How I Finally Overcame IBS Symptoms for Good
Hello, friends! My name is Miranda and I am the Nutrition Communications Manager here at the Clairity Digestive Program. You may recognize me from our Instagram or recent blog posts, or perhaps you joined Stephanie and I for our most recent Mini-Class Series!
Whether we have met before or we are just getting introduced (hello!), I am so thrilled to share my IBS story with all of you today! I started working with Stephanie and the Clairity team in the fall of 2018, but my connection to this program dates back to 2015. I hope that through sharing my story, I can inspire you to stay hopeful. I know exactly how uncomfortable, frustrating and downright horrible digestive issues can be, and I wish to inspire you to keep going. We say this all the time at Clairity and it is so true—you do not need to live like this.
It Started out of Nowhere
Like many people, my digestive issues appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I was in the middle of a normal semester at university back in 2012—eating, drinking and exercising as usual—when my digestion took a sudden and serious turn for the worse.
My digestive issues manifested as chronic constipation. I began going days without bowel movements, and the other symptoms quickly piled on. With the constipation came gas, bloating, low energy and abdominal pain. And let me tell you, the symptoms quickly took a toll on my emotional health and I began suffering from anxiety and irritability as well. After months of suffering with worsening symptoms, I finally got myself an appointment with a well-rated gastroenterologist in my area in the hopes of finding answers.
My gastroenterologist was absolutely lovely and well-meaning, but my appointments with her unfortunately did not bring me much relief or direction. She facilitated several tests to rule out serious conditions such as Celiac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and lactose intolerance, all of which came back negative. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with IBS-C (constipation-predominant IBS) and sent on my way with a low FODMAP diet pamphlet.
Taking things into my own hands
Despite my disappointment, I was determined to get myself feeling better… With or without help. I did not want to live with constipation, bloating and gas for the rest of my life, so I immediately overhauled my habits in the hopes of some relief.
What did this look like? To start, I began a strict low FODMAP diet using whatever lists I could find online. My doctor started me on a daily probiotic and stool softener. I began drinking as much water as I possibly could. I took my new plan seriously and I never intentionally deviated from it.
And the truth is, my physical symptoms started improving, at least in the beginning. But as the months and years went by, my strict lifestyle left me emotionally exhausted. First of all, my diet was nearly impossible to explain to others and most people assumed my restrictions were from a fad diet of sorts. Eating out became impossible. After attending a few social events where I couldn’t find any suitable options on the menu, I soon began declining almost all invitations. If a high FODMAP food slipped into my diet, if I forgot my stool softener, or if I didn’t drink quite as much water as normal, my symptoms would return… with a vengeance. Sometimes it would leave me completely out of commission for a day or even a week.
What finally helped
Over time, my symptoms became worse and my list of restrictions grew. After several years of living in physical and emotional pain, I took to the Internet for answers once again. And I am so thankful that I did, because that’s when I stumbled upon Stephanie Clairmont and her team of digestive dietitians.
I started working with a coach on Stephanie’s team in 2015. I was so excited and relieved to be working with someone who had not only been through and overcome IBS herself, but who also had so much knowledge about the scientific research on IBS and FODMAPs. At the time, Stephanie’s team worked with clients one-on-one, but the process and framework we worked through is exactly what’s offered in Clairity today.
It took only a few months of working with Stephanie’s team for my symptoms to completely subside. I couldn’t believe it and I will forever be so thankful. I learned so much working with them—why I couldn’t sustain my low FODMAP diet forever, how to expand my food list, lifestyle factors that were worsening my symptoms (this was huge!), and what additional tests to pursue with my physician. I learned that my triggers would always be unique to me, which was the push I needed to finally get clear on exactly what caused my symptoms through their step-by-step approach.
Since then, I have been 99% symptom-free. I still deal with digestive issues on the rare occasion, but dealing with those flare-ups has become so much more manageable. I confidently know what foods and behaviours worsen my symptoms, and I can now go through life with ease. It’s truly changed my life.
My message to you
I am so honoured and excited to have the opportunity to serve each and every one of you through Clairity. I know exactly how horrible it feels to deal with the confusion, isolation and pain of IBS. I know how difficult it can be to wade through the misinformation online or feel like you’re battling with a physician who is dismissing your symptoms.
If you take away just one thing from my story, please let it be that there is hope for you, too. I honestly thought I would have to deal with my symptoms for life. For years, I just dealt with them the best I could. But it does not have to be that way. With the right information from truly credible and empathetic healthcare professionals, you can work through your triggers and find relief for yourself.
If you’re ready to start taking control of your symptoms, Stephanie and I would be so happy for you to join our free mini-class series next week. You’ll learn Stephanie’s four best strategies to relieve symptoms of IBS, and you’ll receive a free meal plan with a full week of good-for-your-gut recipes. Click here to register today.
Ok friends, I hope to see you next week! If not, please stay connected through Instagram where we share lots of free resources and tips.
I wish you all the best in your IBS journey! Until next time,
Nutrition Communications Manager
Clairity Digestive Program