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My Inner IBS Ninja Strikes Again

It’s been less than a year since I was diagnosed with IBS-C and I’m still learning about this blasted thing. I could easily make excuses for that. I have multiple sclerosis, too, and it has dominated my awareness for almost 20 years.

Multiple sclerosis is on the books as being a possible direct cause of digestive dysfunction, too. But that doesn’t exactly help matters. I’m still going to manage IBS the same way any non-MS person with IBS would do it. It’s like getting diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis after having MS for years, knowing full well that having one autoimmune disease can mean you’ll develop a second one—and possibly a third and fourth one, too. Knowing the possibilities doesn’t necessarily position us to better manage a second and third co-morbidity. While being well-informed has its upside, knowledge doesn’t always lead to empowerment. Sometimes it feels like I know too much for my own good.

All quiet on the western front

That aside, IBS is downright squirrelly. Last summer, its most dastardly symptoms of gut-tearing gas pains and uncontrollable flatulence disappeared as suddenly as they had presented. This despite eating some high-fiber veggies from time to time that would normally touch off a cascade of rumblings and pain. All was quiet on the western front, eastern, southern, and northern fronts, satellite views, Hubble telescope captures, and astrological charting. The thing just went sleepy-bye. Until a couple of weeks ago.

I’d been sticking to a low-fiber diet, a wise move given my history. But I made a change. I had to! Over the past year I’d gained ten pounds. I blame quitting smoking and rightly so. My appetite went haywire afterwards, likely to fill a huge gap left by ceasing to shove a cigarette in my mouth every time I had a nicotine craving. I was a two-pack-a-day smoker to give you an idea as to how many times I shoved said cigarette into my pie hole. So, to compensate for the loss, I shoved food into my pie hole instead.

Naturally I gained weight. The only surprising part of it is that I only gained ten pounds! Anxiety must be a calorie-burner because I’m pretty darned sedentary. But it has to go away and I know how to make it go: by putting myself on a 1200-calorie eating regimen comprised of few to no starches–even gluten-free versions–with a focus on lean meats and other protein sources, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats such as nuts and avocados. The veggies partly consisted of a small amount of broccoli and yellow pepper. Other than that, I continued to follow a low-FODMAP, low fiber diet as much as possible. I thought I could get away with eating a small amount of gassy veggies. After all, I’m supposed to eat more fiber as one part of a healthy diet. Aren’t we advised to ease into gassy high-fiber veggies with small amounts at first? Maybe this way I could build up a tolerance. Boy was I wrong.

System overload

It’s amazing how a little pepper and broccoli can double you over with pain an hour after eating them. And it didn’t stop there. It was followed by explosive diarrhea, a symptom that is rare for me, being plagued by constipation. Something had upset the balance of water in the bowel. The culprits must have been the pepper and broccoli. I stopped eating them immediately. The diarrhea stopped right away—but then it was immediately followed by days of constipation. Despite taking Miralax three days in a row, nothing’s happening down there yet.

My inner IBS ninja still lurks. I’m struggling to remain patient while Miralax does its thing. It’s a lot slower kind of weapon than throwing stars and nunchucks, but there’s no training necessary.  Having returned to a low-fiber healthy regimen, I don’t expect the gas and diarrhea to return. Now it’s a matter of hurry up and wait. I’m good at it. No training necessary for that, either.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net 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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