The six month mark: Am I cured of IBS?I began the low-carb diet on the 10th of December, 2011. Following the advice from the books of Dr. Lutz, I restricted my carbohydrates intake to 72g per day. After a first week that was pretty hard to go through, I eventually got used to it, and now I can follow it with any effort. As I knew I had trouble with lactose, fructose and gluten, I avoided them.
- After two weeks, I felt way better.
- After two months, I felt symptom free.
- I can now eat some foods that would previously trigger diarrhea: beans, lentils.
- I can eat a portion of gluten (a nice slice of bread) without problem. Of course I don't do it very often, since bread is a big source of carbs.
- I finally gave up on eating out. It is very difficult to find a dish that is low-carb. Even salads often come with a creamy sauce, full of lactose (that's the case here in Germany - In France we have a sauce called vinaigrette based on oil, vinegar and mustard, but it is not widely used here)
- Fructose and lactose still give me problems. In fact I could eat small portions of them, but a fortnight ago I had a normal meal with my family, including lots of wine, and it was a terrible mistake: I am now as reactive to fructose and lactose as before. I guess this should go away in a few months time though.
- I had hoped six months would be enough, but after this normal meal I can see I am not cured at all. So I need to keep on dieting.
Dr Lutz claims total remission can take up to five years (but that's for ulcerative colitis, which is a worse condition than IBS). Ellaine Gotshall, who made the specific carbohydrate diet popular, says one needs to stick to the diet one whole year after all symptoms have disappeared. I guess that would mean march 2013 for me.
But on the whole, it is an incredible result. In fact it brought another "issue" that I need to work on: forgetting in the first place that I have IBS.
Edit: now that I think about it, something occurs to me: I had problems with several foods, and I started eating very small portions of them, increasing the quantity slowly. This is how I got used to lentils, beans, and gluten. I am going to try this out with fructose and lactose over the next month, and see how it goes.
Learning to live without IBSIf like me, you have suffered from IBS for many years, you know how it goes: going out is hard. If you have a bout of diarrhea while being out it even becomes frightening to go outside. And it gets worse with time.
This is not a life. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. This has so many implications it is not possible to write them all: every source of stress can bring up diarrhea.
Applying for a job is a source of stress.
Going on a date is a source of stress.
Going out with friends is a source of stress.
For me, even going to the movies became one. The idea of being stuck in a room for 2 hours with no bathroom was terrible.
And then, with time, you start to avoid doing those things.
Like I said... It's not a life. And I am sure that you, reading this, can relate
As my symptoms disappeared, my everyday life actually did not change much. It took me a month, and a trip abroad, to start seeing what being symptom-free meant. I then started to go out more often. More and more. Doing, testing as much as I could. In fact, I am just beginning to live again. I had forgotten how it is, I need to learn. I am starting to feel a going-out bulimia! That is how incredible this diet was for me.
My subconscious actually needs more time to forget about IBS than my body!