I was diagnosed a couple years ago with IBS-C, which is irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome is code for, we don’t know why it hurts, but we totally believe you when you say you are in pain. Constipation referred to the way my bowels were stopping up and not letting anything out but pellets for days at a time, which sometimes then all burst out in a quick bout of diarrhea.

I’ve been focusing really hard in the last few months on getting this whole IBS thing under control. I’ve been cutting out foods that are supposed to be triggering, like caffeine and alcohol. I’ve been keeping track of what symptoms I’ve had and when and even, though I hate it, what I’m eating. Not yet to the point of tracking food quantities, but I am writing down what it is that I am consuming, which is a step.

I’ve been working especially hard at drinking at least a gallon of liquids every day – mostly water. I will allow myself to count herbal tea as water and coconut water as water, but I typically don’t drink more than a quart of either of those in a given day. So I’ve been drinking a lot, and with consistency. Which seems to have changed the consistency of my bowel movements.

Since I’ve been tracking things (30 days or so), I’ve only had a single day when I didn’t have a movement, and only three days where I only had dry pellet like ones. Most days, it’s multiple movements, with liquid consistency coming multiple times per week. I don’t know what the heck is going on, but it doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, it’s great not to be constipated, but I’m still getting bloating and pain on a regular basis (including headaches that are driving me slowly insane).

This whole diagnosis is frustrating. I could go back into to see the gastroenterologist, but the I feel like the answer will be, oh, well you must have both IBS C and IBS D so have fun with that. Or, here, try some drugs that won’t help. Or, here, have some expensive tests that will show absolutely nothing wrong.

I do think that reducing lactose has been overall good for me. Less pain and bloating. Perhaps it isn’t completely gone because I haven’t completely given up lactose, but the amounts that I have are minor – an occasional bit of milk chocolate, bread that has milk as an ingredient. Of course, since I decided to cut out cheese, my husband has been craving pizza, and frankly, so have I. Cheese tastes good, and I miss it even though I haven’t even been a full 30 days without it.

For now, I’m just going to keep tracking these things and try to figure something out. Or at least be able to bring robust data to the doctor if I do decide to go in and give things another go.

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