Ignoring Hunger Pains
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Profile photo of Marisa Lauren Troy

Do you ever feel those hunger pains but resist eating because you know your body does better when there is minimal food in it?

I do.

When a person suffers from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD), traditional ways of eating generally go out the window. Obviously that is not true for every person who has a form of inflammatory bowel disease, but I know that to be the case for a good amount of people. I have mentioned how living with a chronic illness that impacts your digestive tract so much can cause disordered eating but I wanted to expand a little on the hunger portion.

When we are in a flare up, just out of surgery, dealing with abscesses, stomach distention, obstructions or whatever else IBD likes to throw at the bodies it encumbers, odds are our appetite either stays the same or is non-existent.

Again, I want to remind everyone reading this that IBD is unique to every person out there who suffers from this wretched disease.

Anyway, back to the point…

There are a lot of times when an IBDer has no interest in food.

There are lots of other times when someone wants to eat, knows their body could use good nutrition, but they are fearful of how their intestines will react to ingesting some food. There are also times when a person who suffers from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis and feels enormous hunger but their body just feels better for whatever reason (less distended, less time in the bathroom, etc) when they are fairly empty. And then there are times when someone is just ravenous and devours the entire kitchen! Yes, I have been there.

I have really been trying to find more healthy “safe foods” that I know my body is okay with. Those are usually different for everyone so I won’t even attempt to tell you what you should or should not be eating. I do think it is important to understand your body and how it functions. This may include taking a look at all aspects of your body and life, not just your GI tract. For example, as someone who suffers from migraines I know that ignoring those hunger pains will likely have a negative effect on my head. So, I have to weigh the pros and cons of how to manage it based on what type of day I am having, where I am, and what I know I can deal with.

I will be honest and say that oftentimes, I ignore my body screaming at me to nourish myself because I do feel better with minimal food in me.

I hate having to empty my ostomy appliance thousands of times. I hate what the output is like when I eat a lot of solid food. It makes me angry and upset I even have to deal with it. So, I do whatever I can to control the way things are. Obviously, most things are out of my control but I try to grab some things as I recognize it.

I have lived with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for almost 17 years and am still learning new things constantly. I also find it amazing how much my body changes with food.

Can anyone else relate to these struggles? Have you found ways to better manage your nutrition and hunger? Please comment below!

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