alt=A closeup of a surprised and urgent face with a toilet reflecting in the eyes.

IBS-M: The TMI of Switching from Flare-Free to IBS-D to IBS-C

I am generally not one to share the gory details of flares, but I am trying to move away from shame. I am tired of feeling ashamed of some of my symptoms. Let’s talk about things I would rather not talk about.

Switching from flare-free to IBS-D or IBS-C is something all of us with any type of IBS deal with on a regular basis. We are so used to the flip-flop of flares that we are rarely surprised by anything. We have learned to expect the unexpected. Unfortunately, there are often consequences beyond diarrhea and constipation that come with a flare. Let’s talk about that which many consider taboo.

Hemorrhoids and fissures and flares – oh my!

A quick change in bathroom habits often adds injury to insult. All of you know what I am talking about. We suffer from hemorrhoids, fissures, and lots of unpleasant side effects associated with flares. How many of us have discovered a toilet bowl filled with blood in the midst of a flare? If you have not, I am certain you have at least noticed traces of blood on toilet tissue at some point.

If someone without IBS knew just how much blood is involved in my bathroom visits, they would think I was dying. Both sides of the IBS coin can cause hemorrhoids and fissures. Both of these issues cause bleeding, and sometimes it can be a decent amount of blood. The first one or two times it happened, it was quite a shock. Now, I shake my head knowing there are more issues to deal with during the flare.

Clean-up on aisle 2: Toilet tissue is awful

How many of us have been left feeling raw from frequent wiping? Many of us use wipes and some have bidets for this very reason. However, if you are away from home for work or travel, it is not always possible to clean any other way than using toilet tissue. You know the problem with that. I am certain you know the feeling of having to clean up with toilet tissue many times a day.

How many of us know the terrible pain of trying to adequately clean with toilet tissue when you have hemorrhoids or fissures? It is irritating, and you have to do way too much work to clean the area. This just causes even more irritation and bleeding. The process often keeps the area irritated enough to prolong the healing process.

Don’t get too comfortable. A flare is on the way.

We may eventually end up with a short break between flares. This gives us a little time to heal. It is extremely frustrating when you have just about healed from the last flare when a new one arises. It starts the process all over, and it is infuriating. How many times have you just started being able to sit comfortably when a new flare hits? I have been there far too often.

During my most recent bout of fun times, I switched from IBS-D to flare-free to IBS-C. That means I went from slightly raw to healing up to a bloody mess in a short period of time. All of this occurred over the course of about two weeks. As soon as one issue resolves, you are met with a new one. Those issues often come with lovely parting gifts.

Bathrooms are a battlefield when you have IBS

I am seriously tired of IBS-related injuries. I know I am not the only one, but not a lot of us are talking about that part of it. We talk about diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and gas. We do not often talk about the other issues that come along with it. Many of us have battle wounds on a regular basis.

If you have just started noticing blood or are having an issue for the first time, always consult your doctor to be certain that it is not a bigger problem. It is important to confirm that it is a benign issue. If you are an old pro at dealing with these issues, what advice would you give to someone who is just joining the party? How do you cope?

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