A Whole-Life Approach to IBS

My IBS experience began with an explosive and unexplained bout of diarrhea which was followed by a long period of constipation. This pattern continued for the next eight years, ending only in the last six weeks during which I have been comletely free of any symptoms. I wish I could say that this is because I have a magic answer but I don't. I can only say what I have learned and report on it. All I can look at is the changes that have happened in my life and log them against improvement or deterioration in my condition over time Here they are:

Work/Life Balance - I forced myself to calm down and realise that the world would not fall apart (and no one at work would notice) if I stopped taking my work home in the evenings. Instead I took up an exercise class, got out more and exchanged random TV for reading.

Diet - if I don't cook it we don't eat it. The fewer the ingredients the better. This means going back to cooking only plain meats,fish,vegetables and fruit with simple oils and fats, I bake all our bread, (which takes hardly any time) I use fresh herbs for seasoning and we eat very well. Between a simple diet and more exercise I have lost and kept off 30 pounds.

Alcohol - I was not an excessive drinker but I now I only drink a small amount of wine with the occasional special meal. I used to get Rantidine on prescription to deal with the acid reflux that I always got after I drank wine. This has stopped completely.

Two years ago I retired and I had such a long remission that I thought I had found the answer in giving up paid work. I then began to have urinary symptoms. Feelings of fullness when my bladder was empty,cystitis-like discomfort without the urgency, an aching sensation in my bladder. Before long I realised that it was coinciding with the old familiar cramps, and bouts of diarrhea and constipation and also with going back to work one day a week.Just in case it was a new condition I had scans and examinations which failed to find any cause.

Over the years I have tried so many medications, over the counter and prescribed, that I long ago lost faith in their efficacy. This time however, I decided to see what was on offer. I started at the pharmacy and was offered Calpermin peppermint capsules. Unfortunately I couldn't swallow them. I then, in desperation accepted the pharmacist's offer of "IBS Relief" Mebiverine Hydroxidide

I am not going to call this a miracle cure because I firmly believe that there has been a steady progression through the changes I've made in my life that have made the small tweak of an antispasmodic the final piece of the puzzle that has tipped the balance of my digestion back in favour of comfort and regularity.

Overall, I recommend that people take a look at their whole health picture and try to simplify as much of their lives as possible. Take a long hard look at your diet and make it as simple as possible. I am very suspicious of some of the fats that are used in commercially prepared foods. Exercise for free by walking or for little cost by joining an exercise group or class.Find some "white spaces", quiet activities that leave you feeling calm and accept that the world will not fall apart just because you are not controlling it, As for the medication, it didn't work for me at the beginning but by carefully tracking changes I can say that it is a part of the solution now.

6 Replies

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  • sounds like a good plan. I like it.

  • Very helpful and makes a lot of sense.

  • Hi Very helpful advice - I have tried so many things over the years but have not found anything that has worked but diet, still working on my stress levels.

  • I completely agree with you. I have only been diagnosed with IBS for a year, but suffered for many years before- thinking I could handle it. When they diagnosed IBS they gave me a very unhelpful- 'you'll have to learn to deal with it'. There was also a very unhelpful list of 'well these might work, see your GP'. One day, I decided to take control. I started conselling to deal with stress relief, saw a dietician- did the FODMAP diet, tried hypnotherapy, and have just started Tai Chi to help more with the stress relief. I took control of my situation and found more me time. Its made an incredible difference. I still get bouts- usually hormonal or stress related- but now suffer much less pain and less frequent bouts. I hope this helps

  • You've got the right outlook. As each day passes I am convinced more and more that what we eat makes who we are (yep that's a diet alright). Keep strong!

    peerdiagnosis.com/symptoms/

  • Scubaange - I too find those to be two of the worst triggers - hormones and stress. Have had counselling and try many other stress revealing techniques such as yoga and believe it or not dancing. dancing and walking really help me to feel better

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