Two glasses tapping together, one has wine and one has beer. On the glasses are an intestine and a flare symbol.

My Biggest Triggers

What are your biggest IBS triggers? We all have our own triggers when it comes to flare-ups or a particularly bad bout of bloating.

In my day-to-day experience with IBS, I notice my consumption of a particular food here and there that causes a greater issue later on (sometimes a few minutes later, a half hour later, or an hour later). This could be overuse of garlic and onions (though this is quite rare for me), too much salad (because veggies can be the enemy with having IBS sometimes), or simply too heavy/rich of a meal.

Sometimes, it feels like it's hard to keep up with the triggers because, to me, it varies daily. In the past couple of months, I've even had fewer flare-ups than I normally would. I have no idea why given that I'm eating all the same things I normally eat and that my stress level has been through the roof while I am dealing with some personal issues.

Recent terrible IBS experiences

However, the mix of alcohol and dairy in my system sends me running to the bathroom in near tears because I don't think I'll make it. Last summer, I went for a drink with a friend, and we decided to get ice cream afterward. We lived across the street from each other at the time, and we were in close walking distance of our apartments. Suffice it to say, I was holding my bum, trying to walk, and hoping the whole way home that I didn't have an accident because I was in danger of doing just that.

Cut to a few months later, I was out with the same friend and another friend of ours. I made the same mistake, but this time, I made my bowels hate me that much more with the inclusion of an espresso martini (they're trendy right now, okay! But yes, I also know the additional caffeine did not help my situation!) and then lots of dairy consumption including pizza and ice cream. I was also within walking distance of my apartment but knew I wasn't going to make it home, so I had to take an Uber.

This mixed trigger of alcohol and dairy caused my bowels to go from happy to murderous within a few minutes. I think we should rename IBS, MBS, just for the red alert danger moments that can sometimes happen. I digress.

Listening to my IBS and my body

So, you're probably thinking, well, Mara, will you ever learn? You've had some pretty awful near misses here...

Well, yes, I have learned now. The instances I recounted are the most recent because there have been other times when my IBS has immediately gotten into the danger zone regarding the mix of alcohol and dairy.

However, I am finally coming around to the idea that maybe I should, in fact, listen to my bowels when they tell me they don't want an alcoholic milkshake (but my heart and my soul does!).

What are your biggest triggers? What has happened when you've consumed them, and have you just avoided them now? Let me know in the comments!

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