Person holding their stomach in pain as they have a colon on the left showing constipation, and one on the right showing diarrhea

IBS-M: The Swift Shift from IBS-C to IBS-D

Once again, an episode of constipation has ended. It was quickly replaced by a bout of diarrhea. Quite often this change happens during the same bathroom visit. It doesn’t matter how many times I have experienced this quick change. It is still a surprise almost every time it happens.

Constipation changes to diarrhea

The entire week had been a guessing game of when I would find relief. I had been unable to fully evacuate my bowels, and I was becoming quite miserable. This episode had continued long enough that I was anxiously awaiting the change so I would have some relief.

The bout of IBS-C did indeed end in a flash, and the result was a terribly severe episode of IBS-D. The initial feeling of relief was soon replaced by regret as wave after wave of cramping and an urgent need to go kept me running back and forth to the bathroom for 2 full days.

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Severe diarrhea after constipation

I refer to these awful episodes as correction days. It’s the end of a bout of IBS-C, and a cleansing of all that has accumulated during that time with a bout of IBS-D. It does provide relief from the ridiculous amount of bloating caused by constipation, but it changes to a different set of symptoms.

It does not end with emptying the contents. It continues to flush out everything I eat so quickly that I sometimes do not finish a meal before I have the urge to go. The pain is sudden and sharp and unrelenting. It is frustrating.

Dealing with changing flare types in IBS-M

After a couple of days of dealing with the cramping, sharp pains, and running back and forth to the bathroom hoping to avoid an accident, I often begin to hope for a bout of IBS-C. I tend to forget it is equally awful. I’m just desperate for an end to the horrible diarrhea caused by an IBS-D flare. It’s the same when I have an IBS-C flare.

Trying to treat an IBS-M flare is equally frustrating. There is no medication to treat IBS-M. We can only treat the symptoms of a flare and hope it doesn’t trigger a flare of the opposite type. It has been my experience that treatment of any symptom triggers the opposite symptoms. Because of this, I avoid treating symptoms unless it is absolutely necessary.

Living with unpredictable flares and flare types

IBS-M is frustrating in part because you cannot predict when a flare will happen. You also cannot predict which type of flare it will be, and this is maddening. You figure it out once a flare begins.

Sometimes I hope for the opposing type of flare to end a flare that has plagued me for too long. Sometimes the change is welcome for a short time, but that sense of relief never lasts. One type of flare is no better than the other. Neither is preferable, but I wish every bout of IBS-C didn’t end with an IBS-D flare.

Do you have IBS-M? How do you cope with the unpredictable flare types and sudden changes? I would love to hear about your experience.

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