigilance comes at a price. It makes your life extremely protected and can stop you from trying new things.
Try New Things, Despite the Price
At some point though you have to loosen the reins and try new things anyway, even if there may be a price to pay.
After several months of recovering from a foot alignment problem, I was recently given the all clear to slowly get back into running. My goal is to complete a 10K run. This is big for me because not only have I never run beyond 5K, it’s been years since I’ve actually run 5K.
To keep me on track, I’m using a “Couch to 10K Program” app on my phone. The program is meant to go for 14 weeks with 3 runs each week, gradually increasing the distance you run until you complete 10K in the final week.
I have no illusions though. With my IBS, it’s likely to take me much longer to complete (if I even get there). But I’m okay with that. If it takes me 28 weeks, 52 weeks, or longer, I’m not that fussed. I still want to give it a go.
I want to stretch myself and see how far I can go without my IBS stopping me.
With IBS though, it’s not a case of mind over matter. You can’t force your body to behave and do what it’s told. When a sensitive IBS tummy gets upset, no amount of willpower will bring it back into line.
Last week I made it to just past the half way point of week 2 – that’s 5 runs so far. Only 37 runs to go, if my IBS stays stable.
Except it didn’t stay stable. My body had different ideas. Between the running and another mistake I made last week, my IBS flared up badly for the first time in 3 months, giving me the worst heartburn I’ve ever experienced. My body ached, I crawled into bed and hid, and I was left with a throat so raw that my voice was destroyed.
Now the running is on hold for a week or so until my IBS has settled back down. As soon as I can, I’ll restart gentle exercise and walking to keep my body active. Then when things feel right, I’ll run again and keep moving towards my goal.
When you have an ongoing condition like IBS, it’s important you have something to work towards, something to hope for. Otherwise it’s easy to give up.
And right now, running is my hope.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?