Monday, May 30, 2011

Mommy's IBS: A Need for Change

For a while now I have looked at Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a digestive condition I have lived with for nearly 10 years, as nothing more than an issue of stress and improper eating that needs to be controlled.

I never really saw my IBS as a major problem except when I was having debilitating attacks.

However, as of late, I am starting to recognize that this is something I need to reconsider. This condition can indeed be serious especially when the symptoms of severe cramping, being doubled over in pain, and explosive diarrhea come all at once. When this condition is not managed well, even when medication is taken, the results can be rather painful, uncomfortable and get in the way of parenting.

For example, as a parent, my stress level certainly gets tested every so often when I am trying to manage a situation with Sarah or trying hard not to worry about her in certain circumstances. However, sometimes these experiences can lead to an IBS attack especially when I am not consuming a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Without getting into specifics about my symptoms there are times when the pain in my stomach is so bad that I am bending over suffering and praying for the cramping to ease up and go away. Sometimes, depending on where I am or what situation I am in, the stress comes from desperately needing to find a bathroom for fear of an accident or inability to take care of Sarah.

While I am on medication that helps to manage my disease, and have been happy with how it works especially when an attack comes on, it's important to manage the other key, basic lifestyle measures in keeping the condition at bay including quality nutrition, reducing intake of caffeine, and cutting back significantly on consuming tummy troubling foods such as Mexican and ice cream, among others.

It's sad that I haven't really seen IBS as something serious because there have been a number of times when I am with Sarah that I desperately need to encourage her to leave the playground early, which only adds more to the stress I am experiencing, and being forced to rush her and me to a bathroom in time before an accident occurs.

It's gotten to a point where Sarah has gotten into the habit of fetching a pillow for me when we are at home, to lean on to help make me comfortable while the suffering takes time to subside.

So, despite an amazingly fun time with family and friends this weekend, a consumption of too many "bad" foods and beverages just got the worst of me and are the culprit of a full-blown, belly aching, throwing up, diarrhea producing IBS attack that I am having now.

So, as I write this blog post, in the late stages of an attack, I am trying to steer my mind elsewhere without thinking too much about my physical symptoms, hoping they will ease shortly, and making a decision.

Starting tomorrow, I need treat my IBS like it's a serious condition. Because, not managing it well beyond medication is still leaving me in pain and time wasted suffering unnecessarily. Therefore, it's important that I start by cutting out all the crap that I have been eating and drinking including junk food, soda, Mexican (even for a little while), the occasional margaritas and ice cream, and to start on a somewhat bland diet to get me back on track and moving forward in the right direction.

In plain English. IBS sucks.

There are varying degrees of this condition. However, just relying on medication, as I have been often doing, I need to take other lifestyle measures to manage this condition that sometimes is a complete inconvenience in my life, especially when it gets in the way of parenting and being there for Sarah.

A proper diet is an incredibly important factor in keeping IBS symptoms under control. So, its high time that I get my act together. There is no more room for excuses. For the past hour I could have been asleep readying myself for an active day tomorrow with Sarah. Instead, I have been suffering and willing myself to not think about how I am feeling and trying to steer my head in a different direction while trying to recover.

Parenting leaves little room for me to be incapacitated, in the bathroom for really long periods of time, let alone being doubled over at the playground in desperate need for a bathroom.

I am declaring that my IBS is something serious and important for me to manage properly. While I expect that my IBS will not go away for good, being able to take active lifestyle measures to keep it at bay is a most important step I must take, and one that must begin now.

For those of us with IBS, talk with a doctor about treatment, especially to address the attacks. Furthermore, we need to realize that what we eat and drink plays a big part in the symptoms we sometimes experience and that being more mindful of what we consume can help to reduce the debilitating symptoms that sometimes come in a moments notice and have to be acted on quickly to ease pain and suffering.

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