My journey through IBS
Last updated: March 2023
Here is my IBS story, if maybe someone can be helped by it. I know we are all so different, odd how we all react differently to different foods. I have a few intolerances, about 10 years ago I became lactose intolerant and then a few years after I had a diarrhea reaction to the protein in egg whites, just the white. But if it is cooked for 12 minutes, the protein is destroyed so I can eat baked goods thankfully. So I was going along ok, had diarrhea now and then for years. Then about 2 years ago, I began having diarrhea and cramps every week, two or three times, always after lunch. Was becoming quite embarrassing at work.
I thought it was from the stress, I didn’t like my work environment at all. But even when I quit and began doing what I love, I still had many diarrheas, it got pretty bad, and I would stay home all afternoons, just in case.
Then one summer I began having dizzy spells and nausea every morning. My doctor did every exam under the sun and everything came back negative. I had heard of the FODMAP diet and consulted it a bit. Avoiding high FODMAP foods. As I became more and more tired, I began losing weight and became depressed. Still all tests came back negative. Even for Celiac. But one day while telling a coworker of my symptoms, she suggested I eliminate gluten. I spoke with my doctor and she agreed and had me see a nutritionist.
2 days after eliminating all gluten, I was not nauseous anymore, got back a lot of my energy, and I couldn’t believe it. No more dizzy spells, just like that!
It was a tough road, however, accidentally eating gluten at first. I had to read all labels, I am sure you understand what I am talking about. Even when I was being extremely careful, I would have diarrhea spells. I realized that I was using the same old plastic lunch containers to heat up my food, ones that had wheat pasta in them for years. Apparently the scratches in the plastic can harbor gluten. As soon as I stopped using them my diarrhea cleared up. I still have bouts but much less. I also discovered a great app for the FODMAP diet. Monash University FODMAP diet app. It breaks down the FODMAP into 6 categories and lets you know which foods are in which category. And I was surprised to see that high FODMAP foods that I can tolerate all fall into one of the FODMAP categories. Makes it easier to make your meal choices. I eat only fresh food, however, never anything processed. Have found fresh veggies and fruit and meat that I season or marinate myself much healthier too.
Researching the gut-brain connection
I must say that a year ago, after being gluten-free but still having episodes of diarrhea, I read a few studies about the brain-gut relationship and found out that I could take an antidepressant, a really low dose, that helps the intestinal system. It is non-addictive. I am anti-medication but wanted to give it a try, together with the gluten-free diet, the FODMAP info, and therapy for the stress of IBS, I must say, I am doing fantastic. I am down to one diarrhea per month, usually in the middle of the night, I don’t know why but at least it doesn’t ruin my day. No more weird gassy problems and I am finally gaining weight again.
I still have stuff to say but I think I have gone on long enough. Let me know if someone has tried the antidepressants and how you are doing on them.
Have you ever tried acupuncture to relieve IBS symptoms?