Like many people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrom, I often have gastrointestinal issues.
I was diagnosed with a gut motility issue as a teenager, but I can really trace the problem back to when I was born. My parents have always joked about how I never let them sleep through the night because I was so colicky as a baby. But we had no idea that it was connected to my EDS, because I hadn’t been diagnosed yet. I didn’t find out I had EDS or realize the two issues were connected until many years later.
It’s never fun to continuously worry about what you eat, how the food will make you feel, or whether you should avoid certain foods altogether. And while it was helpful in many ways to realize that my gastrointestinal issues were related to a broader disorder, it didn’t really help me find a way to manage them. Over the years, through trial and error, I’ve identified foods to avoid and others that help, but it’s not straightforward.
I know I can’t eat a lot of fried foods. If I have french fries, I need to choose a grilled entrée. A double whammy of fried foods is guaranteed to make me feel yucky.
Last year, I developed lactose intolerance. I found this particularly odd, because dairy had never bothered me before. Now, I can’t tolerate lactose at all, not even in tiny amounts.
Recently, my symptoms have worsened because I’ve been under a huge amount of stress at the school where I work, which recently started classes again. I know that better management of my stress is a critical piece of the puzzle, but I also had to figure out something else to help me feel better. Feeling unwell was adding to my stress, and it became a vicious cycle.
It occurred to me to research probiotics, which are live microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed. When working with horses, we often give them probiotics for digestive issues, so it was one of the first things that came to mind for me to try. After a little research, I figured I had little to lose in terms of negative reactions, and possibly much to gain. I thought it was worth a shot, because if the probiotics didn’t work, I’d be out a few dollars. But if they helped, even a little, I would take it!
I’ve been taking probiotics for a week and am excited that I notice a difference. While they’re not a magic bullet solution, they do seem to be alleviating some of my symptoms and making my diet-based management more effective. With everything else happening in the world right now, a way to feel a little better is definitely a win in my book!
Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.
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