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A man uses an ear horn to listen to his stomach. Behind him is black and a field of stars. Behind that is a collection of random items to indicate daily life - a cellphone, a road, music, etc.

Listen To Your Gut

Ever since I got IBS, I’ve felt almost forced by life’s circumstances to pay attention and listen to my gut. After seeing many doctors and specialists over the years, I felt like I wasn’t getting much help. Therefore, I had no choice but to take my health into my own hands and figure out what works best for me regarding medication, diet, and lifestyle changes. As a result, I have developed a close relationship with my gut because I actually listen to it more so now than I ever have before.

When it comes to my gut, it speaks to me loud and clear. I understand when I have gas or need to use the restroom, and it’s usually indicated by a wave of pain. As soon as I feel this pain, it’s like my spidey-senses go off and I become so fully alert and aware of what’s going on in the inside of my body that everything on the outside becomes a blur. I didn’t always know how to react to the pain, and it took a lot of trial and error to figure out the best way to handle it, whether in public or my own home. Let’s just say I have had many awkward moments both socially and professionally until I figured out how to react to my IBS pain.

Listening to my gut

However, the more I listened to my gut and trusted my instincts, the easier it became to deal with the pain. The trick for me was to accept the pain, understand my limitations, and not allow it to dictate my emotions. Therefore, whenever I experienced a flare-up, I’d push through whatever activity I was doing as best I could (i.e. work or exercise), but if my gut says to go to a safe place (i.e. home), then I’ll make sure to appropriately exit the activity and go to that safe place. When I do what’s best for me without shame, I make it harder for stress to trigger my IBS symptoms even more.

Ever since I’ve been paying more attention to my gut, I feel like it’s helped me with decision-making as well. Call it intuition, if you will. For instance, it’s like getting ready to place a huge bet on a Blackjack game, but then you get this weird feeling in your gut. Whether you choose to acknowledge or ignore it, is on you. You can remember the last time you placed a big bet and lost, and decide right then to stop gambling, or you could place the bet anyway. However, if you lose now, it’s a bigger blow because you had a feeling you weren’t going to win but you still bet anyway. My gut works the same way as my intuition during a Blackjack game. If I feel like I’m about to make a wrong choice in life, then my gut sends me a physical signal before I finalize my decision.

Understanding my IBS

The sensation is very rapid and feels like a short wave of nausea mixed with a bit of fear. This also helps me make the right choices when it comes to managing my IBS symptoms. Many times, I just want to continuously eat things that I know will trigger my symptoms. However, just thinking about the consequences causes my gut to send that physical signal that acts as a reminder to stay on my best behavior, for the most part.

Listening to my gut has become a skill that I’m improving at. It takes a lot of time and patience to develop the kind of relationship that I have with my gut. I understand when it’s in pain, and when it needs time to recuperate. I also comprehend when it is trying to signal that I’m about to make a bad decision in life. Having IBS may have its cons, but I guess it kind of has its pros also.

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.


  • pauliejay
    4 months ago

    Always. More like half an hour or more. If I’m off schedule I have a stomach ache the rest of the day and can’t go at all. So I try to keep to my morning schedule as much as possible. I schedule everything for afternoons and evenings.

  • tmholland moderator
    4 months ago

    @pauliejay, I think the ‘schedule’ is one of the most important things about managing IBS. Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on what works best for you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Hope you are well today. -Todd,

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