Well about 6 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS. I eliminated a few things from my diet, which seemed to improve my symptoms at first. But over time the symptoms have gotten progressively worse. I’ve tried to pinpoint the foods which trigger my symptoms, but sometimes no real pattern emerges.
Last year I saw a gastroenterologist and had an endoscopy/colonoscopy done to rule out anything suspicious. Everything came back normal.
I’ve also had hydrogen breath tests which show I have fructose malabsorption. This means that my body doesn’t break down certain carbohydrates properly and causes gas, bloating, cramping, pain, and other ‘fun’ GI symptoms! So after a confirmed diagnosis of these intolerances, I decided to see a dietitian that specializes in IBS and the Low FODMAP diet. They explained that the Low FODMAP diet restricts many of the culprit foods that cause IBS symptoms. You follow a pretty strict eating plan for about 6 – 8 weeks and then slowly ‘test’ different FODMAP foods to figure out your tolerance level.
So far I’ve been following the diet for about 8 weeks with fairly good results. I noticed the best results in the first few weeks of the diet. I no longer felt ‘overfull’ all the time because the bloating had decreased, and pain and cramping after eating were also better. I was so happy with how everything was going. The diet was like a god-send compared to how I was feeling before.
But lately I’ve found my symptoms are returning despite following the Low FODMAP diet. And it kind of sucks. I know IBS isn’t life threatening, but it can really get in the way of living your life at times.
Take this past weekend for example. It was a gorgeous day and I was planning on heading out for an afternoon of strolling the nearby markets. I had a pretty basic lunch of leftover chicken with some rice and veggies. Nothing to write home about. Within 15 minutes I was in agony. Sharp stabbing pains, and cramps that had me doubled over. The next day the same thing happened…only like ten times worse. I decided to lie low, despite really wanting to go out and enjoy the sunshine. I needed to know that amenities were close by. Diarrhoea isn’t funny, but it is smart. Diarrhoea knows EXACTLY how far you are from the nearest bathroom…and it’s like ‘I’ll race ya!’
I refuse to accept that this is my lot in life. I know that there are many different treatment options for people who suffer from IBS and I just need to find something that works for me. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do (because you all know I AM a doer).
I talked over some options with my doctor, but was less than impressed. She mentioned that anti-depressants (which work by raising your pain threshold and changing the rate of GI contractions) and antispasmodics (which lessen cramping) are usually the prescribed treatment options for IBS sufferers with my symptoms. But to be honest, I don’t want to take medication. I knew there must be another way.
At my next appointment with the dietitian, I mentioned that my symptoms had returned despite following the low FODMAP diet. She could tell I was at a loss, but reassured me not to lose hope. She mentioned that I might like to try hypnotherapy. She said many clients get great results by combining hypnotherapy treatment with a tailored diet (such as the Low FODMAP diet). I figured, what the hay, it can’t hurt!
My dietitian sent over a referral and within an hour, Michelle from Mind Matters Hypnotherapy had contacted me to set up an appointment. I don’t know much about hypnosis, but at this point I’m willing to give anything a try. The treatment runs for 6 consecutive weeks, and I have my first appointment today!
I’ve also started looking in to other nutritional therapies or alternatives that might help with my symptoms. I’ve started to take a live probiotic drink every morning, which I hope will help to reset the bacteria in my gut. I’m still researching other options that might work, and am open to any suggestion you have. I’m hoping 2012 will be the beginning of the end for all these GI issues!