I’ve Tried Everything to Help My IBS
It took me a while to accept that my IBS wasn’t going anywhere. Partly because I didn’t receive much information at all from the numerous doctors I’d seen, and partly because I just didn’t want to acknowledge that the illness would stay with me for years to come.
At first, I assumed that my IBS could surely be cured with a pill. My doctor had prescribed me some when he diagnosed me, and I went home thinking that this nightmare would soon be over. Little did I know! The pills didn’t work. After a couple of weeks, I went back to the doctor’s and tried new ones. And again. And again. I started going to a specialist who prescribed me even more pills that did absolutely nothing for me. I tried probiotics, too, but when they didn’t make a difference after two weeks, my doctors told me to go off of them.
Desperate to get my life back, I went back to over-the-counter diarrhea medication for my IBS-D. At one point, I was taking some form of it every other day, well aware that this could not be good for my body. But I didn’t know what else to do.
Then I slowly started noticing that my IBS would flare up really bad around two days after I had taken diarrhea pills. It was like the medication paused my flare-up, only to press play again two days later. And so I forced myself to stop taking any medication and tried to find other ways to reduce my symptoms.
Now I try to take as little medication as possible, but I discovered that probiotics actually do help me. I’ve been taking them for the past 8 months and they do make my symptoms a little less strong.
My first reaction to my IBS-D symptoms was to just stop eating. I dreaded having a real meal outside of my house. For months, I lived off candy bars just to survive the day. Looking back now, it doesn’t make any sense. The candy bars probably triggered my symptoms, but I didn’t know that at the time.
After a couple of months, when I realized that my IBS wasn’t going anywhere, I decided that I did need to eat proper food somehow. That’s when I turned to plain white rice. I barely ate vegetables or fruit for over a year!
Around the same time as discovering that medication wouldn’t work for me, I started taking matters into my own hands and researching IBS online. That’s when I found the Low FODMAP diet and started it right away. It took a bit of time, but it really started helping. I got to know my trigger foods and was slowly able to eat real meals again. It also helped me control my symptoms and lead a more or less normal life.
I’ve tried a variety of different mindsets all throughout my IBS journey. At first, I was convinced that it was some sort of virus, although this illusion didn’t last very long. After that, my (then undiagnosed) IBS became the most embarrassing condition that anyone could have. I felt like no one else in the world could possibly suffer from it. And I had no idea how to deal with it in my professional and personal life.
Once I had regained a bit of control thanks to the Low FODMAP diet, I started looking for alternative solutions for it. I paid for a couple of really expensive osteopathy sessions because I’d heard that they could cure IBS by putting your guts back into place. I let my yoga teacher convince me that my digestive problems were due to bad posture and could be helped with exercise. Finally, I even took a bunch of supplements that were supposed to restore my gut health. But nothing really worked.
Then, I decided that my IBS was probably caused by my anxiety disorder. Everyone was constantly telling me that it was all due to stress and that it was all in my head. So I started believing that. But the truth is, even if it was triggered by stress in the first place, I did not have an anxiety disorder before getting IBS. Even now, my anxiety is related to the fear of having a flare-up – so it’s basically the other way around.
Finally, I came to accept my condition. I started to be more open about it and decided to share my experience online because it might help someone else. And actually, this mindset has in some way reduced both my symptoms and my anxiety.