5

votes

Has anyone developed irritable bowel while on Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 04, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Yeah, yeah, there are some questions out there about this. But they're all from newbies.

What I want to know is: Has anyone DEVELOPED it after eating Paleo for an extended period of time?

Some backstory. Previously when I had bouts of IB (eating SAD), it came after prolonged periods of stress (workplace, emotional, etc.). Thanks to my charmed existence, I no longer have prolonged periods of stress (don't hate me). But it would clear up when the stress diminished.

My most recent issues began during my Whole30 in October. I'm not saying the Whole30 caused it (correlation does not equal causation!), but there it is. After finishing the Whole30, I got the first of what now appears to be three waves of an intestinal bug (have a toddler at home). In between and since the last of the bug, I am STILL having IB symptoms. Forgive the TMI to come, but it seems recently the bloating and gas have gotten a bit better, but not the * ahem * stools. I also during this time had my first breakouts of acne since being on Paleo, and my weight ticked up by a few pounds. I am also sleeping terribly, waking up a time or two during the night and not being able to get back to sleep.

Knowing that these types of symptoms travel together and are often seen when eating SAD, I am really befuddled. Nothing else about my diet or exercise regimen has changed, save for making small improvements like a lot less dairy, alcohol, and nuts.

So WTF? And what can I do to turn this around? First person to suggest probiotics wins a prize!

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:50 AM

Same experience.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Thank you for the tips! Yes, I miss the freedom from these issues that I enjoyed for nearly a year. I'm interested in eating "cleaner" now that the holidays are over anyway, so maybe I can figure it out.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on January 04, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Karen, try some Kombucha tea too. If nothing helps, maybe you have mutated bacteria/yeast that can feed on anything. In this case, you'd need antibiotics, a diet won't help, so get tested soon.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 04, 2012
at 08:09 PM

Congrats on figuring it out.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 04, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Yeah, I tried, I really did, not to mention fermented foods based on the end of your question :O but water kefir has done truly wonderful things for me.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 04, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Congee is Chinese rice porridge. Rice is cooked with stock and herbs, with some bits of meat and vegetables sometimes. The PHD recipe is similar http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1093

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 04, 2012
at 07:45 PM

I second Eugenia's fermented foods. Helps me a lot.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:17 AM

@Melissa - Have you talked about this congee business on your blog before? I'd be happy to dig through the archives. I'm not too low carb (eating good starches), and I doubt I'm too low calorie, but that's an interesting angle to consider.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:15 AM

Yikes! I feel your pain. I'm going on 2 months of this garbage.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:15 AM

Thanks, Eugenia! It's funny, all those things are on my menu. Okay, okay. Maybe I need to eat more offal. :)

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:14 AM

Thank you! Yes, I'm beginning to wonder about even trace amounts. I've never thought I was someone who had to be careful to that degree.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:13 AM

Thanks Nance! I know about those newbies and their IBS, I suggested this diet to a friend of mine and it of course cured her. Maybe she gave it to me... ;) I'm beginning to wonder about the exposure business. I am almost completely off gluten, a cookie just isn't worth the trouble anymore. But we have to consider that restaurant meals (which don't happen much anymore either) are never clean etc. You never know when some errant molecules might hitch a ride into my intestines.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:09 AM

I had the symptoms before the first bug, proceeded to have IBS symptoms in between waves of it, just got done with wave #3, and still having symptoms. I guess I kinda hoped the bug would wipe out the IBS! :) No antibiotics, not into that. I should say I know it was a bug and not just another manifestation of IBS by pointing out that my husband and/or daughter had the same bug symptoms as I did during those times. I have been bone brothing like no one's business. If nothing else, it just tastes soothing and amazing.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on January 04, 2012
at 01:16 AM

Congee is freakin' rice. It's adult baby food for the intestinally challenged. LOL. That would be my suggestion; eat more CHO. But if you're compromised I'd stick to fruits and easily digestible stuff.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on January 04, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Melissa...what is congee? And was these bouts from something specific like an unintentional gluten exposure? I've experienced this as well but I chalked it up to a gluten exposure from eating out or something.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 04, 2012
at 12:35 AM

Could it be that the diet itself is causing stress? Too low carb? Too low calorie? Either way, I had intermittent bouts of IBS on paleo, which is why I started doing congee occasionally.

