IBS Forecast Looks Threatening: Stay Indoors
Oh no, not again.
I was having a long-awaited and much-needed afternoon with my girlfriends, laughing and sharing our challenges. As usual, we did a potluck assortment of great foods and beverages, and they are always kind to keep my dietary restrictions in mind, keeping some items separate or letting me know the ingredients of various foods.
Then I felt the rumbling in my abdomen, like thunder on the horizon.
Sometimes, it could just be rumbling. But this felt different. It was a foreshadowing of a coming storm. An IBS tsunami.
IBS is unpredictable
After I went to the bathroom three times in about 15 minutes, I figured I had enough of a window to be able to drive myself home before the next wave. I made my apologies and left the party, disappointed to be missing out on time with my friends but just wanting to be home when I felt so bad. I’m grateful to have friends who understand – they were disappointed for me and were kind and supportive of my need to leave.
I’d been doing so well – for the past few months my IBS symptoms had been mild and generally manageable. I’ve been sticking to the diet that works for me and hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. I’d been avoiding my known triggers. But that’s IBS for you: it’s unpredictable. Just when we think we have everything under control, it laughs and comes crashing back.
Battening down the hatches
I spent the rest of the day and evening between the couch and the bathroom. Despite taking multiple doses of anti-diarrheal medication, I continued to have a flare of symptoms throughout the night. My sleep was interrupted multiple times as I made my way back to the toilet. I felt hollowed out. My energy was completely zapped. And despite drinking plenty of water and making sure I was replacing electrolytes, I felt dehydrated.
I just had to hunker down and ride it out. My sweet cat Elsie was a comfort, sitting on my lap when I was seated, or snuggling up nearby when I was lying down. I continued to drink plenty of water and other liquids, as well as eating mild, anti-inflammatory foods for the next 24 hours. Although it came on suddenly, it was much slower and seemed to take forever for it to finally end. The only good thing that comes with decades of experience with IBS is knowing now how best to support my body as it goes through these flares. And I know that it will pass, and I will continue to try to find ways to avoid this from happening again.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?