Do you have pain and bloating in your abdomen along with constipation or diahrea? These are all symptoms of what doctors call IBS (irritable bowel syndrom. Doctors do not have an answer for this problem, other than possibly to keep an eye out for foods that make the problem worse and avoid them (WebMD).  I know, we all want answers and we want them now. Here is an example of three different and horrific IBS problems that I have, that might help you to narrow down the cause of an IBS problem.

  • Soap Residue: Failure to do a swish rinse (which carries soap out of a container dish {glasses, bowls, and pots}, much better than filling and dumping it), leads to searing abdominal pain, bloating, liquid diarrhea with loose stool, an extremely hot and painful abdomen, and (after three days of exposure) bloody stool. This was recognized after realizing that the use of liquid soaps for hand washing for three days led to cracked and bleeding skin on the knuckles of my hands.
    • Note: If you tell a doctor about bloody stool, they will do an anal probe and (if the cause is IBS) may throw their hands in the air stating they didn’t find anything, because they are looking for cysts (possibly cancer).
  • Chlorinated Water: All the same symptoms as Soap Residue plus a horrific heartburn, except that it takes longer for bleeding to occur.
  • Pork: Any amount of pork, even the smallest droplet of grease, causes me constipation, bloating, stinky gas, stinky burping, an extremely hot and painful abdomen, feeling full and starving at the same time, depressed breathing, and a general feeling of weakness and sickness. I am not sick, when this occurs, but I feel sick. These symptoms take about three hours to notice and continue for no less than three days, which is the same reaction time for all of my food allergies. This is the only food allergy I have that has the IBS symptoms. Most of my food allergies cause depressed breathing.

I am not trying to tell anyone what causes their problems. I am trying to point out that it is not just food that can cause these problems and that cutting out an entire food type for a week or two (because it takes at least 3 days for the pork symptoms to clear my system), may be required to identify the problem. Pork is an especially hard one to identify, because a lot of people eat it without thinking about it. Items to suspect of having pork in them include spaghetti and meatballs, pizza (peperroni, canadian bacon, and sausage), clam chowder, and most breakfast offerings at a restaurant (bacon, sausage, omelets, ham), to name a few . The list goes on and on I fear. Pork was in my diet at least once in any given 3 day period, most of the time. I had to go overseas (away from my family) to realize the extent of my problem and to get complete control over my diet. I was using a water filter and had cut my diet down to chicken and fresh vegetables. The change in how I felt was amazing!

As far as I know and regardless of the cause, I do not believe that there is a solution, other than watching my intake carefully to prevent exposure to the “known” causes of the problem. Yes, there are medications out there for IBS, but why take a medication (that may have side-effects, could cause changes to my metabolism, and could cause the deterioration of one or my of my organs {one of many possible side-effects of drugs}), when I can simply avoid the causes of the problem?

My Korea trip was the first time I had a bloody stool problem, possibly because of exposure to the massive amounts of chlorination in the water and the reason I first started filtering my water. I also do not believe I had a serious problem with pork before this trip either. But that is cause and effect, not problem and solution.