Let’s see, I first talked to a GP about it about 8 years ago, I think. He did a few tests, I tried eliminating a few different foods, but since it wasn’t an everyday bother, and no diseases or viruses came up in the tests-we both figured it was something I could live with and would probably eventually just work itself out.
Fast forward a few years to 2007 and I started having this pain in my side, went for heaps of tests (colonoscopy included) to find out my gallbladder wasn’t functioning so I had it taken out. During that time, I talked to a new GP (we were living in a new town-a new state actually!), and also discussed my “IBS”issues w/the gastro specialist who ended up taking out my gall bladder. Again, it’s not a daily issue, it doesn’t interfere w/ my daily routine particularly. Slow down in the morning (when I mainly have the issues) and don’t worry about it.If you’ve ever been to the doctor about tummy issues, or read anything about IBS-you will already know that the assumption is that stress is a main factor in IBS issues. And that could very well be the case for some people-I know of people who suffer ongoing from things like Crohn’s Disease and that stress does cause flare ups. However, my daily lifestyle has got to be the least stressful lifestyle of anyone I know. I don’t have kids, I don’t have to rush off to the office every day, I deal with gardening, personal training clients (with schedules that I set myself so I know I have heaps of time in the morning), and normal household chores. So I just can’t “slow down” much more and have to scratch that one off the list of possible triggers.
After my gallbladder was out, I still had some pain-so went to another specialist who performed an endoscopy to discover I suffer from Gastritis. Well, that explains a few things-the gurgling tummy, occasional acid reflux…I know you don’t really want to hear about this stuff-but if you suffer from any of this –you know it needs to be said; it’s part of the problem. I’ve now actually learned that IBS and gastritis issues go hand in hand.
Well, anyway, he was pleased to have found “something” since he was ready to just put my case into the “too hard basket”(his words!)-put me on Somac (a common drug for heartburn relief), and sent me on my way.
I took it for a while, but then realized that all it was doing was masking the problem-not healing me in any way, shape or form and doing nothing for the IBS issues. Not to mention the possible side effects-
· Nausea and vomiting;
· Weakness or tiredness;
· Blurred vision;
· Itchy skin or rash;
· Loss of appetite;
· Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat;
· Chest pain;
· High blood pressure;
· Swelling of the legs;
· Bleeding or bruising more easily than normal;
· Depression, confusion or anxiety.
And of course the fact that long term use of most drugs often ends up with even more complications leading to the need for other drugs; so, I stopped taking that drug. I should add here-that at the time, I figured that most of my gastro issues were due to my heavy alcohol intake; I’m sure that’s why the gastritis even started.Moving forward-two years ago, I finally quit drinking for good; if you’ve read this blog in the past-you already know that whole story-and September first marks the two year anniversary-YAY! So, yes, I quit drinking-but my tummy issues did not go away. I suppose they seemed to simmer down a bit, but about seven months ago, just before the cyclone hit when we were still living up in Tully-my problems seemed to start being every day.This is where the topic of this post comes in- THE EXPERIMENT. That’s pretty much what I’m undertaking-an experiment with my own body. It starts off with an elimination diet as per the book IBS FOR DUMMIES by Dr. Carolyn Dean. I should add that both her book and the WHY STOMACH ACID IS GOOD FOR YOU book have similar information on what not to eat that can aggravate both. From the research I’ve done, the gastritis and IBS are most likely related-so I will be combining some of the information from both books in order to try to heal the damage and hopefully figure out the triggers. So, the diet will be for two weeks-then if everything seems to have settled-I will slowly re-introduce foods to see what my body does with each one. Here is what I will NOT be eating (this is only part of the list from the book-the other stuff I don’t eat anyway, so I’m only listing the stuff currently in my daily food intake): · Coffee
· Dairy products (cheese, milk, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt)
· Spicy foodsI will also be adding some things like digestive bitters (for healing and promoting healthy digestion), and maybe some other things down the line-I first will be testing the acidity of my stomach to decide if I need some of the other things suggested in the Stomach Acid book-like HCl-Pepsin. I’ll say here that according to this book and other research, the theory that acid reflux and gastritis issues are from TOO MUCH acid is a fallacy. Many digestive issues are actually caused by TOO LITTLE stomach acid-that’s why I will be testing the acidity with PH strips (hope to have those soon).
I will be starting this all on Monday. This way I have the weekend to prep some things in batch that I will need to eat during the week-mainly for my first meal item. Usually it’s home-made gluten free bread (made with yeast), topped with natural peanut butter and honey, accompanied by coffee with milk and honey. The coffee is totally out, and the bread has yeast and I can’t see even eating a yeast free bread topped with just peanut butter-so I’m going to make a batch of almond meal pancakes w/cinnamon, vanilla and egg. I will have a glass of water w/lemon and ginger-to SIP on as apparently too much liquid during the meal dilutes the enzymes in the mouth and the digestive juices in the stomach and can push food through before it’s even fully broken down. This can then lead to bacteria build up-hence issues.
Now, obviously, if after going through all of these diet changes and supplementation, and I still have issues-I will have to go see somebody about it. But, since I haven't had luck in the past with doctors-I figure I'll give it a go myself for now. Living in a smaller town and an hour from a slightly bigger town, my options are somewhat limited anyway. So, there ya go! A new journey commences. I look forward to any advice or words of wisdom you may have on this topic. And hopefully, if I can get my own issues under control, you may learn a thing or too as well!