IBS-M: The Consequences of Fasting and Restrictive Diets
Last updated: June 2023
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.
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.
Have you ever tried acupuncture to relieve IBS symptoms?