IBS Complicates Caring for My RLS
Last updated: August 2023
In one of my past articles, "Living with Endometriosis While Juggling RLS," I talked about how endometriosis made RLS treatment and care a challenge. Another one of my diseases that can very much complicate my ability to care for and treat RLS is my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
A history with IBS and RLS
Back in 2011, I had a large gallstone in my gallbladder and eventually had to have my gallbladder removed. Little did I know that it was going to be such a life changer. My health took a major dive. Not only did my RLS kick back into gear after having been dormant while in my teenage years, but I also developed new health issues like IBS.
Things were very rough back in the beginning. I was unable to be physically active because I was either in the bathroom, on the couch, or in bed in agony. I was fatigued unlike anything I had experienced prior. I was sleeping 14 to 16 hours a night and needing a 2- to 4-hour nap during the day.
Two years later, I was dealing with muscle atrophy from how inactive I was. My RLS hated me so much for it, and there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it. I mourned my old life, the one with friends and the ability to go for hikes out in nature.
Walking a tightrope with my activity level
Thankfully, medical marijuana (legal up here in Canada) was able to help improve my quality of life, and eventually I was able to start being active again. My RLS was happy that I was being more active, but also hated that I was being more active. Oh, Murphy's Law, right? I soon discovered that I walked a tightrope with my RLS; too active was bad, but not active enough was just as bad. When I first had RLS as a child, it wasn’t such a balancing act.
Of course, we can’t forget good ol’ gravity. Just like how gravity would tug on my endo tissue, gravity tugs on my intestines. This can be enough to cause horrible agony and even bowel movements. At least with my endo in near remission, gravity is now only an issue with my IBS. Some days, my IBS makes it so I can’t go for a walk. So, instead, I try to walk inside my little apartment or dance around a tiny bit, ever so cautiously. That way, if gravity decides to trigger a bowel movement, my toilet is close at hand.
Caring for RLS and IBS
My RLS would really like it if my IBS wasn’t such a bother. I could take care of my RLS so much more easily. I could deal with my symptoms without a care in the world about what it may end up doing to my intestines.
Do you have another health condition that can make it challenging to care for or treat your RLS? Have you been able to find little tricks to help you? Do you have to prioritize care for another condition over your RLS?
What do you wish for the most when it comes to RLS awareness?