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.