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The Story of IBS and My Gut | Low FODMAP Diet by FODMAP Life

The story of IBS and my gut started around the time I had my cholecystectomy (gall bladder surgery).  That was in 2005.  It’s the first time I remember having large amounts of gas and cramping.  I remember nights where I couldn’t sleep because the gas and the gallstones were so painful.  After surgery, as my body was getting used to living without a gallbladder, I had diarrhea daily.  Things seemed to calm down a little about six months later, but the gas issue was still there. 

colleen francioli
My family and I, all settled in Colorado

Then in 2010, my gut health was really out of whack.  I was bloated to the point where I looked six months pregnant (you know what that’s like!).  I had pretty flat abs at the time and competed in races, but on days of bloating, I felt anything but fit, energized or motivated. 

Pain from my abdominal distention became more frequent. Then the story of IBS and my gut took a turn again and I began having constipation.  In 2013, I completed the low-FODMAP diet.  My symptoms greatly improved, I knew my triggers (certain high-FODMAPs and stress), and gained symptom control, with bloating here and there and constipation around the time of my period.  However, my luck with gut health ran out in 2018 and 2019.

The Story of IBS and My Gut – Stressed!

2018 and 2019 were very stressful years for me. I didn’t have time to take care of myself.  I became pregnant in October 2017 and was sick the entire pregnancy with hyperemesis gravidarum and was also doing my best to care for my three-year-old and run my business.  Trying to exercise was out of the question because it would bring on the worst migraines. If I tried deep breathing it would trigger my gag reflex and I had to throw up.  Most days I just wanted to lay down.  Then finally Luca was born and for the first three weeks, it was paradise. 

During those three weeks of peace, I felt better and was loving my sweet new boy.  He was born three weeks early and we had to feed him with a syringe at first as he wasn’t eating enough. It took me a while sometimes to wake him up to feeds. It was scary but I kept calm.

Colic – the New Storm

colic low fodmap diet

Just when things started to turn around for Luca, he started to have colic. I was nursing and went on an elimination diet to remove common trigger foods for babies, but it didn’t work. We tried many different tactics. He was crying for most of the day and from midnight to 6 a.m.  It was like being in solitary confinement.  When he did sleep he had to fall asleep in my arms or in a carrier. Then that didn’t work and for a period of two months, I drove him for an average of six hours a day for his naps. Thinking back to that time brings on so much anxiety. It wasn’t until late 2019 that I understood what was really going on with my mental health. It took two years of poor health to realize anxiety was what I was dealing with, and something I’d probably (definitely) had most of my life.

It was so hard not being able to make my baby feel better when he was in so much pain.  He never smiled or laughed. So, I was barely sleeping and completely maxed out. It went on for months. My mind and body never rested. I remember being on a trip with my husband and the baby woke up in the car seat and cried – I jumped and my breathing intensified. I said, “I think I have anxiety and PTSD from the baby’s colic.” He said warmly and apologetically, “I think you do too.”

Luca and I at an AirBnB before moving to Colorado, months after his colic went away.

In 2019 we also moved twice.  Moving is one of the most highly-stressful things for most people. In fact, if you are thinking of starting the low FODMAP diet and also plan on moving, you should wait until you’ve settled in your new place. The stress from the move could exacerbate your symptoms.

Other life events that could exacerbate symptoms of IBS include a breakup or divorce, starting or leaving a job, starting or ending school, getting married, or the death of a loved one.

moving with IBS

The Story of IBS and My Gut – A Disaster

My life of not getting enough sleep, not eating regular meals (and without distraction), not exercising, no meditating or deep breathing, no dates with my husband or time with my girlfriends – was all a recipe for disaster with my gut. 

It wasn’t until this past December that Luca started sleeping through the night.  As I started to get more sleep, I was able to start rewriting the story of IBS and my gut. I had the time to go on easy walks and my overall health started to improve.  It’s amazing what self-care can do for your mind and body. Luckily at this time Glycom, the makers of Holigos® IBS Restore reached out to me.  We agreed that I would try out their product and authentically share my honest experience. I am happy to say my experience has been a positive one.  You can take a look at my 30-day diary in this post.

Like Housekeeping for My Gut

Since taking Holigos® IBS Restore I have felt like the product has been like housekeeping for my gut.  Just like our Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) serves as a housekeeping role and sweeps residual undigested material through the digestive tube, I feel like Holigos® IBS Restore sweeps and cleans my GI tract. 

the story of my ibs and my gut holigos

Holigos® IBS Restore mixed in with Greek yogurt, blueberries, crushed walnuts, and cinnamon.

The Story of IBS and My Gut – My partner in better gut health

For me, Holigos® IBS Restore is like my partner in better gut health and it does the heavy lifting for me.  My energy levels have increased, and I am not experiencing constipation or any burning feeling in my gut.  Holigos® IBS Restore has enabled me to relax because there’s no more constriction in my GI tract from constipation.  That constant tight feeling makes it hard for me to concentrate or go about my day.

My being more relaxed means I can live in the moment with my kids and be a better mom.  When I have gut pains or constipation, and I’m not sleeping well and everything is out of balance, I’m truly not the best mom or wife.  My Quality of Life (QOL) has improved so much, and it’s started with my gut feeling more balanced.  The story of IBS and my gut today is that I not only have my past experience and knowledge of the low FODMAP diet to help me, I also have Holigos® IBS Restore to step in when life gets way off track.

Support for Moms

Lastly, I want to say that if you are a mom and your baby has colic, there’s a great Facebook group that you can join for support. I highly recommend it. Many people will never understand just exactly what it means to have a colicky baby for the baby, the mother and her partner. Some may say you’re overreacting. Just hang in there and get breaks when you can. Treat yourself when you can. Make sure your partner is supporting you. And if you’re experiencing anxiety or PTSD it’s OK to talk about it. Don’t feel ashamed, stay strong and get support! Reach out to me anytime if you need to vent!

the story of ibs and my gut holigos ibs restore

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the story of my ibs and my gut holigos

Holigos® IBS Restore is a medical product however it can be purchased without a prescription.  It’s also very easy to take.  I have it in the morning and mix the powder in the water I drink to take my vitamins.  You can also mix it into any cold or hot beverage or meal.  For me, taking it with my vitamins ensures I don’t forget to have my daily dose. Holigos® IBS Restore comes in easy to open pouches which are also convenient if you’re on the go. 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Holigos®, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own


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COLLEEN FRANCIOLI FODMAP LIFE