Posted 7/15/2012 7:30 AM (GMT -6)
Hi there, welcome to the HW forum. Lots of really great people here, very helpful and many experts. I am not one though, but I can commiserate with you and tell you that you are not alone. So you have come to the right place. I don't quite have the IBS dx but landed in a similar chronic health place from having had the bottom part of my colon removed, due to cancer. I've struggled ever since (13 years now). What can I say? Well, for one keeping a food journal is very helpful. I kept one faithfully for 2 years to determine which foods agreed with my touchy gut and which ones to avoid. I used an ordinary school spiral bound 1 subject notebook, writing only on the front of each page, designating 1 page per day. I would take the bottom right hand corner and rate each day - great, good, bad - so later I could go back thru previous dates to find great or good days so I could mimic that specific day's food/beverage habits, etc. I went on a low residue diet (but this is only helpful for those of us experiencing D or the dumping, loose stool episodes). If you find that you need bulk or additional fiber, then a low residue diet wouldn't be for you.
I have determined 2 things in these past 13 years - the saying "we are what we eat" is very true for people with bowel disorders. I can usually trace a bad day back (24-48 hours) to something I shouldn't have consumed. One time I had 2 glasses of dark keg beer (which tasted great BTW), at an outdoor bonfire party. That beer did a massive and total cleanout of my gut, 12 hours later. Better than any bowel prep ordered by a GI doc! It's not always solids that mess us up. Keep that in mind.
The other characteristic of my touchy gut is - it's ~not~ always predictable. Even if I do everything right (for me), plain food, probiotic, mild stool softener (this gives my stool consistency), my gut still can give me a really bad day and I don't know why. At this point I accept that my gut just wants to purge itself of all stool. And even though you'll have lots of folks tell you - take imodium - I feel much better if I don't stop these multiple trips to the bathroom. I allow my body this purge effect, because I do feel better - but later. This natural purge my gut likes to do is about once a month now. I'm long past menopause so I don't think it's hormonal either. Just one more aspect of my wacky gut.
Sometimes living with my touchy gut reminds me of the movie Alien - my gut heaves and rolls, to the point where I joke any minute now a creature will be crawling out of my stomach.
Well, once again, stick around. This is a great place. I will warn you though, this IBS board is very quiet. The UC one is very active (even if you don't have the UC dx, venture over there sometime, you may find useful topics, I have in the past).