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8 Answers

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 04, 2012
at 12:44 AM

I think the fact that those questions are from newbies is a clue and I don't mean that flippantly. All I've seen on this and other sites are reports of rapid/gradual improvement in IBS as a pre-existing condition.

I haven't seen reports of the condition developing long after you join the lifestyle. Of course, it's a fair question to ask how long most people have followed this lifestyle, because it was quite a small community for a while and has only exploded recently.

BTW, I'm sorry about your flare-up. In my case, I do still suffer occasional GI issues but much less often and usually after I have splurged or accidentally eaten something including wheat (like a steak, if you can believe it) and I suffer later. I don't have IBS but I do have a hiatal hernia and an exquisitely sensitive nervous/GI system so I have to be pretty careful. When the worst happens, I make sure every day/meal starts with fatty meat until I settle down again.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:13 AM

Thanks Nance! I know about those newbies and their IBS, I suggested this diet to a friend of mine and it of course cured her. Maybe she gave it to me... ;) I'm beginning to wonder about the exposure business. I am almost completely off gluten, a cookie just isn't worth the trouble anymore. But we have to consider that restaurant meals (which don't happen much anymore either) are never clean etc. You never know when some errant molecules might hitch a ride into my intestines.

4
C491ff8ce20d5c17f8f7ff94392a9570

(1617)

on January 04, 2012
at 06:19 PM

I developed ibs on a paleodiet. I developed bloating, stomachaches, gas, and diarrhea after doing more or less paleo for probably about 5 or 6 years. Even "paleo" foods like onions and garlic would set it off. It got to the point i would get bloated just from drinking water. In my case it turned out to be a combination of too much protein, too low carbs, and too low calories. In practical terms that means I added in breakfast and snacks, cut my meat "servings" from 8 oz to 4 oz, and lost my carbophobia. I feel a million times better now and I can eat pretty much whatever I want with no problems.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:50 AM

Same experience.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 04, 2012
at 08:09 PM

Congrats on figuring it out.

2
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on January 04, 2012
at 12:55 AM

You said you had 3 waves of an intestinal bugs and indicated in was from your young child? Did you take any antibiotics an we're you actually sick? The intestinal bug most likely came from a virus and not the paleo diet and if you took any type of antibiotics th would definitely giv you IBS. If you did not take any, th bug itself could still be floating around or caused some long lasting negative intestinal bacteria. Whenever I have a unintentional gluten exposure or some other issue to cause my IBS to return (had IBS for 10 years and then Paleo cured it in 3 days) I do a 2-3 day bone broth/stock fast and it seems to do the trick.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:09 AM

I had the symptoms before the first bug, proceeded to have IBS symptoms in between waves of it, just got done with wave #3, and still having symptoms. I guess I kinda hoped the bug would wipe out the IBS! :) No antibiotics, not into that. I should say I know it was a bug and not just another manifestation of IBS by pointing out that my husband and/or daughter had the same bug symptoms as I did during those times. I have been bone brothing like no one's business. If nothing else, it just tastes soothing and amazing.

