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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, this is a wonderful site! The internet is simply amazing in bringing together people with similar problems like IBS.Just finished reading the advice from Tom in Atlanta. Really makes sense, and I'd like to add some additional thoughts.Considering the illness, mental outlook and physical wearing down of one's body, it all becomes a complex, inter-connected downward-spiral.For me, I've been dealing with this for 8-9 months and found myself feeling fine one day, to feeling incredibly despondant and depressed the next. Other days I was so unbelievably angry at the illness, feeling very "over it" already. Enough is enough!It got so bad that I was convinced it was some sort of stomach flu, then a parasite, then possibly I was dying of cancer, then any other horrible disease I could conjure up in my noggin. The imagination is sometimes NOT a wonderful thing.I had to start taking a serious look at NOT ONLY WHAT I WAS EATING, BUT my entire lifestyle. After considerable trial and error, I'm doing quite well and most importantly, I'm feeling 'normal' again. Feeling like my old self. Yay! Tom was very correct in regards to the attitude you take toward to healing yourself. Here's some of the things I discovered. Some you know about, maybe others you don't. Hope this helps some people out there...1.) Take into consideration that your digestive system needs to REST. This is extremely important. Nobody like to work overtime every single day, seven days a week. Your system also hates it. It needs TIME to rest and restore itself. In other words, it needs you to sleep properly. For me, I HAD to have at least 8 hours of REAL sleep each night. Don't take this lightly, because not only does it help your digestive system, but your entire body will have time to play 'catch-up' and get itself ready for the next day. In addition, your mental state will certainly improve after a well-rested sleep. Everything in your body and mind needs "down-time" to rebuild.2.) The TIME you SLEEP is important. Try your darndest to go to sleep at the same time every night so that your natural body clock will begin to understand WHEN you will be sleeping and WHEN you'll be awake. Again, this is important, because the body will continue working if it doesn't quite understand a set schedule of when you rest and when you are up and active. Imagine trying to run a factory where you tell everyone to show up whenever they feel like it, any time of the day. Total chaos. Sure, you'll get some work done, but you'll never have a complet grasp or total control on how productive that factory can truly be. And if the workers continue to work past their shift, they'll get tired and the factory may begin to malfunction, with no set schedule in place.Okay, dumb example, but at least you get the idea. One's own body clock needs to be as constant as it can be, so the body fully is aware of when it can rest and rebuild.3.) Water, water, water....I can't stand water. Never have, so I usually drank lots of sodas. Which is a vicious cycle because they make you even thirstier. Keep a water bottle with you, in the car, at work, etc. Refill it when necessary and keep drinking throughout the day.4.) NO SODAS. Especially colas. You're only setting yourself up to get 'buzzed' on the caffiene and sugars. Sure, for a short time you'll probably feel great, but it'll be hell to get to sleep and even more hellish to stay on a good sleep schedule. The same goes for COFFEE and anything else which will stimulate you. Most IMPORTANTLY, DON't simply cut down your daily intake. You must actually STOP. There are many of us out there who drink coffee and soda as it it were water. It is simply not water. Nuf said.5.) Metamucil...Get yourself the cran-rasberry juice or other combinations and the orange metamucil will taste GREAT with it. It's very important to make sure you're drinking enough liquid with it, so every so often I chase it with a small glass of water. 6.) Mentally satisfy yourself. Take a walk, read a book, get out of the house and do something. Give your mind other things to mull over and figure out. Take your mind OFF the illness as much as you can. I can't stress this enough, because your anxiety will kick in if it has a chance to do so. So, by experiencing other things throughout the day, you may not be as susceptible to the stress and anxiety ruining your life.7.) SMALL MEALS thoughout the day. Someone, I think TOM, mentioned that one slice of pizza may be fine for your system but a slice and a half will trigger it. EXACTLY!!! Your stomach is not the 'expandable unit' that we all usually think. There is a real LIMIT to what it can handle. So, don't starve yourself all day and then suddenly eat to 'compensate' for what you should have been eating all along. Your stomach doesn't work that way, and actually works opposite that thinking! Think about this...Your stomach isn't receiving any food, so it shrinks a little. (Remember the stupid 'factory' example? it downsizes to a smaller factory since there's no 'work') Now you shovel in a large meal and the stomach can't handle it. Whammo! You've just set yourself up for some major trouble. With no room in the system, your 'trigger' foods will now really be triggering even more. Not a good thing.6.) TRIGGER FOODS...Okay, here's my deal. I love fast food places like Del Taco and Taco Bell. Not necessarily the best place to get the proper fibers needed. So, maybe you're not sure WHAT your trigger foods are, so I suggest simply NOT eating your normal meals for a while. I'm talking about what ever you usually fancy on a daily or weekly basis. Your weekly BASIC food that you love. Cook at home, try another restaurant, just change your diet if you are not sure what your trigger foods are. THEN, if you feel okay, pick just one of your old foods and test it out. By elementary, you'll soon figure out the 'trigger' foods you should avoid. Also take into consideration that there might be 'combos' of food which eaten together will counter each other and cause digestive problems. Again, a reminder that not only the type of food may be a trigger, but also the AMOUNT of that particular food.(small NOTE: I found some fruits, jams and orange juices to actually do more harm than good. The acids and sugars in them tend to tear into the digestive tract. If possible avoid the really strong acidic foods, or water them down as much as you can.)7.) PROPER FOODS....Yep, get those fibers and grains. Check out some of the great food sites and nutrition sites for more info.8.) Medications....I'm not a big fan of medications, because most people will take them, and they'll feel better but they then aren't compelled to really solve the underlying problem. I firmly believe they are only to be used as a 'helper' while you try to get your life back on track so that you won't need the medications. (by the way, I'm not talking about those who truly need the medication in order to simply survive, I'm referring to those who simply want to "pop a pill" and forget about the reall causes of the illness.)9.) Read, research, learn!!! Don't stop here at the end of this letter. Don't stop at this website. Don't stop after reading one article in a magazine you just happened to pick up. This is YOUR life we're talking about! Find a reputable doctor, keep a journal of your foods and amounts of intake, regulate yourself to a real no-nonsense sleep schedule that can be maintained on a consistent level. Take time to find out all you can, because you owe it to yourself.As for me, I'm doing quite well now. And I must admit that the feeling of not quite feeling like my old self was the worst part of all. I'm in my thirties, and all I thought about was how my health would simply get worse and worse as the years rolled by. The anxiety associated with IBS was overwhelming, and as a performer, even worse because I worried about feeling nauseous and faint while onstage. For awhile I wondered about a career change because of my fouled-up digestive system. It got really bad before I becaue to turn it around. I truly wish you the best, and hope this letter along with all the others at this site will help some of you out there. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. Take care of YOURSELF!!!!
Sincerely,Chipper
 

