A table of food in the background, and hand holding a plate, and a fork with a bite of cake on it in the foreground.

Looking on the Bright Side: The Upside of IBS-M

I have IBS-M. That means I have episodes of both IBS-D and IBS-C. Whenever I am in the midst of an IBS-D flare, I have to be very careful with my diet. I must fast if I need to leave home. My diet is restrictive at times, and watching what I eat is torture.

When IBS-D flips to IBS-C, my diet restrictions get tossed aside. Why? Because nothing I eat affects a bout of IBS-C. Even though a flare is miserable, it does have its advantages.

Trying to tame the stress of IBS

I know how much stress affects irritable bowel syndrome, so I try to stay positive as much as possible. If you look hard enough, you can find an upside to almost everything. That is what helps me keep my stress levels in check, and that benefits me in many ways.

There are definite downsides to an IBS-C flare, and we all know these far too well. Hemorrhoids top the list for me. Instead of dwelling on those things, I am going to name the positive things I experience.

Throwing caution to the wind with my diet

All the wonderful foods I have to avoid during bouts of IBS-D are no longer an issue. It does not matter what I eat or do not eat because it does not affect my IBS-C flares. I do not have to avoid fried foods. Tacos, guacamole, and pico de gallo do not phase me. Salads are back on the menu.

No matter what I am craving, I can satisfy it without paying a hefty price for giving in to my temptations. Nothing makes it worse, and nothing makes it better. I am free to eat whatever I want until the flare ends. I take this time to binge on everything I have had to decline. This is when I get to enjoy eating again.

Getting my weight under control

Many of us with irritable bowel syndrome tend to have issues maintaining a healthy weight. My biggest issue is losing down during IBS-D flares. There are times where I fall into the underweight category, and I would prefer to stick to a more healthy weight.

An IBS-C flare puts the brakes on drastic weight loss caused by the worst IBS-D flares. It lets me stop losing weight and gives me time to put on a few pounds before the next flare begins. I am able to enjoy food without fear, and that is a huge plus.

Gaining weight is no big deal for me because it gives me a nice cushion for when I start losing again. My wardrobe contains 3 sizes to accommodate for the fluctuations, so I am prepared to gain a few pounds. Bring on the pasta, tacos, and rich desserts.

Ah, the joys of food

I realize that my list of positive things about IBS-C flares is all about food. If you have IBS-M or IBS-D, food is probably your biggest challenge. We stay hungry. We endure restrictive diets. Every moment of every day seems to be filled with thoughts about food. Having a period of time, no matter how brief, where we do not have to think about food every waking moment is like a mini-vacation.

Celebrate in whatever ways you can. Take joy where you can find it. Fellow foodies, enjoy the brief moments when food does not feel like the enemy. Treasure them. We all know we have so few of those moments.

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