I feel shame at the idea of taking laxatives. Laxatives are “gross” and “yucky” and taken by bulimics and I’m not that. I’m not gross or yucky and I certainly don’t have an eating disorder, as my gastro was happy to write in my chart that I’m overweight and therefore can’t be sick. 

Ahem. That’s why I resisted taking them for so long. Along with a convenient belief that taking laxatives regularly can make you dependent on them. That, apparently, is NOT a thing. At least, not for folks already diagnosed with IBS. After all, my bowels are already “lazy”. If I’m already constipated all the time, I don’t see how laxatives could break me more. 

Which leaves me with only the flimsy “gross” excuse. But what is worse? Feeling like I’m gross for taking laxatives or being in constant pain from constipation? 

Turns out, being in constant constipation pain is worse than taking laxatives regularly to prevent such pains. Shocking!

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what dosage will help me stay comfortable and flowing. One per day of a softener helped, but I felt like I could use more help. So, I tried two a day, spaced out. One in the morning and one before bed. 

But I’m not liking how that’s working. Or rather, it doesn’t appear to be working the way I was hoping. So I’ll be changing things up to try two doses at night, together, and see if that makes me feel better. 

I’m trying to avoid the stimulant laxatives on a regular basis, because they can work almost too well. I actually took one of those when I first started this experiment and I ended up waking up in the middle of the night with an urgent need to visit the bathroom, and stay there, for several hours. I’d rather keep things less stimulated than that. 

If the softeners don’t work sufficiently, maybe I’ll try the stimulant route, but I’m not there yet. The main thing is that I’m now working on trying to get my bowels to be happy bowels instead of bloated, constipated bowels. 

The other aspect I’m working on with my IBS is diet. For a long time, I tried various diets, from low-fodmap to low fiber, and lately, I’ve been trying to limit my food to simple foods that I can read all the ingredients for. I’m not saying that I’ll avoid ingredients that I can’t pronounce or are more than a set number of syllables. No, I’m trying to avoid foods that don’t list their ingredients explicitly, on the theory that those unnamed additives could be contributing to my issues, and how can I know what affects me if I don’t know what is in what I eat? 

Therefore, if an ingredient list includes such phrases as “natural flavors” or “artificial flavors”, I’m either avoiding it or making it a very rare part of my diet. Since there’s no way for me to know what those ingredients are, or if they change, it just makes sense to me that I should avoid them while I’m trying to reach an equilibrium with my IBS. A state where I can, with some vigilance, mostly forget that I have it. 

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