Getting past a flare-up

Low Fodmap for LifeThese last few weeks I feel like I have fallen into a time machine which switches life into fast forward! My children have been on school holidays for 2 1/2 weeks and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and start to write! The good thing is that I have had time to think about my blog and I am excited to have so many ideas to write about over the next few months.

If you live in Australia or have visited here you will have an idea of what the distances are like as well as the easy-going mentality we have about road trips. I have been travelling long distances all my life and so I have no qualms at all about road trips (I actually enjoy them!) and 2 weeks ago I drove 11 hours up to my parents place with two small children and a dog. Incredibly, it was the best trip we’ve had, the kids being a little bit older and me being a little more experienced with rewards (aka bribery) and entertainment (I have a car-only dvd player with two screens which I only pull out for these long drives and I borrow a stack of dvd’s from our local library). I stayed with my parents and extended family for a week and then drove back home again.

Unfortunately this trip saw me experiencing my worst IBS flare-up in a while, and if I look for the silver lining in the dark cloud, I should be grateful it was not the type of flare-up that needed a lot of toilet stops… This flare-up lasted for well over a week and was painful, uncomfortable and fatiguing. Certainly not what I had planned for the start of the holidays.

The worst part about this flare-up is that I can’t put my finger on the cause as I was following the low fodmap restrictions, and I have had to resign myself to the fact that was most likely a combination of events that caused and then elongated the experience:

  • Although I am adamant that I was eating low fodmap, if I really think about I probably overdid almonds. As I mentioned in my previous post, I made a flourless gluten free brownie for a friends dinner party which had 100g of almond meal, and perhaps I over-indulged… 🙂 My son also loves tamari almonds and I find they are all too easy to pick at… So my almond consumption probably exceeded the recommend 10 almonds a day.
  • I had been drinking more wine and champagne than I usually would, and as I noted in my post on alcohol, it does irritate the gut. I had also had a glass of whiskey, which is OK on the low fodmap diet, but I have now discovered that there are some doubts about its gluten free status, read more here about gluten and whiskey (and read here about why I also follow a gluten free diet).
  • It was HOT! At least 35°C and 85%-90% humidity each day,  and there is no doubt that dehydration can be factor in bowel problems.
  • I didn’t have 100% control over my diet while I was away. When I drive long distances, I always pack my own food, and my mum is amazing in how she incorporates low fodmap into all of her incredible paleo meals and treats. However, I did have some salads and meals that had onion which I tried to pick out.

How did I find relief?

Low Fodmap For LifeI started taking a supplement that I was initially prescribed by my dietitian three years ago when I first started the low fodmap diet. It is called Intestamine by BioCeuticals and I find that it soothes inflammation my gut. Sure, it doesn’t taste great and it isn’t cheap either at about $80 for 300g, but hey, it works!

I also tried to eat simply, exercise and take Movicol to help get things moving – read my previous cautionary post on laxative use for IBS symptoms.

Thankfully I have been feeling so much better over the last week. I am going to continue to take the Intestamine as I figure it can only help prevent another flare-up which I am keen to avoid.

I hope you are safe and symptom free and enjoy your New Years celebrations.

Sacha x


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