*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. This is just what I’ve used (based on doctor recommendations) to help deal with my own IBS-C.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (or IBS-C) is a very common condition that effects the large intestine. In fact, of IBS (both with Constipation and with Diarrhea – IBS-D) there are 200,000 cases in the US alone per year. It mostly bothers people of the age of around 14 years old, all the way to 60 years old. It also mostly effects females. 2 out of 3 patients with IBS are women. It’s a chronic condition that is not curable, but can be treated. And really does need to be treated as, like in my case, the condition can actually be debilitating while the pain is occurring.
If you’re anything like me, you might have lived with IBS-C for a very long time and weren’t even aware of it. The problem is, IBS in both forms can be very similar to other disorders and conditions. For example, I’m lactose intolerant as well, and the pain that comes with that feels extremely similar to the pain I deal with when I get an IBS-C “attack” (that’s my word for them). When I finally went to a doctor to be diagnosed, I was kind of surprised to find that out.
IBS-C has a lot of symptoms, which you can read about here, but this article is more about how I deal with the condition personally (again, via doctor recommendations).
The condition is on a spectrum, from mild to severe. So it really does matter what your doctor has to say about your own condition and your own experience with the disorder. What’s written below is certainly not gospel.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Keeping hydrated is really important with a condition like this. IBS-C can come with irregular bowel movements, and when you do have bowel movements, they can really hurt. Drinking lots of water can help soften your stool, and promote more regular bowel movements. Something like Gatorade may help, too, but my doctor recommended that I stick with water for the most part. It’s better for you, anyway.
STAY AWAY FROM THE CAFFEINE AND THE CARBONATED DRINKS
I may or may not have a problem with this one.
Unfortunately, caffeine stimulates the bowels and can make your condition worse. And don’t get fooled. It doesn’t look like caffeine helps you go, contrary to popular belief. Coffee might, but it’s not the caffeine in the coffee that actually does it according to some recent studies.
As far as the carbonated drinks go? Staying away from non-caffeinated ones will do you and I good as well. Carbonated drinks cause gas, and that can make us feel worse. IBS-C already comes with a symptom of too much gas, and we really don’t need to be adding that extra pressure into our bodies.
THIS WAS PRESCRIBED BY MY DOCTOR. MiraLAX is, basically, Polyethylene glycol 3350. This is a form of laxative that I was prescribed by my doctor. The bottle actually says not to take it more than seven days, but my doctor prescribed it to me to take every day. MiraLAX is over-the-counter, and my doctor says it’s perfectly safe to take and come off. However, with that said, this is not something I’m recommending that you take. Again, I’m not a doctor; I cannot diagnose you.
You could even be allergic to the drug, and that needs to be a consideration.
MiraLAX is not a pill — it’s a powder. It dissolves into any drink (again, I was recommended water), and you’re meant to take it once a day, according to your doctor’s recommendations. It helps soften your stool to a higher degree than maybe water on its own can, and it helps create a bowel movement to relieve your constipation. When I use it how my doctor recommended, it helps me tremendously, and I’ve gone months without pain. Again — this is a result when I’m taking it correctly.
If you think you may have any form of IBS, please consult your doctor. Your treatment may be different than mine.