Back when my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (“IBS”) was at it’s worst and the suggestions from my doctor weren’t helping, I turned into an obsessive information fiend and would spend hours scouring the internet for information. I was Googling so often that I would get the “are you a robot? There has been an excessive amount of activity on your computer” warning sign.
I read all the medical information that I could find from both allopathic and alternative practitioners and when I couldn’t find any new information from the medical perspective I turned my focus to stories from people who were also suffering from IBS. I read countless forums, blogs, those terrible “Yahoo answers”. Anything I could find.
I became completely obsessed with the idea that there must be ONE thing out there- a supplement, a food, a treatment- that would be the key to my IBS disappearing.
And so one by one I tried every piece of advice that I could find. Most of them resulted in my belly turning into an explosive fart factory (with chia seeds and colon hydrotherapy being the most fart inducing). Not one of them gave me the result I was looking for: a flat, bloat-free belly. And I wasted thousands of dollars.
It took many, many years of trial and error, an education in Nutrition and a little age-induced wisdom to realize that there is no magical key that will get rid of IBS.
The key to keeping IBS under control lies in a combination of ALL the things: nutrition, supplements, eating habits, sleep habits, exercise, stress control, water intake….you must take care of yourself in every area of your life.
Over time I found what I need to thrive with IBS:
- a low FODMAP elimination diet that pinpointed which FODMAPs I can tolerate
- balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day by eating three full meals and one snack
- the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat at each meal
- a robust, healthy gut micro biome after treating dysbiosis and leaky gut
- proper chewing habits (no more eating while distracted) with digestive enzyme support during times of stress or heavy meals
- adequate filtered water intake
- at least 8 hours of sleep each night and going to bed before midnight
- the right amount of exercise (not too much! I tend to go overboard)
- minimal to zero alcohol intake
- stress control
The stress thing is huge for me. Stress gives me IBS belly every. damn. time. It took me a long time to realize I was chronically stressed and it’s something I still work on every day.
My regular belly vs my IBS belly
Addressing each area can take some time but one by one you will find what works for you and keeps your belly happy. Be kind to yourself on your journey: there will be setbacks.
What have you tried that works for you? I’d love to hear in the comments!