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I'm curious if anyone else has ever had an eating disorder because of their IBS-C symptoms or if I'm the only one that copes with it this way.

I've been watching this show "Supersize vs. Super Skinny" and I'm noticing that these really skinny people eat more than I do on a daily basis. My colar bones stick out like theirs, my hands and wrists are bony too, but unlike them I don't sleep throughout the day. I still have more energy than they do.

I have been practising a starving method for 15 years. I starve myself for a few days before activities or events so that I won't be in pain or be too bloated to fit into nice clothes. My body can go without food for quite awhile and yet still be able to be physically active. I mean really active, like hike up a mountain or participate in a 20km obstacle course race. Granted, I'm not moving as fast as others and I'm dead on my feet by the end of it. I have learned to operate on a constant feeling of fatigue without needing to nap throughout the day and still be physically active.

I only discovered I had IBS-C about six years ago but I've had the symptoms since I was 10 years old. I remember as a kid how bad my symptoms were. I was not taking any kind of digestional aids back then (laxatives, probiotics, etc...) and would only have a BM 3 to 4 times a month. When I did have a BM it was excruciatingly painful and I was usually in the bathroom for three hours. Food was terrifying to me.

My parents got concerned when as a teenager I started losing weight and not eating and they thought my anorexic diet was a mental issue like for most teenagers. You know, thinking I was fat or something.

Laxatives increased my BM's to 2-3 times a week but they didn't always work and my digestion was still unreliable. Hence I created this starving method so that I could be certain my body would be functional for an activity or event. My IBS symptoms have caused me to cancel on a lot friend's plans and miss out on social events and activities. Even with this starvation method I could still only do things that were planned a few days in advance but at least I could get out into the world more often.

Two years ago I started changing my diet by eliminating problematic foods (bread, starches, dairy, etc...). I also added probiotics and a herbal bowel tonic to my regimen of senna pills. My symptoms greatly improved. My BM's increased to nearly once a day and my starvation days needed before events decreased.

That said, I'm not happy with how I look. I envy the healthy fit women with good muscle tone and who can run 6 miles everyday. I look like a scrawny weakling with a few tiny muscles. Whilst I can hike up a mountain, do a race, and bang out a few pull-ups I can't do these things daily. However I'd rather have a diet that makes me moderately functional rather than having no life at all and being in constant pain.

I haven't found any other answer than to greatly limit my food intake. Drugs will only help so much because at the root of it my IBS is triggered by my emotions. Since I cannot foretell the future or how I will feel daily, the only thing I have control over is the food that goes into my body.

Can anyone else relate?
 

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A fair number of people with IBS (either way, people with IBS-D do it as well) get either fearful of food or find they can control symptoms with some fairly extreme eating patterns.

Unfortunately on the C side of things regular meals tends to keep the gut moving things along more regularly so sometimes it can end up being counter-productive and there seems to be a lot of chronic constipation in people who had no IBS before they had an eating disorder.I

If you are limiting eating try looking at one of the diets that promotes nutrient dense food (some people do long term calorie restriction thinking it may extend their life and they eat nutrient dense foods to get everything in).

If you are missing out on nutrients that will make the calorie restriction even more exhausting than if you at least get all your vitamins.

Have you done anything like mindfulness meditation to help regulate your feelings?
 

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I am 52 years old and have had chronic constipation problems since I was a very young child before I was diagnosed with IBS-C in June of 1996. I don't have an eating disorder but I do know what causes my constipation and IBS-C to become worse. I have to drink lots of water, eat a high fiber diet, and have a daily scheduled time for moving my bowels. Citrucel in the morning and evening help to keep your bowels to move a on a regular basis and helps to keep the BM's soft and easy to pass. I use a glycerin suppository to help to move my bowels if I haven't moved my bowels within 48 hours of my last BM. I have learned not to strain and force BM's out but to use slow deep breathing exercises to help me to move my bowels because it's a lot less painful. I listen to relaxing music on a CD player to help me to relax while I'm on the toilet. This also helps when I am really stressed out to relax and do slow deep breathing. Drink at least 64 oz. a say of water and eat a diet high in fiber 25-30 grams a day will help a lot with being able to move your bowels on a more regular basis and it won't be so painful to go. It took me many years of suffering to figure this out for myself with no doctors input. I hope this will help you like it has for me.
 

