After several years of dealing with some kind of health problem that affects my digestive system/intestinal tract, I went to my doctor again and talked to her about symptoms that seem to be ramping up rather than down. She suggested that I speak to a specialist about whether or not surgery might not be needed.
After giving this some thought and deciding that surgery was a little serious to just be jumping into, I pondered doing a food elimination study to see once and for all if there was some food allergy/sensitivity/intolerance. I passed this idea by someone and their response back was… “Oh, you are going gluten-free?” To be honest, this wasn’t even on my radar so I went to Wikipedia and looked it up. The symptoms were sounding awfully familiar! I then looked up the diagnosis that I had been given last year. IBS is a diagnosis of elimination. This means that you are tested for a variety of diseases as well as food allergies and only when all this comes back negative can you truly be given a diagnosis of IBS. None of this was done in my case. I spoke to a doctor that goes to my church and he agreed that I needed to go through the testing to look for food and endocrine issues before being content with a diagnosis of IBS.
Note: In no way am I trashing my doctor. She is a very good doctor and patient advocate but there is a ton of stuff to know about everything a patient can come to you about so I expect that something is going to get missed eventually.
Anyway… I decided to start with the simplest thing first – food issues. I made the decision to eliminate all variety from my diet and eat some very basic foods for 2 weeks and see if I saw any improvement. (You may wish to consult a doctor first before trying this). I chose the foods to eat based on this criteria: low fat (high fat foods can make IBS worse), gluten/wheat free and dairy free. I also researched food allergies in general and threw other items out of my diet that seemed to be common like fish, nuts, coffee, tea, eggs and beef. And you wonder what I had left to eat right? I decided on these items: potatoes, corn, rice, carrots, chicken, banana, apple, rice crackers and honey. I only drink water.
I have been on this diet for a little over a week and already I see an improvement. It is not a 100% improvement but enough of an improvement that I have been led to the conclusion that I might have something in my diet that is causing some (not necessarily all) of my problems. So far, it has improved enough that the additional symptoms leading my doctor to consider surgery have not occurred once.
Now, I will start the path of re-introducing foods one at a time. I am starting with another veggie if only because I am sick and tired of eating carrots! After that, I am going to head right for the most obvious – dairy and gluten. I hope I find the culprit right away otherwise it will be a very long time before I have any hope of variety in my diet. My friend who has dealt with childhood allergy testing says I can only introduce a new food every two weeks. That is the downside to this. The upside is that I lost five pounds last week!