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Coping with IBS-M Flares: The End of Symptom-free Days

After a nice bit of a reprieve from IBS-M symptoms, I have experienced a string of IBS-C (constipation) flares. These flares have been off and on for a couple of months now, with more on than off during this time. I had almost forgotten how agitating a flare can be, but I’m getting reacquainted with all the symptoms.

Constipation followed by diarrhea

While I have had episodes of diarrhea, I would not say I have had an IBS-D flare. Here’s why. I feel that after dealing with an extended bout of IBS-C, the most natural resolution is your body ridding itself of the waste that has built up during the flare.

A short bout of diarrhea following constipation feels like a correction of sorts rather than a flare. I would compare finding relief from constipation to uncorking a bottle. That is about as descriptive as I want to be about it, but I think the comparison conveys the message.

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Differences in IBC-C and IBS-D pain

I am experiencing a good deal of pain with my recent IBS-C flares. Over the last five years I experienced more IBS-D flares and the pain associated with IBS-D, at least for me, is lower. It’s still sharp at times, but it’s in a different area.

IBS-C pain tends to be higher for me. An extended bout causes pain in my chest. At my age, having chest pain is alarming. If I tell a doctor I have chest pains they completely ignore my IBS diagnosis and jump right to investigating possible cardio events.

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IBS and gas pains

Those sharp pains in my chest are gas pains. For me, the longer an IBS-C flare lasts the higher the pain will be. I’m not sure if this is the case for others. If you suddenly develop chest pains, don’t assume it is related to IBS. Always talk to your doctor about it.

Gas pains can be debilitating at times. These pains can be so intense that it almost takes your breath away. I have experienced several intense episodes lately and that was something I certainly did not miss during my vacation from IBS.

Bloating during an IBS flare

I gained about 35 pounds after developing hypothyroidism last year. Not once in my life had I ever had any reason to lose weight, so everything along the way was completely new to me. Since I paid close attention to every change during this journey I noticed exactly how much bloating I have.

I have lost 30 pounds in the last 6 months and sometimes I am so bloated that I look almost the same as I did before I lost it. Yes. I bloat so bad that I look almost 30 pounds heavier at times. This isn’t just about appearances. That much bloating is extremely uncomfortable, physically. This type of bloating happens for many during IBS flares, and it sucks.

Dealing with the return of IBS flares

I certainly didn’t miss IBS flares, and now that they have returned I must readjust to all the symptoms. I adjust to pain over time, and given some time I will adjust again. It’s still quite frustrating.

Through all the ups and downs of being flare-free and having symptoms return, I feel like we learn to roll with the punches. Perhaps it’s not by choice and only by necessity, but we learn flexibility because it’s necessary. We are all riding the same rickety rollercoaster and hoping for more highs than lows.

Have you ever had a break from IBS symptoms? How did you readjust once symptoms returned? I would love to hear about your experience.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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