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I'm curious if anyone else has ever had an eating disorder because of their IBS-C symptoms or if I'm the only one that copes with it this way.

I've been watching this show "Supersize vs. Super Skinny" and I'm noticing that these really skinny people eat more than I do on a daily basis. My colar bones stick out like theirs, my hands and wrists are bony too, but unlike them I don't sleep throughout the day. I still have more energy than they do.

I have been practising a starving method for 15 years. I starve myself for a few days before activities or events so that I won't be in pain or be too bloated to fit into nice clothes. My body can go without food for quite awhile and yet still be able to be physically active. I mean really active, like hike up a mountain or participate in a 20km obstacle course race. Granted, I'm not moving as fast as others and I'm dead on my feet by the end of it. I have learned to operate on a constant feeling of fatigue without needing to nap throughout the day and still be physically active.

I only discovered I had IBS-C about six years ago but I've had the symptoms since I was 10 years old. I remember as a kid how bad my symptoms were. I was not taking any kind of digestional aids back then (laxatives, probiotics, etc...) and would only have a BM 3 to 4 times a month. When I did have a BM it was excruciatingly painful and I was usually in the bathroom for three hours. Food was terrifying to me.

My parents got concerned when as a teenager I started losing weight and not eating and they thought my anorexic diet was a mental issue like for most teenagers. You know, thinking I was fat or something.

Laxatives increased my BM's to 2-3 times a week but they didn't always work and my digestion was still unreliable. Hence I created this starving method so that I could be certain my body would be functional for an activity or event. My IBS symptoms have caused me to cancel on a lot friend's plans and miss out on social events and activities. Even with this starvation method I could still only do things that were planned a few days in advance but at least I could get out into the world more often.

Two years ago I started changing my diet by eliminating problematic foods (bread, starches, dairy, etc...). I also added probiotics and a herbal bowel tonic to my regimen of senna pills. My symptoms greatly improved. My BM's increased to nearly once a day and my starvation days needed before events decreased.

That said, I'm not happy with how I look. I envy the healthy fit women with good muscle tone and who can run 6 miles everyday. I look like a scrawny weakling with a few tiny muscles. Whilst I can hike up a mountain, do a race, and bang out a few pull-ups I can't do these things daily. However I'd rather have a diet that makes me moderately functional rather than having no life at all and being in constant pain.

I haven't found any other answer than to greatly limit my food intake. Drugs will only help so much because at the root of it my IBS is triggered by my emotions. Since I cannot foretell the future or how I will feel daily, the only thing I have control over is the food that goes into my body.

Can anyone else relate?
I feel like I could have written most of your post based on my own life.

I'm now 29, and for as long as I can remember, I have had to basically "starve" myself or eat very low carb/calorie DAYS before an event, as well as after an event to "deflate" myself from the bloating. I'm also able to go quite awhile without eating. I'm at the point now where I basically plan my whole week around whether or not I will eat, depending on if I'll be attending dinner with friends, a family event or any social event. It's taken over my life and depresses me so much. I also avoid many social outings due to the bloating or from not wanting to be around foods that I know will affect me, but that I really want to eat. I just want to be able to eat and socialize like a normal person. I usually eat one meal a day and no matter the size of it, I'm full until the next day.

I am also very active. I workout 4-5 days a week doing strength training as well as running, and you would never know it by looking at me because I'm always bloating up, to the point of looking pregnant.

I have tried to follow a Paleo diet while taking probiotics and found I felt and looked my best then, however I was still always constipated. I still had a difficult time having any bowel movements without a suppository or miralax. As great as the diet is, of course it's hard to avoid certain foods forever, especially because who wants to be out with friends eating lettuce while everyone else is eating pizza?

Just wanted to let you know you aren't alone in this...
 

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I can definitely relate. So much so that it brings tears to my eyes. I am 22 years old and have had IBS-C (never D, apart from when I was on Magnesium Pelligrino..blergh) for about 5 years. Basically, I can rarely have a BM without taking a Microlax enema. I usually take one every 3-6 days and sometimes they don't work enough. What usually happens is I will go a bit from it but it's never enough to clear out everything which means "old" stuff is still there and continues to build up until I have an "attack" where I will have a week or more's worth of BM in one sitting. It is extremely painful.

