Let’s face it, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not a sexy area of nutrition and dietetics. I get that. So, why would I choose to specialize in this area, you may wonder?
When I was a child, my dad was diagnosed with a very serious chronic illness. My memories are a little vague during that time of my life, but I remember my parents would spend weeks at a time in the hospital (1 .5 hours away), and we didn’t expect my dad to live a very long life. That’s all a story in itself, but during that time of my life, I began having terrible gastrointestinal (GI) issues. My mom would rush me to the hospital (yes, 1.5 hours away) in the middle of the night because she thought my appendix was ruptured or I was suffering from kidney stones. But, every time, we would discover that it was simply constipation and gas. If you have never experienced that moment of excruciating pain, you’d probably laugh at that statement. Doctors did scopes and who knows what else to rule out other conditions, then finally determined I had IBS. I vaguely remember meeting with a therapist, because I also had issues with mild diarrhea that I couldn’t control, but I don’t remember us making many changes in my diet. I’m sure we had medication or something, but I don’t remember it. Instead, I grew up thinking that bloating, constipation, and mild diarrhea when I was anxious, were all normal GI symptoms. I had major fears of using the bathroom in public, which was hard to deal with as a cheerleader and athlete.
Fast forward to college. I’m an achiever. I like to get A’s on tests, and I like to understand every concept in class. College, however, isn’t that simple. I found myself struggling with courses like calculus, biochemistry, and organic chem. I was managing money for the first time, and not doing the best with it. I was working my first job, going to school full-time, and trying to maintain a social life as a hardcore introvert. It was tough. One week, during a busy semester, I had a terrible case of diarrhea. Note that my GI symptoms were still there, I thought bloating and constipation were normal. But this was more extreme and was a huge red flag that something was wrong. After 24 hours, it didn’t subside, so I went to my campus doctor. We talked through possible reasons for the stomach upset and I casually mentioned that I had IBS as a kid. She stopped and said “That makes sense. Your IBS is flaring up.“ I left without many answers, but thankfully I had just switched to a nutrition and dietetics major. I began researching what I could do, and as I learned more about nutrition, I managed my IBS a little better.
Now, almost 6 years later, I am living life with IBS, without those crazy symptoms. I manage my stress fairly well, I move my body in a way that supports my gut, and I eat in a way that builds up my healthy gut bacteria, while avoiding major symptoms. I’m not perfect, and I still have moments of bloat or mild constipation, but I’m much better off that I was 6 years ago.
So, why did I choose to specialize in IBS? Because I get it. I know what it’s like to live with something uncomfortable, and many times painful, and think that’s your “normal.” I know what it’s like to not get answers or solutions, but to be told to just deal with it. I also know what it’s like to find answers and manage symptoms, and actually enjoy life fully. This is why I am passionate about helping you do the same, and is the reason I created my signature IBS Management Program. If you are struggling with IBS, give yourself a chance by applying for a free consult call today. You never know, this may be your step into a more vibrant life.