IBS Causes Summertime Blues

Summer is time for barbecuing. It is time for outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, and camping. It is also yet another season when IBS dictates what we can and cannot do.

I think it is hardest to cope with during times when we want to get outside and do things. When the temperatures rise, we all tend to travel for vacations, go swimming to beat the heat, and fire up our grills to feed our broods. Unfortunately, it seems like the days we plan activities are when IBS flares arrive.

Bring on the barbecues I cannot attend

It seems like the whole world smells like a sizzling grill during the summer months. Everyone is eating hot dogs, hamburgers, slaw, potato salad, and all the other goodies we enjoy at a barbecue. Sadly, I must sit to the side and opt out of the delicious foods being served all around me. Fasting while others feast is a hard thing to do.

I imagine people often see me sitting by the picnic table, salivating over the offerings while proclaiming I am not hungry when offered food. I am hungry. In fact, I am starving. I cannot tell you how many times I have told people I was not hungry rather than explain why I could not eat while others were eating. It is hard to sit around and starve while others are grilling.

Fasting for a day so I can melt in the heat

If I want to do something outdoors where I will not have access to a bathroom, I will have to fast. When the heat index starts to climb, fasting can cause a lot of issues. Feeling rundown thanks to forced starvation is compounded by the sluggish feeling you get when you are outside in the heat.

There is also something about the heat that seems to make my IBS flares worse. Perhaps it is not really that the flares are worse. Maybe it is that my attitude about flares worsens. Of course, I also get a tad irritable when I am hot. Okay, so maybe I am more than a tad irritable when the heat index reaches triple digits but the flares really do seem worse.

Give me a vacation from IBS

We all look forward to vacation time. Is there anyone who does not count down the days to a vacation? I count the days, and I also figure up when I can have my last meal. I always feel bitter when I have the last big meal before I start fasting to travel.

Reminding myself of why I am fasting helps when I will soon be leaving for vacation. Of course, fasting while on vacation in order to make the trip home makes me more than a little bitter. I must spend the last two days of vacation watching what I eat. The last 24 hours are spent fasting, and that makes me angry.

Outdoor activities when a bathroom is required

I do enjoy camping, and I spend most of the warm months in what I affectionately refer to as my summer home. My camping is not done in a tent. I require indoor plumbing, thanks to IBS. I am very thankful for being able to camp in a motorhome. It allows me to enjoy the outdoors despite sudden IBS flares.

I used to enjoy swimming and fishing, but both activities have become spectator sports for me due to mobility issues. When I was able to do both, I had to be very cautious with my diet before striking out to do either. Swimming meant I absolutely had to fast. Fishing meant I needed to pick locations with a bathroom nearby. If you have IBS, I am certain you have canceled plans to go swimming at least once due to a sudden flare.

Flare-free days is the cure for summertime blues

As much as we all look forward to summer, we all deal with changed plans and missed events due to flares. It is frustrating when you feel like you are stuck on the sidelines while everyone else is having fun. I feel your pain. I do.

Here is my wish for you. I hope your summer is flare-free and you are able to do all the things you enjoy. May you never miss a barbecue or have to stress over vacation flares. I hope you enjoy every last bit of the summer fun. And if you do end up stuck in the throes of frustrating flares, know that you are not alone. I will be right there with you drooling over the foods I cannot have.

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