Anyway, when I was first diagnosed I went onto a soup diet because I was scared of solids and having them block me up. From then on I became obsessed with the different types of foods and drinks that would add to my stools. I cut out so many things and at one period I was just drinking strained cup a soups (yes, apparently the noodles and dried veggies in it was too scary for me to ingest) and jelly. Pretty much anything 'clear.' I came up with this method after I had multiple colonoscopies (I have a separate bowel disease that does not cause these symptoms) because I found that I didn't have to go the toilet anymore and therefore had no pain. To me, food = bulk in my bowel = pooping = painful while no food = nothing in my bowel = no pain or pooping.

From when I was diagnosed I became severely anorexic and dropped over 30 kilos (about 66lbs) and had nurtured a BMI of 14 for a long time. I became terrified of food which led to the eating disorder. I had experienced unhappiness with my weight before but I never would have said I had an eating disorder until I got IBS-C. My bowel problems led to my development of anorexia and eventually bulimia which I currently struggle with. After my second hospitalisation at the ED ward I began binging and suddenly allowing myself to eat all the foods I'd rejected for so long was amazing. I spent months buying loafs of bread, thai food, chocolate, tomato sauce etc and hiding them in my room. Eventually the hardcore binging stopped when my body kind of realised I didn't need to gain any more weight and it was doing more harm than good (I was still going to be constipated). For a while I took extreme laxatives (glycoprep - the ones you use for colonoscopies.

Anyway, I wanted to say yes yes yes. I relate. I never would have had this stupid eating disorder that haunts me daily if I didn't have IBS-C. It's an awful causal circle for me: the IBS leads to pain and crying and bloating which leads to a fear of food and wanting to eat less.

I also watch supersize vs superskinny - I love that show! Haha. Probably just because I'm eating disordered or something though :/
 

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Sorry to vent/come off as harsh, but threads like this infuriate me… (to the OP): YOU DON'T HAVE A EATING DISORDER (from what you've described!).

Did you not say that your REASON for withholding food is CAUSED BY you IBS!!!???!!!

[Hypothetical question] ASSUMING a doctor gave you a pill that was guaranteed to bring 100% resolution to your IBS/GI problems with no side effects, would you still withhold food from yourself and/or try to lose weight or maintain a lower than healthy BMI?

If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, you most certainly do NOT have an eating disorder, bottom line, end of discussion, and any doctor/specialist who tries to treat you or tell you otherwise is an ignorant ********** (fill in word of choice). Plain and simple: if you're not eating because eating causes you GI pain/havoc, the physical PAIN is the reason you're withholding food from yourself, NOT because of distorted perceptions of body weight like in a true eating disorder, primary treatments of which involved counseling. You can be counseled/lectured till the cows come home about proper body weight but that's not going to do jack for you IF the sole reason for not eating is CAUSED BY the pain/havoc on your GI system.

I have the opposite situation and I struggle VERY much each and every day. I'm naturally very thin (or WAS prior to my IBS) and from the reading I've done my chronic constipation has caused some non-typical symptoms that are quite opposite of what typical IBS-C's experience; and that is I am in EXCRUCIATING pain if I DON'T eat LOTS (i.e. 5,000-6,000 calories per day). So as you can imagine, as a 5'3" female, eating that quantity of food results in accusations (from ignorant doctors) in the Eating Disorder Otherwise Not Specified category. For insurance purposes, I will outright threaten any doctor to take the issue up in court if they do not drop such an inappropriate diagnosis. I do medical research, and plain and simple, a MANDATORY component of a true binge is the lack of control/inability to stop eating component (psychologically speaking). Is the QUANTITY of food I eat (on days I give in to the PAIN) considered a binge? Absolutely. Is quantity ALONE the defining factor of a binge? Absolutely NOT. Can I stop eating on a "bite's notice" at any given point during a so-called 'binge'? Hell yeah I can! Have I done so (all the time, otherwise I'd be obese); and ya know what happens when I stop (and don't finish eating however much my body needs at the moment to dislodge the blockage): I'm double over in excruciating pain for the next several hours if not the whole day.

