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Advice for College Student with IBS?

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  • Advice for College Student with IBS?

    I am currently a sophomore at the University of Florida. I have been suffering from IBS for years already, and I have been desperate to find a cure - anything to get rid of the gas, distention, irritability, acid reflux, etc. - and the second I read about the paleo/primal diet, I knew it would work.

    This new way of eating has made me feel so much better; however, as restrictive as this diet is, I am even more limited in that I cannot eat red meat, dairy, nuts, fish, eggs, ANY seasonings, and several fruits and vegetables (onions, garlic, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, berries, bananas, citrus...the list goes on and on).

    I can manage just fine as long as I cook for myself - basically everything is very simple and plain. I can't eat out at restaurants because no matter how safe I try to make my order, it always ends up messing up my digestive system.

    As if college isn't difficult enough socially as it is, I now have to deal with the awkwardness of trying to explain to people why I can't go out for lunch with them, or have a piece of birthday cake, etc.
    And I don't even want to think about dating! I know if he's a good guy he'll be understanding, but it's still extremely uncomfortable to tell someone you barely know about your digestive issues...and then seeing his disbelief and disappointment in the fact that you can never eat out with get the drift.

    Another worry is studying abroad. I want to go to Spain or Italy but I won't be able to eat a thing there! This is clearly stressing me out, any advice?

  • #2
    well what can you eat??
    Check out my blog!

    I like to throw, squat and pull heavy things for fun.

    We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created. ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999


    • #3
      are you allergic to all of these, or can't absorb them due to intestinal damage?
      My journal where I attempt to overcome Chrohns and make good food as well


      • #4
        From what I've read, IBS can actually be related to pelvic floor disorder (which is a muscular issue) and not just to diet. I have pelvic floor disorder and for me it mimics urinary tract problems, but it's actually a muscular problem. A good book to check out is Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy Stein--you can read parts of it on google books. She explains the connection between IBS and the pelvic floor muscles and offers a stretching regimen to help it go away. She does suggest a fairly conventional diet in addition (although she recommends avoiding sugar, but also recommends whole grains), so you can disregard that part, but the muscular part might be very helpful.


        • #5
          Right now I eat chicken, turkey, spinach (as a salad w/oil and vinegar), asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, blueberries, cherries, grapes, apples, and pears. And dark chocolate if I have a craving :P.
          I haven't had any allergy tests yet, but I'm going to get some done soon. I consider them intolerances at the moment, probably due to intestinal damage, who knows.
          Would pelvic floor disorder show up in an ultrasound? Because I've had one of those, and nothing showed up.

          I guess I'm just going to have to ask for those things to be made as plain as possible when I go out to eat...and just deal with the funny looks/judgments as they come. And I'll just have to avoid going to places where they can't accommodate me (like all of the chains on campus), or bring my own food, or eat beforehand.


          • #6
            My guess is that if you heal up your gut by staying away from non-Primal things, you'll be able to reintroduce the other stuff.


            • #7
              I would also consider IFing, as it's supposed to do wonders for your GI tract.

              Also, check out 8 steps to a pain-free back by Esther Gokhale. It's 25 bucks, and of the videos I've watched, and the few parts of the book I've gotten to, she relates posture improvement to helping IBS, cramps, UTIs, constipation and a host of other things. Wouldn't hurt to try it out!


              • #8
                Originally posted by ErinS View Post
                Would pelvic floor disorder show up in an ultrasound? Because I've had one of those, and nothing showed up.
                No, it wouldn't show up on a ultrasound.

                Basically, it is caused by muscles that, for some reason, (and it can be something as little as sitting on bleachers for a couple hours, or something serious, like childbirth) your muscles start to tighten and in time, they shorten and weaken, and then your nerves start reacting to it as well and it can effect the way you intestinal system works. Other common problems related to pelvic floor disorder are constipation, incontinence, interstitial cystitis, sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or painful sex, frequent urination, painful urination, vagismus, and vulvadynia.

                The best way to be diagnosed is to see a physical therapist that specializes in pelvic floor issues. You can find one by searching on this site: . It's not something that can be seen, but a physical therapist can do an examination (often internal and external) to see how tight your muscles are, along with asking you a bunch of questions to access your symptoms.


                • #9
                  If you live in one of the 13 states that have decided to take the sick and dying off the battle field of the war on drugs, cannabis has been shown in multiple studies to be an effective treatment for IBS, both when ingested in food form and inhaled in smoke or vapor.

                  Here's an article about it


                  • #10
                    It never helped me when I used it. Caused way too much appetite.
                    My journal where I attempt to overcome Chrohns and make good food as well


                    • #11

                      I was never diagnosed officially with IBS, but I have had pretty severe GI issues for the last 8 years after an aggressive round of antibiotics. In fact, it culminated in the loss of about 50 lbs. of mass (and I was a skinny guy to begin with). I've found, both through research of others in the Paleosphere and personal experience, that I do well when I stay away from almost all plants. I do eat potatoes and very occasionally dried berries and use onions and garlic with reckless abandon. I also drink goat milk (to gain weight) and tolerate that fine too. I'd advise checking into grass-fed meat. There's nothing quite as satiating (or tasty) as a nice thick steak marinated for a couple days in olive oil and pan-sauteed in butter. From personal experience, I can eat grain-fed meat without making myself sick or causing too many issues, but grass-fed treats me better.

                      I also chew up 1-2 Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics 12 Plus daily, and just kind of listen to my body on whether it's 1 or 2.

                      This regimen has given me better bowel health for about the last month and a half, which is the longest stretch without trouble since before I got sick.

                      I wish you the best and hope for a speedy recovery. GI problems can be pretty crappy


                      • #12
                        Interesting...but no I don't think cannabis is an option.
                        And Kara, thanks for the info but it doesn't sound like I have pelvic floor disorder.
                        Thank you both for your input though.