Discovering New Ways to Manage IBS Flares
Last updated: May 2023
My last article focused on the fact that I experienced a long period without IBS symptoms (more than a year!) Unfortunately, it returned just as fast as it had gone, and I really didn't know why. Neither did my doctor, my therapist, or any of the other individuals I consider my "support team." Ahh, the mysteries of IBS.
While everyone had their theories, the fact of the matter was that I had significant flare-ups at least once a week, sometimes more, and they seemed to be picking up in frequency, duration, and intensity. The scariest part was that I felt I had somehow lost all the skills I had to develop to manage the illness during the deepest, darkest days a few years ago. While I knew the skills were not gone, I knew I had to rediscover them and see if they still worked today. A lot of work, considering I haven’t been feeling very well. But then I remembered that a lot of those IBS management skills went a long way towards helping me to feel better and hopefully, they could do the same for me now.
Diet, exercise, water, mental health, medication, journaling, aromatherapy, writing, no alcohol, very little sugar. Quit smoking; started up again. Quit drinking started up again. MEDITATION. Yes. My favorite. Now, I just listed what I consider the most important things that helped. I did not include all the incidental things like comfort products and organizing my living environment for dealing with IBS–things I learned only by participating in this website.
Overwhelmed by trying new strategies
The more I thought about it, the more it overwhelmed me. My intention is not to overwhelm anyone. We all know that this is 1 of the last things we need when trying to manage this illness. My intention is 2-fold. First, it takes some work and time. Second, be proud of everything you do to help yourself. Even if it's 1 thing, you are doing it for your wellness; you are doing it for yourself. Many of us have so many responsibilities caring for others that we choose not to take care of ourselves. Notice choosing the word "choose" not "forget." I think it’s a bit of both.
Where I used to occasionally try to put myself first, I don't. It’s all work, kids, family, and work. I don't think TV at night counts as doing something for yourself. I got so excited I wasn't experiencing flare-ups that I returned to the diet I had pre-IBS. Yes, THAT diet. There is much to be done. So as not to be overwhelmed by my journey back to health, I have decided to start working on my diet, see my doctor(s) daily walking, and more water. The thing is (and this might have something to do with why I'm struggling again) that I let go of pretty much everything that I used to do for my wellness. That's it for now; the rest will come in time, and remembering to be patient might be an essential thing to consider. Perhaps I will find new things on this part of the journey. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know. Thanks for listening.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?