A man frowning with his eyes closed, leaning his head on his hand over a plate full of exclamation points.

IBS-M: The Consequences of Fasting and Restrictive Diets

Due to a completely unrelated issue, I recently had to endure days of a liquid diet followed by a couple of weeks of soft, bland foods. My diet is still somewhat restricted at the moment. There have been consequences of such drastic diet changes, and it was not what I thought it would be.

I basically experienced a complete cleansing of my digestive system when I spent several days on just liquids. My digestive system was completely cleared. I expected some issues when I began introducing more than bland foods, but it has been different. The unexpected results changed how I feel about diet restrictions.

Expecting IBS-D symptoms when adding solid foods

Many of us who have IBS experience IBS-D symptoms after ending a fast. Eating again usually leads to a bout of diarrhea and all the fun things that go along with it. That is exactly what I expected. This is not what happened.

My system went from empty to only partially full so I really should have anticipated it. I did not. I expected my digestive system to balk and it did. As I began reintroducing soft, bland foods I experienced bouts of constipation. It makes sense that a still mostly empty digestive system would be that way, but I truly was surprised.

Still having surprise reactions to diet changes

As my diet grew, I began eating more substantial foods. Several trigger foods made it onto the menu. Surely this would cause a bout of IBS-D after babying my digestive system for a couple of weeks. That is not what happened. I had an IBS-C flare, and I am still in the midst of an IBS flare.

I generally use these bouts to enjoy all the foods I limit to avoid IBS-D flares. My diet is still limited so the one benefit of an IBS-C flare is off the table. I can enjoy a few trigger foods, but the list is very small. I cannot have the trigger foods I really want, and it is just a big aggravation.

Unexpected consequences

We have all learned that IBS is unpredictable. Years of experience have shown me this is the case. Still, I expected certain results and was surprised. I thought I knew a few basic truths about my IBS. I thought I knew trigger foods and what reactions to expect. This was not true.

Everything I thought I knew about IBS is out the window. None of it has aligned with my recent experience. Fasting? When you resume a regular diet, there is no way to know which reaction you will have if you have IBS-M. It is a coin toss.

IBS and symptoms

The effects of drastic diet changes were surprising for me. I realize that food, in general, is an issue, and I have also realized that the reaction to certain foods can be completely coincidental. Certain foods are not a problem. Food, in general, is a problem.

Sometimes the reaction to certain food may be more severe, and sometimes I may not have a reaction at all. My reaction might be the opposite of the expected reaction. Could everything be merely coincidental? Does my digestive system change on a whim with no rhyme or reason? I am leaning toward that being a strong possibility.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

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.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.