Having GERD With IBS
The reality of having GERD With IBS can be a harsh one.
This subject has been on my heart for a while now and it’s time I talk about it, I mean really talk about it with the world.
I’ll share the facts, my lifestyle and frustration, along with what helps me the most in having GERD with IBS!
I will start by saying, I’m blessed to be who I am and to have the great life that I do.
I’ve seen what worse illnesses can do and how they can limit people from everyday activities.
I’m grateful that I’m not very limited on what I’m able to do day to day.
But I certainly live a very different lifestyle than most.
Most of my limitations are from foods and drinks.
I feel like I’m partially to blame for some of these issues.
People always say not to play the blame game, but I really have to take some of the blame, for my GERD issues anyway.
I can’t say for sure that the whole ordeal is my doing, but I certainly have added to the problem.
One thing is for sure, even though I have many struggles on a daily basis, I will always come out on top, with a smile.
What Is GERD??
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, it occurs when the muscle between the esophagus and stomach does not close with a tight seal (it should be tightly shut when you are not eating or drinking).
Because it’s loose and creates a gap, stomach acid leaks back into the esophagus causing acid reflux and trapped air can easily enter the stomach causing major bloating.
A lot of people that have IBS also have GERD.
This is an incredibly uncomfortable illness to have, it effects me as well as many others 24/7.
GERD can be significantly worse at bed time, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Just last night, it took me until four A.M. to fall asleep thanks to GERD with IBS on top of it.
Avoiding My Reality
I know I’ve had GERD with IBS for years now, several years.
It was first the IBS when I was 16 and the GERD quietly followed and I was diagnosed with it at 20 years old.
I’m now 25, going on 26 and I’ve dealt with these problems for a long time now.
But have I fully come to terms with my illnesses? Absolutely not.
For years, I’ve continued bad eating habits and endured horrible symptoms as a consequence.
The symptoms have gotten worse over time, effecting me constantly and intensely.
I truly believe I created my GERD problem through overeating and not properly taking care of myself.
I’m not quite sure if I contributed to IBS, but it would be no surprise, before IBS, I ate horribly.
So why am I doing this to myself? I realize some of you will think I’m downright crazy, haha!
I wish I really knew why. But I think I have an idea.
Breaking Up With My Favorite Foods
Having a breakup with food sounds rather dramatic, doesn’t it?
But I’ve had horrible habits associated with certain foods for as long as I can remember.
I’m so used to overeating and feeling bloated, that I actually feel like something is wrong if I don’t feel that way.
But I also feel miserable that way.
I’m probably the definition of insanity!
GERD can actually be caused by continuous overeating.
IBS can also cause GERD symptoms because of the pressure and muscles irritating the stomach.
Constantly expanding your stomach that much also expands the muscle I talked about earlier.
The overstretching wears out the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, leaving you with bad consequences to face.
Because of my diet choices, I spend a lot of my time feeling very uncomfortable and I’m also losing hours of sleep every day.
I haven’t had a good night of sleep in a very LONG time.
Some foods have always just felt addictive to me, and some researchers agree that foods can have the same effect of addiction on certain people, just like drugs to others.
My prime example will be ice cream. Let’s look at my journey with ice cream, it’s dysfunctional.
Ice Cream For Life!
I wish I was joking with the subtitle, but I’m really not, I want ice cream all day every day.
There are photographs of me enjoying ice cream from before I can even remember enjoying ice cream (photo to the left is a great example..).
My parents would take us to Friendly’s sometimes, and the whole family would get sundaes.
My grandparents used to take my brother and I for McDonald’s ice cream cones many times, if not, they had ice cream in the house.
The same goes for my parents, if we didn’t go get it, we already had it.
I don’t blame any of these people for my bad habit, I’m simply showing you how accessible the stuff was for me and I took advantage of it.
I can recall where the first point of this becoming a problem started, I was about 8 or 9 years old.
In the 90’s, all the health care professionals and food companies told us that low fat diets were the way to go, you could lose weight and feel great.
So, naturally, we had Healthy Choice ice cream in the freezer, it was low fat!
I remember asking my parents one night if I could have a bowl of it and it was delicious mint chocolate chip (always been a favorite flavor of mine).
From then on, almost every night (minus a year or two in between), up until now I’ve always had ice cream as a night time snack.
That’s a horribly unhealthy habit to have and I literally feel incomplete without my nightly ice cream.
I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I only had a little, but this girl goes all out or goes home!
My version of a bowl of ice cream is massive compared to yours, I promise.
Trying To Ditch The Habit
Over the years, I’ve tried to get away from the bad habit many times.
This also includes many other bad eating habits, like eating huge bowls of mac and cheese every week.
Dairy can be a serious trigger for my IBS and GERD, but I constantly ignore that fact.
Many people struggle with food addictions.
I’ve tried eating 100 calorie ice cream bars and simply replacing ice cream with another sweet treat.
I always come back to the ice cream…
I feel like an adult that’s tried to quit cigarettes for years and I feel terribly lame about it.
I’ve got my viewpoint of food all wrong.
Throughout my life, I find foods that I love, eat them until I can’t stand them, then move on to my new favorites.
