IBS: When Safe Foods Aren’t Safe Anymore
Last updated: September 2023
If you have IBS, you have likely identified foods you consider safe or better choices because they are far less likely to cause or agitate a flare. I’ve always had a short list of foods that were safe. Much of the time I could have some of these foods before beginning my fast the day before leaving home without fear of a flare.
Safe foods typically don't cause flares
Of course, this didn’t apply during the worst of flares. It doesn’t matter what you eat during the worst of flares. The flare just rages on. Still, your safe foods are usually less of an issue. What do you do when that changes?
Suddenly some of my safe foods don’t seem to be safe. In fact, none of them seem to be safe anymore. This is a huge problem for me.
Changes in IBS after gallbladder surgery
I had my gallbladder removed over a year ago. I had heard many people talk about how their bowel function changed after they had their gallbladder removed. Some people with IBS were told it would likely be worse. Some said it had not changed or was worse.
I had expected to change from IBS-M to strictly IBS-C afterward, but that wasn’t the case. My IBS was much improved. My symptoms were mostly mild and flares were, too. I celebrated.
Hypothyroidism causes constipation
Shortly after my gallbladder was removed I developed hypothyroidism. One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is constipation.
I didn’t know this was what was going on at the time. It was a little while before I was diagnosed, but looking back I see its effects and can tell it started right after my surgery.
Multiple conditions created balance with IBS
Dealing with constipation from hypothyroidism and diarrhea from IBS and having my gallbladder removed was nice. Let me explain. These things created balance and I had a more normal experience. My IBS was in check. All these things together evened out and the few flares I had were mild.
I still had some bouts of constipation but it was much milder than before. It was very rare for me to have an IBS-D flare.
Treating hypothyroidism made IBS-D symptoms return
As my hypothyroidism is being treated and my thyroid hormone levels are getting into a more normal range, the symptom of constipation is disappearing. This is a problem.
I am having more and more issues. One of the biggest issues is that no food seems to be safe. My list of safe foods is meaningless.
Safe foods are not safe
Don’t get me wrong. There are still some foods that are worse than others, but it seems all foods are now a trigger. The foods I once ate to ride out a severe flare or try to avoid a flare are no longer helpful. These foods aren’t safe anymore.
If I have to find a bright side to this, I suppose it would be that I no longer have to suffer through safe foods making me gag. What’s the point of eating them?
Coping with changes in IBS
If you have IBS, you are certainly used to change and uncertainty. You are used to dealing with unpredictable flares. When your safe foods are no longer safe, it feels like you have lost all control. It’s beyond frustrating.
Do you have a list of safe foods? Has a safe food ever changed for you? How did you cope with changes? I would love to hear about your experience.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?