Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Results Update and and an IBS management strategy

The coeliac screen came back negative. It was really strange I found this out today, because I had bad bloating and wind after lunch today, even though it was just spinach, gluten free pumpkin scone and a little hummus. So obviously going dairy and gluten free have not been the miracle cure I was hoping for.
I got the result when I was seeing a gastroenterologist today. He's pretty sure I have IBS and nothing more sinister, although he has booked a sigmoidoscopy and small bowel series. I've also still to have an MRI and he wants me to see a dietitian.
All in all, I'm feeling pretty depressed about my guts at the moment. I guess I was hoping I would have an issue with one particular food because I wouldn't have found giving up gluten or anything else difficult. I sort of feel like I'm no further on in finding relief for my symptoms, something I resolved in January I was going to do something about, however, this thing really is beyond my control. I've made plenty of changes to my diet and other areas of my lifestyle, but I suppose there is still more I could do. I just hate that I have to go so far out of my way to not have to think about my guts.
I can't say I'm looking forward to enemas, barium meals, and tubes up my rear end. But I suppose I have gone down this route now, I may as well see it through, even though it'll not tell me anything I didn't know already.
For my own comfort, I'm going to take another look at the changes I've made and try a little harder to implement some more.

1. Drink 2 litres of plain water a day. I always hit this if I'm exercising. I might only get 1.5 if I'm not, but I'm going to try to get this everyday, because sometimes I'm not as good with this at the weekend. It's easier at work where I have a routine of filling my litre bottle first thing in the morning, and again at lunchtime, and sipping away all day.

2. Have a good look at my diet, by way of a food diary. Experiment with different types of fibre and see if certain kinds cause problems.

3. Take a daily probiotic. My gastroenterologist recommended VSL3, which sounds great, but it's too expensive for me to take long term. I might take it for a while, then switch to a less potent (and cheaper) probiotic.

4. Stop eating a large evening meal, instead eat two small meals after work, one around 5 and one around 8. This is something I only do every now and again. I think it might help.

5. Eat wholefoods as much as possible. By wholefoods I mean very few ingredient, minimally processed things, so I count cold pressed unrefined oils, tea, coffee, natural nut butters, sugar free jam, tinned tomatoes, stoneground gluten free flour, tamari, miso, and other organic soya products with no artificial additives, as I find tofu and especially plain soya yogurt very easy to digest. This means being really well prepared, and setting aside a sizeable chunk of my weekend to prepare food.

6. Have another look at my exercise routine. I haven't done very much for about 6 weeks now, so I need to sort something out anyway. I plan on cutting way back on what I was doing before I got sick. I'm thinking going swimming 3 times a week, and running twice at the most. While I walk most days, I don't count it, I'm talking about exercise as in breaking sweat, but that doesn't mean "hardcore". I think a scenic run or a nice hike at the weekend will be the way to go, rather than covering a specific mileage in a certain time, i..e, taking the stress out.

7. Improve my posture and do some yoga poses to support the bowel. I spend too much of the day hunched in a bad chair.

8. Once all my tests are over, get a colonic. I keep meaning to do this!

Typing that has made me feel a bit more optimistic about the whole thing. No one thing works, and there's a different set of solutions of every IBS sufferer. But you won't get anywhere unless you try things out and stick with what works.

Tonight's dinner:

Sunshine burger, pureed tomatoes and steamed cabbage with lots of black pepper. That's a sneaky brown bread roll- a two fingers to gluten...I'm not sure where I am with gluten at the moment. I might eat some small amounts every now and again. We'll see.


  1. Sorry to hear about all your test and issues. We know how you feel. We are still trying to figure our bodies out too! And our older sister is having serious stomach issues and no doctor can help her. She as seen several doctors, almost every single one where she lives in Florida, and no luck. No one has answers for her. We are trying to help her out too with her issues and help her feel good again. Hang in there! xoxo

    Pure2raw Twins

  2. Hi lovely, sorry your IBS is being rubbish. Great news about the coeliac screen tho! That's good.

    If it's any consolation my IBS is going crazy right now too. I've started eating a more varied diet including adding more dairy and my IBS is being crazy. Ugh. It's so annoying isn't it. I can't help but think a lot of it for me is down to my anxiety and stress. When I'm stressed I obsess over food and what I'm eating so i could be intolerant to dairy or I could just be uber stressed. The joys of IBS. I'm tempted to adopt the mindset of "it's out of my control". Maybe I should just accept that there's nothing that can make it better and when it's worse it's just one of those things...

    I don't know. Can you tell I'm tired of thinking about it? You probably are too!

    Hope you feel better soon xxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Lori and Michelle, that's awful about your sister:( I hope she gets an answer to her problems soon and gets some relief. The gut really is a mystery!

    Hi Sarah, thanks for you comment. I know exactly how you feel, and how depressing it is when you put your faith in a solution and it doesn't work out. I'm also fed up thinking about it.
    That's the worst thing about IBS, I agree with you that to a certain extent you just have to live with it. I do also think must be ways to calm it down, although they're probably very different for each sufferer, so it does mean trial and error. I'm hoping taking a probiotic might help a bit, have you tried that? I hope you are feeling better soon too!

  4. It gets SO frustrating sometimes, doesn't it? Especially when you restrict yourself from so much! After a while, it's like, c'mon guts! Get it together!

    Right now, I'm really into not eating that much during the day. My portion sizes are ridiculous. Before I eat, I think really hard about what kind of hunger I have. Many mornings, I'll eat a veg burger - completely plain - and tote along date bar snacks for if I get hungry later. I eat less in the moment, but always have more on hand. That seems to help a lot.

    Hummus is definitely a fart-inducer too, whether you have IBS or not.

    Don't despair! You will feel good again soon.

  5. I am ok with hummus if I soak the beans for 24 hours, rinsing a couple of times and then boiling for 3 hours with kombu. I guess I'm weird, I have no problems with soy either, despite I don't think it was my lunch that give me the trouble, it was more likely that it stimulated my gut, which had a whole cantaloupe melon in there, which I'd eaten a bit hastily.
    Like you, I mostly eat little during the day. Although I worry that putting very little through my system might be doing more harm to gut flora. I guess I really need to try and move away from meals that mostly fill me up and eat smaller and more often. It's hard to divorce yourself even more from the way other people eat, I get a hard time about it from family and friends who think I'm being overly restrictive or overly fussy. It does leave you feeling kinda left out of social occasions, doesn't it?