IBS - The Inside Scoop w. Wana User, Billy
Join Wana + Billy to learn about his first-hand experience with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What does a typical day with IBS look like for you?
Day to day for me really changes. I probably go to the bathroom about 4-6x a day depending upon how many cups of coffee, stressful conversations I have, or my diet.
What are your primary IBS symptoms?
I have had upper digestive issues my whole life but during college I think I inflamed my bowel so much from junk food and alcohol that I couldn't recover. I am uncomfortable after every meal… whether it is bloating, gas, diarrhea, vomit burps, or cramping. I have to be really careful with what I put into my body.
What dietary changes helped you most?
When I get flareups I do Low FODMAP Diet… but I am almost always gluten free and dairy free which helps so much.
What treatments (medical or alternative) helped you the most?
I tried nexium and antacids for my upper GI issues. However, diet was my biggest savior. I was able to use food as medicine, every night I make ginger tea after my meal which helps with bloating and digestion for me. I am huge on fermented sauerkraut, kimchi (but not the spicy kind), coconut cult’s probiotic yogurt, and Seed Probiotics. I also use digestive enzymes and digestive bitters before meals… especially if I am going out to dinner.
How has your mental health influenced your IBS?
I know my gut is my second brain… so when I take care of the gut my immune system, skin, mood changes for the better. Since the diarrhea and bloating is normal for me… when I have days or weeks where I feel great, it definitely is empowering… but overall I have more energy to do things on those days. My body is probably absorbing the right amount of nutrients, serotonin is being produced, and I am not in an inflammation state. It’s all about self care, when I slack on my diet, little remedies and daily rituals I slowly start to fall apart.
What does an IBS attack feel like for you? How long does it last?
Ummm if you have ever seen the pepto bismol commercial that is me… upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting. I will have at least three of those symptoms I mentioned and it can last anywhere up to 3-5 days depending upon how fast I act. I usually will do a bone broth cleanse during this time, so my digestive system has time to rest then reintroduce nutrient dense foods.
What are your top 3 tips to managing IBS?
- Listening to my body - giving my digestive system rest when it needs it, and giving my body rest and not over doing it with work, stress, social or the gym.
- Balance - knowing when to say no. My worst flareups happen when I have a lot of events going on with work or social stuff. I abandon my diet, drink more than I should and drain my immune system. Being able to say no and excuse myself from events because I know I will pay for it is hard to do but my body needs it.
How has IBS changed your life in a positive way?
It has given me a good sense of humor, empathy for the people around me – I can’t always see what they are going through, and I try to take care of myself more. Some people have a higher threshold for stress and gluten etc but I am a little more sensitive so I need to be kind to my body and do what works best for me.
What is Wana?
Wana: We Are Not Alone is the community for chronic conditions – an app enabling people with chronic and invisible conditions to connect and share information. Our mission is to destigmatize chronic illness and provide you with the support you need on your healing journey. Download the app here.