Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gut Problems

I won't get into gory details, but I'm pretty sure I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or some such difficulty. I have had problems all my life with my stomach. Frequent stomach aches, and gory other things I won't talk about, but to say, it all hurts, is inconvenient, and probably means I'm not absorbing nutrients like I should.

I definitely have a problem with dairy, and I am 90% successful at avoiding it. Recently I ate a whole Mac n' Cheese tv dinner, and I ended up going to the doctor because I thought I was having organ failure. I had my gall bladder removed in 2008, and depending on what sources I read, my diet should/shouldn't change to avoid fatty foods and I should take lecithin to replace bile salts. I don't bother with any of this. I don't know if I should completely eliminate other foods, though, and if anything I think I should focus on removing all processed foods from my diet. And probably butter (yes I avoid dairy, including stuff wtih casein or whey -- it's not just lactose -- and yes, I eat butter, because a nutritionist told me that was likely okay)

Having these issues impacts me socially:

I have many cravings, and many food aversions. So, I'm picky. Many people have dislikes, and so not everything I dislike is because of some neuro issue like sensory defensiveness, but it's hard to tell the difference sometimes.

Ordering at a restaurant is an exercise in running the server back and forth from the table to the kitchen to inquire about ingredients (some restaurants are amazing though, and accommodate "allergies" and have special menus, or can say exactly which items I could order).
Then, I often order something from a restaurant and then can't really eat it. I'll lose my appetite halfway through a meal, usually because the meal is too dry and I can't figure out how to remedy that (the only bbq sauce many restaurants have is steak sauce like A-1, when I need something sweet).

At home, I often go on spurts of wanting to eat the same thing over and over (most recently it was artichokes). I find it hard to cook for my husband and me, and provide the variety he probably wants, and make things he really likes while accommodating my own proclivities. I do not like most rice because of the texture. I love pasta, but I think (cooked) tomatoes bother my stomach. I started making olive oil & white wine pasta with some flax meal thrown in. I can sometimes not figure out what to make, and finding recipes is overwhelming.

Often I'll eat and during the meal or shortly after, I get a very bad stomach ache and have to run to the bathroom over and over. The patterns vary, but it can be a struggle to manage outings when I'm having episodes of this. Sitting through a movie, or going to a restaurant, or even worse, being out and about and suddenly needing a bathroom so bad that I'm worried about accidents.

This is embarassing. But I understand that it's not uncommon for people on the spectrum to have gut issues. See Donna Williams for one perspective on sensitivities and gut issues.

I went backpacking this long weekend and I'm really suffering - I think I ate too much protein and not enough of other stuff. My last day of hiking was really bad, I felt nauseous, hungry, but unable to eat. We went for dinner at Outback and I barely ate my food. I couldn't eat the steak I had ordered, only the shrimp, and bread, and a sparse bit of fries.. I took it home but it was embarassing and it annoyed my husband.

I really want to (and need to!) change what I eat, reduce stress, and figure out other ways to cope with this. I haven't addressed it completely in my first thirty years because in general, because I grew up feeling this way, it often doesn't occur to me that difficulty eating, nausea, severe abdominal pain and unrelenting irregularity just. isn't. normal. Or okay.

No comments:

Search This Blog