Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disease that is more prevalent in women than men, yet many men still suffer from the disease and I am one of those people.    All you can do is try to figure out what “triggers” cause the intestinal discomfort, pain and try to minimize your exposure to the conditions that cause the symptoms.

I have severe intestinal pain almost every time I eat highly acidic foods, alcohol of any kind, chocolate, sugar, milk/dairy products and sugary foods.  This makes it difficult for me to eat out at restaurants as I tend to have pain and suffering after eating almost anything I eat at a restaurant with the exception of very bland foods.

I have had embarrassing situations in some cases, and in others I just simply ignored the causes and ate what I felt like knowing I would pay for it later.  When my family goes out to Cold Stone for ice cream several times a week for a treat, I can only partake in the sorbet (which they have very limited choices) and can only enjoy the smells and sights of the flavored ice creams.

I also have intestinal pain and stomach problems when I get stressed or suffer from anxiety, severe anxiety and stress can cause me to have high stomach pains which lead to vomiting, or intestinal cramping which can leave me in misery and trapped in the bathroom for hours.

It is easier to control food triggers as those are things I can choose to eat or not to eat, but it is much harder to keep my stress and anxiety under control.  Meditation helps, music therapy, and I find that working out very heavily helps though not at first.  I find that sometimes because a mental state can trigger irritable bowel syndrome, a heavy workout can distract me from the state and therefore ease my stomach pains.

In the past six months I have had fewer problems than in previous years, but I did suffer some problems with traveling for work.  I actually almost always have stomach and intestinal problems when traveling anywhere at all, and this has sometimes made vacations with my wife or children a little less enjoyable that I had wished.

There is no real treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, there were several medications prescribed for it over the past years and most of them have been recalled and pulled from the market for side effects, which is why you don’t see commercials for Zelnorme and other medications anymore.  Some dietitians and medical experts say Fiber can help alleviate irritable bowel, others say increasing probiotics and other supplements can, but I have tried them all to no avail.

All you can do is try and isolate your triggers and do your best to avoid them, the same can be said about Migraine sufferers and people with certain other headaches.

Updated: July 25, 2009 — 4:32 pm