I think it’s pretty common knowledge that many people that suffer with IBS have a really rough time in the morning hours. By ‘really rough time’, I mean some of our more uncomfortable symptoms seem to AMPLIFY. The symptoms are terrible under normal circumstances, but for some reason they seem to want to become absolutely excruciating and uncontrollable upon waking. I’d like to share my experiences with this phenomenon and some ways that I have tried to, at the very least, minimize the havoc that IBS wreaks on our bodies and minds.
Preparing for the morning
I’m not sure that being a ‘morning person’ makes this morning IBS attack any better, but for the sake of sharing, I am NOT a morning person. It may because of the medication I take at bedtime, but I honestly am not fully awake until about an hour and a half after I get out of bed. This makes the pain and loss of control I experience a lot of the time, worse. Because I am not yet my ‘go get em’!’ self yet, I find the six, eight, ten…trips to the bathroom completely demoralizing. Not to mention the fact that my guts literally hurt and my back feels like it is on fire. Fun, fun, fun… I have done my best to take care of all the stuff I need for my day, at night, when things are a little more calm. I make my lunch, make sure my work stuff is in order and pack my ‘IBS Bag’ with teas, medication and other things that I need to help me through the day. My clothes are laid out at night and my bags put by the front door. So, all I have to do is grab my keys and I’m gone, right? Wrong? IBS in the morning makes things so much more complicated. Agreed? Agreed.
During the morning
Ok, so other than doing as much preparation at night as possible, what can we do IN THE MORNING, to ease our suffering a little and make it easier to start our day? The first thing I had to change was my sleeping schedule. I realized I needed to allow myself a lot more time in the morning to deal with Mr. IBS. I decided to go to bed two hours earlier (understand I was going to bed at midnight or 1am) and then to get up two hours earlier. Sucks, but a lot of this sucks and requires some sacrifice and change just to get by. I still have a good breakfast, even though I may not want to. I think if you take your breakfast seriously and have a good dietary plan going, this will only help matters. I stretch and do some light yoga straight out of bed and then I shower. Now, as you can imagine, all this ‘regular morning’ stuff is interrupted, sometimes at a frantic pace, by trips to the bathroom, cramps and discomfort. I shower again. I may shower three or four times at varying durations to make sure that when things do settle down I feel as positive and fresh as I can when I finally walk out the door.
What works for me may not work for you. I do have medication that my doctor prescribed that takes the edge off a little, but certainly doesn’t FIX the problem. The morning is so important to having a positive outlook on the day ahead and what we go through with IBS some (or a lot) of mornings, may be one of the more difficult aspects of this illness. I will keep trying new things. I will also keep an eye out for what all of you are trying and see if I can’t up my game.