Lifestyle

Why I’m Careful With What I Eat

This is a pretty gruesome blog post but it’s one I want to share anyway as I know there are a lot of sufferers out there.

I suffer from IBS quite badly. None of this ‘feeling slightly bloated’ stuff, I’m talking 6-months pregnant look with incredibly bad cramps teamed with nausea and the inability to keep any food in. And these delightful symptoms all rear their heads within 20/30 minutes of eating.

I’ve had blood tests to see what the issue is, and my doctors have also mentioned that I suffer from a mild form of coeliac disease, as I find I struggle badly after eating gluten-filled products.

There is family history of diverticulitis, and with all of the above, it means that there is no simple solution to my stomach issues. As my doctor has told me, I just have to try to moderate it.

IBS1

If I get stressed, if I eat gluten or any high sugar foods, the symptoms set in. I’ve written below the ‘standard protocol’ of what happens from an ‘attack’.

  • Bloat

First thing is always the dreaded bloat. My stomach goes rock hard and swells until I resemble a 6 month gone pregnant lady and it’s incredibly uncomfortable.

  • Cramps

Think of ‘too much food’ cramps, or even period cramps, and times it by 100, and that is the cramp pain you get. At times it turns into having-to-sit-bent-over-almost-crying cramps depending on how far the attack wants to go.

  • Empty

Whatever I have eaten does not want to stay in my body, so a dash to the nearest toilet is a necessity. The worst thing is that it’s actually more comfortable sitting on a toilet in this situation than trying to walk it off, so I end up sitting for a good while.

  • Nausea

Sometimes I get waves of sickness, which tends to happen more when it’s IBS related than when I’ve eaten gluten. These come and go and mean you can’t venture far from a toilet just in case nausea turns into vomiting.

  • Fatigue

It makes me knackered. Everything that I’ve just eaten, comes straight back out, including all the vitamins, proteins, nutrients and carbs. These symptoms can sometimes last between 24- 48 hours (having it on and off for five days is my record) and it also affects evening sleep as I’m so uncomfortable. This ultimately leads to fatigue and…

  • Weight Loss

I don’t keep anything in – seriously. So weight loss is inevitable when this happens. If I feel like it’s going to be ongoing, I tend to try and up my calorie intake in the hope that something stays in. It doesn’t normally.

  • Aftermath

Once things start to calm down and I feel better, it never just ends. You get the ‘aftermath’ symptoms.

IBS3

For me, these include:

Feeling incredibly sluggish – it takes a lot of effort to move around, things like getting out of bed or having a shower takes longer than normal

I get stitches when I exercise, very easily – I could walk up the road and have a stitch. Running means I have to hold my stomach if things get really bad

I continue to cramp when I eat – food stays in, but you have to weigh up if it’s worth the pain. It normally takes a day for me to start to feel back to my ‘normal’ self.

And then I wait for it to start again.

I can’t stand people who pass judgement on my diet. I am not picky, I am not on a restrictive diet and the pain of the above is horrendous. There have been days where I have cried and cried as I’m in so much pain and those that make passing comments ‘following the gluten free diet’, ‘just trying to lose weight’, ‘making things difficult’, make me feel awful for suffering.

I would give anything, anything, to not suffer from these.  I hate going to restaurants and asking for GF options if none are readily available. If there aren’t any, I have to mentally prepare for what happens next and it’s horrible to know what’s coming.

IBS2

It’s something I’m learning to deal with. Digestive issues and intolerances are in the public eye much more than they used to be, with ‘free from’ options more readily available in supermarkets. I’ve adjusted my daytime diet to avoid gluten and in the evening I plan what I’m going to eat. I can tolerate gluten in very, very small doses. Or I prepare by taking Buscopan or Peppermint tablets before I eat to try and reduce the pain.

If you suffer from any of the above, do not self diagnose, go to the doctor and get them to do blood tests. It might just be IBS, but if it’s anything worse you need to get it looked at.

Thanks for reading,

S x

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