First Year IBS - Chapters

Please follow the links below to read various chapters of The First Year: IBS, and learn how to take control of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms today. Personal stories from many IBS sufferers are incorporated into the chapters, as are special sections for children with IBS (and their parents).

How dramatically could people's lives be improved if they were given comprehensive information about all IBS management strategies at the very onset of their symptoms? This book should answer that question by serving as your shortcut to health, happiness, and confidence. My hope is that this information gives you the freedom to live your life however you choose, to go wherever you wish, whenever you want, and to eat, play, work, love, and laugh along the way. It took me almost two decades to personally get there, but then I had no one's help. With this book you can reach that point well within your First Year.

Your First Week ~ Learning and Living Every Day

DAY 1: You've just been diagnosed with IBS. Now what?
Many people are actually misdiagnosed with IBS, so the first step is to verify that your diagnosis is accurate. You need to make sure your symptoms match the criteria, and that you've had all the necessary medical tests to rule out other possible problems.
Special Section For Children

DAY 1: Inform yourself ~ know the enemy
Although IBS is a functional disorder of the GI tract and not a disease, it is a physical problem with serious and often debilitating symptoms. You need and deserve information, support, and consideration to deal with it.

DAY 2: The GI tract and how it (should) work
Unfortunately, how the digestive tract is supposed to work is not exactly how it does work for those of us with IBS. The key problem seems to be with the gastrocolic reflex. Specifically, research has found that many IBS patients have highly abnormal ones. Our colons have disorganized and significantly more violent and prolonged contractions (leading to diarrhea), or almost no contractions at all (resulting in constipation).

DAY 2: Lifetime lifestyle management ~ the 5 key strategies for symptom control
Eating properly, using supplements, managing stress, trying alternative therapies, and taking medications are the five best ways to keep your GI tract functioning normally. You may need to use just one approach, a combination, or all of them.

DAY 3 : Food ~ friend or foe?
There are very clear guidelines to follow for how to eat safely for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, based on the well-established effects certain categories of foods have on the GI tract. Learning these dietary categories - soluble fiber, fat, and insoluble fiber - is the key to understanding how foods can help or hurt IBS.
Information from this chapter is excerpted in the Diet Section of this website

DAY 3: Learn the 10 commandments of eating for IBS
Don't worry. I know it can be confusing at first to start thinking about what you eat in terms of fats and types of fibers, so just take things one day at a time. Making the effort here is truly worthwhile, because following the IBS diet will make a world of difference in your life. Let's take the knowledge of how to eat safely and put it into practical are The 10 Commandments of Eating for IBS.
Information from this chapter is excerpted in the Diet Section of this website

DAY 4: Keep active to stay healthy
Physical activity that works your muscles releases the energy they've stored from involuntary contractions under stress, and allows them to relax. When your muscles are relaxed you will be too – and so will your colon. Physical activity of any kind can be crucial to helping you successfully deal with IBS both physically and mentally, so find an enjoyable way to keep active and stick with it.

DAY 4: Get your exercise - indoors or out
Exercise is not a quick fix that will immediately halt all IBS symptoms, but rather something you need to devote time to, preferably every single day, for the rest of your life. Just as IBS is an ongoing syndrome so exercise, like diet, is an ongoing solution.

DAY 5: Stress ~ how you can wrestle it into submission
Stress inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system, and stimulates excessive adrenaline production, which in turn upsets the rhythmic muscle contractions of the gut. Given that people with IBS are prone to suffer from irregular GI contractions by definition, it's easy to see why stress is such a powerful trigger. Fortunately, lifestyle habits can work wonders for preventing or minimizing stress-related attacks.
Special Section For Children

DAY 5: Give this a try ~ therapeutic heat, meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi
Learn several of the best ways for dealing with stress head-on and thus increasing your ability to manage it successfully.
Meditation ~ Yoga ~ Tai Chi

DAY 6: Doctors' visits and medical options
What can you fairly expect your doctor to do for you if you have IBS? And what questions should you be asking your doctor? Take these helpful lists with you to your next doctor's appointment and get the answers you need.
Special Section For Children

