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The Cure for IBS

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Wikipedia lists IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) as a “Functional gastrointestinal disorder”. It can cause both diarrhea or constipation and often alternates between the two. In short it is “No fun”.

I was first diagnosed with IBS in 2002 and was told to

  • eat more fiber
  • take a stress reduction class

I had never heard of such a thing as ‘IBS’ before, it seems it is the ‘catch-all’ diagnosis for stomach issues when the doctors do not know for certain what is causing the issue.

Things that did help me, but I would not say they ‘cured’ me:

  • reduce meat intake
    • replace with lentils and other legumes which are high in fiber
  • increase cooked vegetable intake
  • eliminate dairy
    • this made a huge difference for me, for awhile
  • yoga and meditation
    • IBS seems to be heavily linked to stress

Even after changing my diet I still had discomfort off and on. At one point in 2007 I thought my appendix was going to burst, went to the emergency room to find out my appendix was fine and that I was just really constipated. Talk about embarrassing.

After that I decided to try some acupuncture treatment. It did help some, but the thing that ‘cured’ my IBS was the advice my acupuncturist gave me:

  • do NOT eat while you are working on the computer
  • do NOT eat while you are driving

The jist of it is when its time to eat, its time to eat and nothing else:

  • chew your food
  • eat slowly
  • digest for at least 15 minutes before going back to work
  • maybe take a short walk while you digest
  • no reading or other mentally engaging activities

Doing the above, my IBS has dwindled away, it did not happen overnight, it took many months of being very strict about my eating habits – mainly taking the time to digest after a meal before engaging in any work activities.

I am somewhat of a grazer, I like to eat small amounts through out the day while working. My work consists of being on the computer over 90% of my work day. Sometimes my work is stressful, even when it is not ‘stressful’ it is still very engaging and involves a very high level of concentration.

I believe I was training my body to think it was under stress whenever I was eating, weather I was on the computer or not.

If you suffer from IBS I hope the above will work for you as well.