Tuesday, September 18, 2012

IBS diets: the dreaded 3-month flare

I already mentioned in a previous article that, although my low-carb diet works wonders, I had quite a bad time at the beginning of June. Fortunately it only lasted a few days. Unfortunately, I had the most unpleasant surprise to see symptoms come back at the beginning of September. What is happening here? Well, it seems to be a well-known issue with diets that lower carb consumption: Every three-months, the symptoms tend to come back.

This is quite an interesting phenomenon. Judging by the number of articles on the web mentioning this 3 month flare, this is a very common problem for people under the specific carbohydrate diet. Elaine Gottshall even mentions it in her book breaking the vicious cycle, which introduced the diet.

If we think about it, the SCD limits carbohydrate consumption. A low-carb diet or a paleo diet will do the same. So if this happens to SCD followers, most probably the other diets are concerned as well.

Where does this come from? There is not a lot of research on treating IBS with diets, so no one knows exactly. If we believe that IBS is triggered by bacteria, a theory would be that this problem is somehow linked to the bacteria lifecycle. As bacteria die, they release toxins, and this is known to trigger some symptoms. So maybe there is a major bacteria die-off every three months. This is highly hypothetical, I don't have anything to support this theory.

Something that I also noticed is that after such an episode, I actually feel better than before. For example, in july I felt so good I began eating more of my trigger foods. And it went pretty well, to some extent. But before that, I don't think I could have handled it. Now that the 9 months flare (from september) is gone, I notice that I do not need to go to the toilet as much as before. I cannot really remember having a flare after 3 months (that would be beginning of March). So this does not happen every time, and it is pretty mild compared to what I used to endure.

As a side note, I keep on low-carbing, and I saw that, although I'm perfectly fine in everyday life, if I go under a quite stressful situation, some symptoms may come back, although not so bad as before. So I think that I still need to diet. Another interesting phenomenon is that lots of thin people, like me, report gaining weight under the SCD after a few months under it. Well I got my weight back to where I was before starting the diet, so I cannot complain, but there was no major gain until now. Probably another proof that I need to go on.

If you are under such a diet, and were victim of the 3 months-flare, I'd love to hear about it, so please leave a note!

1 commentaires:

Unknown said...

My 13 year old daughter has persistent constipation followed by uncontrollable diarrhoea and has had this for 8 months now. She has had blood and stool tests and given movicol and mebeverine but I don't feel that they are working. Don't know what to do!

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