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Some relief

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#1 Guest_alliss_*

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Posted 21 July 2001 - 02:23 PM

Hi all,I have suffered from IBS for 3 years, since I was 28. In the past few months, I have noticed a gradual decline in my symptoms, and I wanted to share this news with you. I have no cures to offer, and nothing to sell, but I offer hope. So listen!My IBS started quite suddenly. It made sense to me that stress might have contributed to bringing it about, as I was under a lot of stress in those days (professionally and personally). The most debilitating symptoms were: extreme pain especially after eating, uncontrollable unpredictable cramps, severe painful bloating, and diarrhea. I went to several doctors, and I actually found that fiber made the D worse. (Unfortunately, it took me many months to realize this). My gastroenterologist was helpful, but in the end, she really had nothing to offer. I tried everything - various medicines, herbal supplements, minerals, excluding foods, exercise, prayer, fiber, water ... everything I could possibly think of, I did. I kept a food diary, and didn't notice any changes in my IBS by excluding wheat/diary/sugar/etc/etc. It puzzled me when I used to get asked by doctors about when my symptoms appear, because my symptoms never *disappeared*! I had symptoms 24-7, and my life was miserable, unbearable, and full of despair. I could not go out or have fun or be spontaneous. IBS had taken over my life. Only IBS sufferers can know what that is like, so I think you will understand.Over the last 6 months, my symptoms have improved. I can pretty much say that this has had nothing to do with any medicines (since I haven't been taking any) or supplements. Some things in my life have changed, and it may be that, in some part, these positive changes are responsible for my IBS being better. For one thing, I decided to cut out fat from my diet (I wanted to lose weight anyway, so this gave me added incentive). I had noticed that fried foods particularly caused painful cramps and all the rest of the symptoms. I went overboard to start with, and *totally* cut out fat from my diet. I mean, Totally! No oil, margarine, hidden fats, nothing. I also started to eat (even) smaller portions of food, but ate more frequently. These two changes together started to help. I also started to lose weight (I also exercised 3 times a week), and this made me feel happier - like I could actually control something. Since then, I have incorporated oil and stuff like that back into my diet, but only in very small amounts - still almost negligible. It works for me. Try it! Since I was already kind of into health foods, it wasn't too difficult for me to go this route, as it may be for others. But if you think it might help, try it for 2 weeks at least. You just never know!Secondly, psychological factors are definitely a big part of IBS. This part can be complicated. But we have to be honest with ourselves. What are we stressed about? Can we change that situation? Or will we have to look inwards and change something about ourselves? It could be either, or both. There is tons of stuff on the net about stress management. Plus I looked deeper inside and realized I had issues about not being able to forgive certain people in my life. I tried to forgive - it's hard. I can't say I'm there yet, but I'm working on it. The other weird thing is that it is possible that, in some complex way, there is some payoff for having IBS. Now I know this sounds offensive and crazy, but please keep reading. I thought about this issue for a long time and was convinced that there were no payoffs whatsoever. I never cut corners on my responsibilities or any area of life (apart from social) because of IBS. And I never sought sympathy from others, as I pretty much kept my suffering to myself. How could there possibly be any payoffs? Well, it turned out that my body was trying to tell me something. Folks, let's face it. Our minds can lie to us because it's found ways of doing so. But our bodies cannot and do not lie. They speak out and reflect what we really feel and what we really *need*. For me, I really needed validation and support in my life. I have had a rather traumatic (at times abusive) past, and this has taken its toll (IBS probably being one consequence). I really believe that my body was screaming out for help, to be noticed, validated, and to talk about my pain with important people (ie, family) in my life (who had been involved/responsible for some abuse). In doing so, I could talk about my IBS, express my vulnerability, and say how it makes me feel without ever saying how much hurt I feel from my painful experiences and from them. IBS may have been symbolic - it was safe for me to (finally) express my despair in a way that was acceptable. It was cathartic. I got heard. I never even knew that's what I needed. Since that time (6 months ago), my symptoms have been better. I also have a better relationship with a couple of people (family members) - and maybe some of this was due to my expressing my vulnerability to them in a safe way, and their reaching out to me to help. I don't know if any of this makes any sense.So while I can't say for sure what has helped me, I know that these changes occurred right before my symptoms improved. I know it's hard to have hope when you have IBS. But please hold on to some hope - although they say there is "no cure," there is. All they mean by that is "we, the doctors, can't find a cure." There is an important difference. There is a cure. I have found prayer to be a great help. I have cried, despaired, been angry at God..IBS brought out the worst in me. But I kept praying. Please, please, I say to you: please keep praying. While it feels that so much of life cannot be controlled when you have IBS, you have the choice to pray. Never give up that choice. Persevere, persevere.I am not totally free of IBS. I still have all the symptoms, but in a very mild form. If I had to live with that, it's not so bad. It's not perfect, but compared to how it was, I could live with this. So I thought I'd share my story, for what it's worth. I think it's important to know that, while there is a lot of suffering, there is also hope, and if I have offered even one person out there the hope that your IBS will improve, then my effort has been worth it. I will remember you in my prayers.AP.S. There are a lot of websites about unanswered prayer, if you need to refresh your sense of "why the hell should I pray?" It's really worth checking out...


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