Ice cream never got the boot! I simply switched flavors and toppings.
I’m happy to say that lately, I’ve gotten away from eating ice cream all of the time.
But I still crave it like no other and it’s been a real struggle.
Ice cream does not make me feel good physically, only mentally.
Food For Thought
Most people look at food as delicious and great, sometimes even a reward.
But food’s purpose is to fuel our bodies with the energy we need to survive.
That’s it, plain and simple, fuel.
Just like a car requires gasoline, we require foods with certain nutrients to keep going.
This is the outlook we should have instead of drooling over french fries and chocolate cakes.
What have we done to ourselves??
The food places here in the United States blow my mind, the portions are massive and an ice cream sundae is the same amount of calories that I eat in a day.
Our restaurants and fast food places are a total joke and I have no problem admitting it.
I always wonder when the people will wake up and realize that they’re destroying themselves, just as I have.
For those of us that have GERD with IBS have to come up with a specialty diet in order to cut down or cut out the symptoms we face.
A Million And One Symptoms
Seriously, I can’t even deal sometimes, GERD with IBS is a total nightmare.
Sometimes it feels like all too much to handle, how do you fight off the symptoms of two different illnesses?
You think you’ve experienced all the normal and even weird symptoms of IBS and GERD, then another one hits you one day.
In the beginning, my IBS was really just cramping and loss of appetite.
In the beginning, GERD was the occasional bloating.
Well, that was a lifetime ago…
Now I spend everyday extremely bloated (and I really mean extremely!), my stomach has so much pressure, it feels like a balloon ready to burst.
My throat hurts, I sleep less, I can’t wear jeans anymore because I bloat too badly.
On top of that, I belch practically every five seconds, even as I’m trying to sleep. (I mean the kind of belches you’d expect from a massive lumberjack!)
Sometimes I get abdominal cramping too, it’s the worst when it all hits me at once.
I forget what it’s like to live without these symptoms, I can’t remember eating food and not worrying about what it could do to me.
I watch family and friends eat and drink and simply be happy without any worry or fear of consequences.
That used to be me, nine years ago.
IBS And GERD-Busting Favorites!
Hands down, the best gas-reducing remedy I’ve tried.
This brand is a lot different than others, I can just tell with the relief it gives me.
One of my biggest complaints with both IBS and GERD is the excess air trapped in both my stomach and intestinal tract.
The bloating is insane and it’s hard to find any relief, but these pills really help.
I like to take these after a large meal or before bed.
Heather’s Tummy Tea is a holy grail product for me!
I actually use this for both IBS and GERD symptoms.
It helps the most with IBS cramps and bloating from GERD.
45 tea bags is a lot, this ends up lasting quite a while.
I don’t need to use this product every day, but even if I did it would last over a month of daily use.
You can also purchase refills for the original canister when you use up the tea bags.
It is recommended that folks with GERD go on a diet with healthy fats (unsaturated fats), but otherwise low fat.
Bad fats can worsen GERD symptoms, which we really don’t want.
I highly recommend tracking your fat intake.
This book has some awesome low fat recipes, to make the transition easier and full of delicious dishes!
Of course, beyond low fat, people with GERD should steer clear from chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, coffee, fried foods and peppermint.
IBS And GERD
Together, these make a horrible pair.
Who wants diarrhea/constipation, abdominal pain along with bloating and acid reflux??
It’s like a toxic shock to the body when it comes all at once.
It’s amazing how much our bodies can handle? All of the stress put on it with these illnesses.
These illnesses have taught me that I’m a lot stronger than I could’ve ever imagined.
I feel like a superhero sometimes, especially when I look back on what I’ve been through.
So while these illnesses truly suck (I’ve got to be blunt here.), I’ve grown in a tremendous way.
What If I Never Had GERD With IBS?
I KNOW for a fact, I would not be where I am today without these illnesses.
As horrible as these things are, they are a part of me, a big part.
The part that has made me strong and taught me to push through the toughest obstacles in life.
Also the part that has driven me to help others as much as I can in this life.
I have always hoped to help others struggling with illnesses like IBS and GERD.
Other Tips For IBS and GERD
- Avoid eating before bed to prevent acid reflux.
- A walk may be acceptable just after eating, but avoid any major exercise directly after eating, it can irritate both IBS and GERD.
- Avoid bending over after eating to avoid acid reflux.
- A diet with healthy fats, lean meats, fruits and vegetables may be a good start.
- Always steer clear of any IBS triggers and any GERD triggers.
- While peppermint can ease IBS, it can worsen GERD, so if you have both, try other herbal remedies for IBS.
- If you have GERD with IBS, be sure to regularly visit your doctor for the best course of treatment.
The Bottom Line About GERD with IBS
These two illnesses can be managed together.
My key points of advice if you have GERD with IBS are to first avoid triggers of both illnesses, then create a low fat (bad fats, that is) diet that also works for your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.
Low fat diets are the top recommended best GERD diet, but you can still include healthy fats, don’t let the low fat label confuse you.
You should avoid trans fats and cut back on saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are your friend.