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Living with IBS: Healing from the Inside Out

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Living with IBS can be difficult, but I am determined to live a full life and heal from the inside out through diet and lifestyle changes

Living with IBS: Healing from the Inside Out - TheFitCookie.com

As some of you know, I have been struggling with digestive issues for years now. Sometimes I feel that is is only getting worse, especially since I had 2 rounds of antibiotics last year for strep (I had it twice last year, ick).

Last year my seasonal allergies made my digestive problems worse, and this year the same thing is happening now that the weather is warming up and I am spending more time exercising outdoors.

Disclaimer: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your medical professional.

My GI doctor has been less than helpful, and they insist there is nothing wrong with me beyond IBS. Since I have no “true” food allergies, no bugs or parasites, and no visible damage to my insides, then I think I have leaky gut. Which, unfortunately, has not been helped by my occasional overeating and sugar indulgences. I mean, it’s hard to say no to chocolate! But chocolate is another one of those foods that is bothering me so I have to really watch it…

My visit to my GI doctor last week was terrible: I left the office in tears and cried the whole way home. They brushed off my concerns and acted like I had no reason to be there. My symptoms obviously weren’t bad enough to warrant any concern on their part.

I’m never going back to that doctor again…good riddance. Their official diagnoses now is IBS, which really means “we don’t really know what’s wrong with you”. They didn’t even offer any explanation as to what IBS is, or how to live with it.

I was really hoping to get checked for C Diff. so I could qualify for FMT at the University of Colorado, but the test came back negative. That is a good thing, but also disappointing since I won’t qualify for FMT. The FDA has put limits on how FMT can be used, and although I know it would help me, it’s only available to people who have C. diff. infections.

But I have decided that I’m not going to live this way for the rest of life! Simply masking symptoms with a pill isn’t going to cut it for me. I am persistent and I want to know the why so I can fix it and move on. I am going to heal my gut with or without the help of any doctor.

I am going grain-free and really working on my sugar consumption. I feel so much better when I eat less sugar (even from dried fruits), so that is another thing I’m going to work on. Coffee might be something I will have to give up eventually {*sob*} but I will learn to be okay with that if it means healing in the long term.

Another thing I need to work on is stress. I don’t get super-stressed out like I used to, but managing my frustrations a little better will help. I definitely have a marked intestinal reaction to stress: my stomach starts hurting when I get really anxious. In fact I remember having this since I was a kid. This is pretty common in people with IBS I think, so learning to manage stress is huge!

There are several diets out there to follow that will help heal intestinal lining, like the GAPS diet, the Specific Carb Diet (SCD), low FODMAP diets, and rotation diets. But in truth I am horrible at following diets and restricting my eating.

I eat really well as it is, but there are always room for improvements. Small steps are best for me right now, starting with grains, then sugar, and perhaps coffee, etc. Progress not perfection, right 😉

My biggest challenge in all of this is staying hopeful. Being hopeful that things will improve when they always seem to be getting worse. Being hopeful that this may be temporary if I can heal my gut. not feeling deprived because I am taking care of my health in the long term.

Have you struggled with health problems? How do you stay positive?

8 thoughts on “Living with IBS: Healing from the Inside Out”

    • Thanks Rob! I do find that cold-brewed coffee is easier on my stomach, but we will see how I do! I have been “cheating” and having a bit of coffee over the last couple days – it’s tough to give up!

  1. I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 18 or 19 after struggling with stomach issues for about 7 years. I still feel like IBS is a cop out diagnosis that basically means “we don’t know what’s wrong with you.” It’s been about 10 years since diagnosis and I still don’t like sleeping over at anyone’s house, rarely have dinner at anyone elses house and worry constantly at work. I’m currently looking to move out and in SF that means moving in with others, since its so expensive, and it’s SO nerve-wracking since most 2-4 bedroom apartments only have 1 bathroom.

    • That’s tough! I had giardia when I was 6 and things have never been quite right with my stomach since then. My health is a big experiment right now nutritionally speaking. I’m trying different things and cutting out certain foods to see what works and what doesn’t. I also think I’m going to go get an MRT allergy test done sometime this year, it might shed some light on what’s going on

  2. For 40 years I have been diagnosed with colitis, IBS, diverticulitis and acid reflux. Any medication the Drs. gave me never made any difference. I learned to live with all my stomach problems and constantly worried that my stomach would act up when I was out shopping or at a social function. After a colonoscopy I was told there was no indication of celiac but I decided to try gluten-free for a while. I have felt consistantly better and have also been able to lose weight. Do I still have bad stomach days and an occasional flare-up even with no gluten in the food I ate? Yes I do, but I think I am on the right path with the whole food allergy thing and try to stay positive because I am having better results now than with all the 40 years of medications that did absolutely nothing. Good luck to you, Sarah Jane. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Sue! It is a frustrating process, but I have found most of the things that bother me, but I am getting sensitive to new foods every year. I hope I can get this reversed soon otherwise I won’t have anything to eat anymore, haha! 🙂

  3. So many have IBS & digestive issues! I have certain foods that bloat me or make me toot.. I eat them in smaller amounts.. I am sure many will get help from reading your posts!


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