2
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on January 04, 2012
at 12:47 AM

I have had IBS-D for 10 years, which went away with Paleo. Not the other way around. You might just need to eat more fermented foods, eat offal, cook with coconut oil, eat raw/unfiltered local honey, take probiotics if needed.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 04, 2012
at 07:45 PM

I second Eugenia's fermented foods. Helps me a lot.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:15 AM

Thanks, Eugenia! It's funny, all those things are on my menu. Okay, okay. Maybe I need to eat more offal. :)

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on January 04, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Karen, try some Kombucha tea too. If nothing helps, maybe you have mutated bacteria/yeast that can feed on anything. In this case, you'd need antibiotics, a diet won't help, so get tested soon.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 04, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Yeah, I tried, I really did, not to mention fermented foods based on the end of your question :O but water kefir has done truly wonderful things for me.

1
77e7d1fa43ecd743d52c92c47393f3a9

on November 21, 2012
at 02:32 PM

I am a bit late to this discussion but I found this discussion fascinating and wanted to share my story too. I hope you are feeling better Karen. My experience healing my IBS-C was so profound that I became a digestive health coach at www.diyhealthblog.com.

8 years ago I healed my IBS by going on a modified Paleo diet, however I could not tolerate nuts so I had to avoid them all together. Not much is written about nuts and their effect on digestion but for me that was the mission piece after trying everything under the sun to heal myself.

I have read mostly success stories in this discussion thread but am very curious about the people who developed digestive issues with Paleo. Have you guys read the FODMAPS diet? It emphasizes a condition that is called fructose intolerance and also cuts out insoluble fiber so cruciferous veggies are out and so are onions and garlic.

I feel like between FODMAP, probiotic therapy and the Paleo diet 90 percent of cases of IBS and severe digestive issues can be solved.

1
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 04, 2012
at 12:59 AM

Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease (and the terrible 2 years leading up to it) I had infrequent stress-induced IBS-type symptoms. I just thought I handled stress poorly or something. But since going gluten free I've gotten even more sensitive to gluten, so now even trace amounts can cause me IBS-type symptoms for a week or two. As far as I understand, it seems that as your gut heals up, the trace gluten exposures cause a more noticeable effect. People report that after a year or two, they're much more resilient.

Could it be that your gut is now healing up and that's why you're more sensitive to trace amounts? If you just did a Whole30, were you more strict about gluten than before, allowing more healing to occur?

The other thing I can think of is that if you hadn't addressed gut health by repopulating your gut with beneficial bacteria (through probiotics, fermented foods, fecal transplant, whatever) then maybe that's why you were susceptible to the tummy bug?

Or ... maybe you just got unlucky. Even otherwise healthy-intestined people get sick with tummy bugs sometimes.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:14 AM

Thank you! Yes, I'm beginning to wonder about even trace amounts. I've never thought I was someone who had to be careful to that degree.

1
F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on January 04, 2012
at 12:57 AM

It could just be that you are still suffering the after-effects of your "intestinal bug". I came down with the swine flu in 2009 and it was almost a month before my GI tract was normal again. Rest it as much as possible and let it heal.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:15 AM

Yikes! I feel your pain. I'm going on 2 months of this garbage.

0
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 04, 2012
at 07:31 PM

These are some of things I would check if you are eating more of than before and I would also notice what things you eat "together"...

  1. Tomato and tomato sauce
  2. Coconut Oil/Products (upsets some people's stomach or allergic)
  3. Nut flours including coconut flour
  4. Raw veggies especially broccoli
  5. Fruit--especially late in the day or mixed with a protein type meal

As I've tried different things on Paleo I am immediately notified by my body what I can't handle. For example...I cannot eat lettuce well. I don't know why. Raw spinach I'm fine with but even organic lettuce upsets my stomach. I can't really eat raw veggies that well either...I've got to cook them well. Also...I digest red meat very well but I have a tougher time with chicken. (Which is good since i like red meat more.) Also...fruit will completely screw with my digestion and I have to be uber careful with it.

That being said...don't give up!!! I have solved most of the digestion problem due to paleo and it is very freeing.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Thank you for the tips! Yes, I miss the freedom from these issues that I enjoyed for nearly a year. I'm interested in eating "cleaner" now that the holidays are over anyway, so maybe I can figure it out.

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