DAY 6: Trying prescription drugs
It's crucial to see a competent, sympathetic doctor to ensure you've been properly diagnosed with IBS and have a resource for answers to all of your medical questions, but after your diagnosis the daily management of symptoms will probably stem more from lifestyle changes than any currently available prescription drug.
Medication Chart

DAY 7: Alternative therapies and how they can help
Alternative therapies can be specifically tailored to address IBS symptoms, and should reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of attacks with minimal risk of side effects. Acupuncture
Self-Hypnosis at Home
Hypnosis info from this chapter is excerpted in the Hypno Section of this website


Your First Month ~ Learning and Living Every Week

Eating enjoyably at home
Now that your digestion has stabilized and you've learned the ten commandments of eating for IBS, it's time to clean out your pantry, shop for a supply of safe staples, re-stock your kitchen, and begin adapting recipes.

Let's get cooking!
Menus for people who hate to cook.
Recipes for people who love to cook.
Asparagus lemon pasta, maple oat bread, Mexican mango shrimp, chocolate cherry pound cake, cinnamon peach oatmeal, and more!

Eating safely away from home
Scouting expeditions!
You're beginning to establish and maintain a healthy IBS diet at home, so let's take the next step and move on out in to the world. Don't be scared, but do be careful.

At work, restaurants, a friend's house, and parties
Cheat sheet for restaurants!
In order to eat safely away from home, you'll need to plan ahead, speak up, ask questions, and make the extra effort it will take to ensure you're able to follow your dietary needs.
Special Section For Children

With a little help from your friends...
Top 10 questions about IBS your friends and family need answered

Become a social butterfly (or at least break out of your cocoon)
Let your friends and family members know about your struggles with IBS, what helps you control it, and how they can support you so that you can maintain (or regain) a normal social life


Your First Year ~ Learn from Living Every Month

Dietary supplements ~ a little something extra can make a big difference
Soluble fiber, herbs as medicine, enzymes, calcium, and live flora

Support yourself ~ you are NOT alone
Look to support from fellow IBS sufferers, and support yourself as well when you're newly diagnosed, because you must devote the time and energy needed to take care of yourself while you learn about IBS and how to manage your symptoms.
Special Section For Children

Follow up with your doctor
If you have any new questions or concerns about your IBS, or have developed new symptoms, make a follow-up appointment with your GI doctor.

Time for a holiday ~ let's celebrate!
You can prevent IBS flare-ups during holiday celebrations without giving up great food and fun, by just controlling your diet as you do every day and modifying traditional family recipes according to the IBS dietary guidelines.

Re-evaluate your stress management strategies and alternative therapies
Evaluate your stress levels and related IBS attacks, and if you haven't seen improvements re-assess your current program, take a new approach, and consider trying an alternative therapy if you haven't already.


Make your voice heard ~ why you should talk about IBS
It can be empowering to make your voice heard, so speak up about IBS and explore avenues to bring the disorder into the public eye as a serious, physical illness that millions of people -including you - live with.

Take a vacation
A routine is crucial to managing IBS, and the inherent stress factors of travel require giving careful thought and planning to how you'll maintain control over your symptoms while on vacation, but the rewards are well worth the extra effort.

Take stock of your support system...especially when you fall off the wagon
Let the people closest to you know that you appreciate the efforts they make to help you deal with IBS, even when an attack flares due to an indulgence on your part, but don't hesitate to speak up if you're not getting the consideration you need.

Keep current with IBS research ~ but only if you want to
Keep yourself informed of clinical trials, research studies, and breaking news on IBS, but only if you find this helpful instead of stressful.

Feeling adventurous...and hungry?
Consider IBS an invitation to explore delicious new choices for cooking and eating safely by exploring ethnic markets, cookbooks, classes, and health food markets.

Review and reflect
Congratulations! You've just survived your first year with an officially diagnosed case of IBS, though the odds are you've actually been suffering from the problem for quite a bit longer. Now is the time to assess what strategies have been most successful for controlling your symptoms. Try to find the areas where you could further reduce your triggers, and give yourself a warm pat on the back for all you have learned and accomplished this past year.


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