Anyhow, that's my story and I apologize if I came off as harsh, but this is a really touchy subject because most of the posts I've read (with the exception of jessapuss's where it seems like the "food deprivation" to avoid pain may have triggered an eating disorder) are the result of a GI disorder and should be treated as such. Another quick example: one of my great aunts in her 80's developed dysphagia and as a result lost tons of weight until the doctors were finally able to figure it out and treat it to a point where she could consume normal amounts of food again. Every time my aunt would try to eat or drink a normal quantity of food/liquid, the poor woman would almost CHOKE. Is this an eating disorder? Hell no! The poor woman had something physically wrong with her that resulted in her barely eating/drinking… as soon as the doctors were able to fix it, she GLADLY resumed eating/drinking as normal and restored her body weight.
 

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Just to be clear. If someone has pain from eating or any other physical issues that prevent them from eating properly I do think that problem should be treated.

I really don't think anyone is saying do not treat the IBS-C.

But there are people with mild food issues or mild IBS symptoms (or whose IBS is not food triggered at all but they blame the food rather than the real trigger) who become extremely food phobic and may be causing themselves more harm from their fears than they would have from the IBS if they just ate small nutritious meals at regular intervals.

If someone develops disordered eating patterns that are destroying their health, they may need to get the anxiety, phobias, and other issues dealt with as even if you could treat the IBS completely they may not be able to force themselves to eat enough or well enough to maintain health.

I don't think it is either or and if you have IBS you should never deal with any other additional issues going on.

Doctors also do have to monitor for eating disorder problems as part of good treatment so I don't think even asking about them should be forbidden and any discussion of an eating disorder requires filling a malpractice lawsuit.

Ideally we should work towards finding treatment plans that do not require people to eat in extremely unhealthy ways (if your health is great the way you are eating then fine, but a lot of people eat in ways that destroy what remaining health they have and may not eat properly ever again even if the disease that got them started went away, and I don't think that should be ignored, but your mileage may vary).

Anyone who is eating in what may be way out of the norm to control symptoms (either amount or only eating rice and nothing else) does need to make sure their health is being monitored so if you do become anemic or get things out of whack enough to cause serious side effects you can get treatment for that imbalance or problem ASAP rather than ending up in the ICU before someone notices something is off.
 

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To a degree I can relate as well. But I do agree with Kathleen in that it can't automatically be diagnosed as eating disorder. Sounds more like self medicating only not with drugs or alcohol. You are reasoning "cause and effect" in a matter best treated by professionals, whatever their specialty.
As I said I do understand deprivation to avoid certain effects. I have had really bad pain issues (outside of IBS-C) since 1996. For many years I just dealt with it. I was 24 when I broke my back. I had a 3yr old AND a 3 month old. Luckily I had my in laws right next door or would never have healed as well as I did even though its been painful. Over the years I have suffered much physical trauma so the pain is unbearable much of the time. I was prescribed pain medications through the years off and on depending on how I could function without it. I never took it while raising my family though. Now I am in my 50's and I "deprive" my body of pain meds due to the fact that my body, after just a few days, begins to think it has to have the med. from that comes withdrawals. All totally legal and taken exactly as prescribed. I went through such horrible withdrawals I was in the ER wishing I could die from all the horrible effects. My Dr had decided to put me on the pain meds for 5 months, but I skipped a dose and it was the beginning of withdrawing. I had been taking it 3 months at that point. I vowed at that point never EVER take that type of meds ever again. In the past 4 years my husband and Drs have insisted I should be taking pain killers. I will only let the Dr write the script for 2 days worth and will not take it unless I am out of my mind, throwing up and unable to cope. Sounds dramatic I am sure.
All this just to say, I deprive too but I don't have an affinity for pain. I have to do what allows me to cope, if not function, with an unfortunate set of physical circumstances. Mental distress is huge just as with the OP and others, so I get treated for that. Not embarrassing, just difficult.
I am sure it is not easy to deprive your body of food, but food does not push out food in my body either. When my gut gets full, I throw up anything I swallow.
Ok, I shut up now.just know we are all here for each other.

Thanks for reading the rumblings. I hope something may help, if not, then just reassure.
 
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