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Thanks for taking the time to write all this down. Some of these things I have also learned by trial and error, some of these things are new tips I will be sure to try. This list will benefit a lot of people I think.I especially value the eat smaller meals tip -- I can't even being to explain what a difference that has made in my life. I think this is worth trying for anyone with IBS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Jean, hope it helps some. Thanks for your work and others on this site.Mannie, in regards to eating smaller meals. My main concern really is to not 'overload' the system. Smaller meals even if you don't have to deal with IBS will keep you alert and energized and you won't feel fatigued after a heavy meal. My wife is a dancer/choreographer who taught me to eat smaller meals thoughout the day instead of my usual "blowout" dinner late at night after basically starving myself all day long. The digestive system HATES surprises, so small meals periodically throughout the day along with a regular sleep schedule will provide less of a 'sucker-punch' to your system.Thanks again for responding!Chipper
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow Chipper! This post appears you've put a lot of thought and reflection into it. Thank you very much for it - I intend to do just the same and re-read it often. Very good, thank you for the time you spent to share it with us.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Eric and Axelle, thanks for the kind words. I'm sure I've left stuff out here and there so I urge readers to view other posts at this website as well. As always, I hope this helps people who are suffering. Should anyone have further questions on the topics I've touched on, please let me know and I'll try to elaborate.Thanks!
 

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Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. What you said makes good sense. You didn't mention in your post however, what your symptoms were before getting things under control. Did you have C or D?------------------"Remember To Stop and Smell the Roses"Rose (C-type)
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Chipper you made a good point by trying to satisfy yourself mentally. I am finding that I am stuck at home and just lying there getting worked up about it. All I think about is the illness. I am starting a nutrition course (only 2 hours a week, that's all I can manage) in september. I do Tai chi and I might think about taking an aromatherapy class. I think this will make me feel like I'm doing something about my illness and enjoying the classes as well. Only trouble is I am struggling to occupy myself until then!
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Glad this is helping or at the very least supporting people in battling this thing.Rose, you asked about my symptoms...Mine was excessive cramping and bloating for a couple of days and then suddenly a full day or two of D. Terrible. Before discovering what worked, I, like many others, used over-the-counter products which in the end (no pun intended) wound up screwing with my system even more. I'd treat the C's, then find myself treating the D's...back and forth...This, of course, screwed up my "body clock" even more which didn't help at all.My other symptoms were nausea, and the feeling I might faint here and there. In short, there were times which felt like I had no real power over my own body. A "loss' of self.By the way, I can't emphasis SLEEP enough. The body needs time to rest and rebuild, and on a regular 'sleep/wake' schedule, it'll begin to understand WHEN it should be working and WHEN it should be resting and recuperating from the day. In this day of cities and society going non-stop and "24-7", the body sometimes simply can't keep up. So, if you find yourself needing or using sodas or coffee or caffeine pills to make it thru the day, you might feel awake and maybe alert, but your body is working on borrowed time. GIVE IT A REST!!! Ever keep scratching at a scab on your arm when you were a kid? It never had a chance to heal as you periodically continued to take layer after layer off the wound. This can be said somewhat of the lining in your digestive system. The walls get thinner or weaker, and the muscles and other parts of the tract which are used get weary and worn out because they haven't been given enough quality time to really, truly rest and rebuild.In my case, I'd feel better one day and immediately go back to old habits of eating "trigger" foods which I love, not going to bed at a regularly scheduled time and not getting enough sleep (usually 3-5 hours, instead of the required 7-9 hours). Then the terrible cycle would begin all over again, because my body had never truly recovered.Also, very important point: Sleep deprivation will also play bigtime into your stress situations and anxiety, and even panic attacks. The more you rest your body, the better prepared it is for the more chaotic moments in life.Again, thanks to everyone! I wish you all success!
 

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Good post! Could'nt agree with you more. Attitude is crucial in how to deal with IBS. And the water, the sleep, the regularness and the small meals etc. And the necessity to take your mind off things.------------------Pepe from Holland sends regards C/D type[This message has been edited by Pepe (edited 06-20-2000).]
 
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