Alternating constipation and diarrhoea

IBS-A alternating constipation and diarrhoea

It can seem like there is NO rhyme or reason behind alternating constipation and diarrhoea (IBS-A).

It’s like a switch that goes from one state – to the other. From the outside, there is no real explanation.

On the inside there is one. It is unique to each and every one of us, but here are some pointers to consider:

Survival strategies behind alternating constipation and diarrhoea

You have no doubt consulted your doctor and been given laxatives. And you have probably tried to change your diet.

However it may all have started many years back. When you had an experience that set off your primary survival rection of fight, flight or freeze.

As an adult you are in a MUCH better situation to be able to physically and verbally deal with the situations you encounter in everyday life.

Diarrhoea tends to relate to flight. Energetically running away from a physical situation you could not remove yourself from as a child – where you could not physically outrun or escape from it. Although you stayed, the energy pattern in your body wanted to run.

If a pattern like that is repeated or severe enough, it becomes a learned conditioned response.

This is not new. Pavlov demonstrated the principle of conditioning in his famous experiment with dogs back in 1890, and received the Nobel Prize for his work.

I have worked with long-term anxious diarrhoea sufferers who have sadly been subjected to abuse in their childhood. And others who had a really challenging time at school. And they were thrilled to release this long-term pattern.

Constipation is more related to the freeze response. Contracting your muscles to appear smaller so as to not be seen, and avoid being on the receiving end of verbal, physical or emotional abuse.

But it can also be part of the fight response where the body shuts down digestion and periphery needs in order to concentrate all energy on winning the fight.

Other patterns of IBS-A to consider

There are patterns I have noticed around constipation and diarrhoea.

Constipation is often about keeping in: keeping in emotions, needs, wants, desires, dreams – and going along with what other people tell you is important.

To what extent are you living YOUR life and getting what you want? If you don’t know what you really want, this is a telltale sign that you have been ignoring yourself for a very long time.

Diarrhoea tends to be more of an anxious response of pushing away.

When may this have started as a pattern? And what sets it off for you now? Instead of just battling with the diarrhoea, see if you can notice when it tends to happen.

For some people who experience alternating constipation and diarrhoea, constipation will be the norm – then they will suddenly have a bout of diarrhoea. This could be, for example, a lovely person who puts others first a great deal and holds in their needs – until their body pushes all that out as diarrhoea in an attempt to keep the body balanced.

For other IBS-D and IBS-A sufferers, the diarrhoea wakes them up, or happens just after waking.

If that is the case, how did you sleep? Sleep problems can be related to digestive problems, but they can also be caused by feeling anxious. Do you tend to toss and turn at night, or have bad dreams? The answers lie in your unique story.

The good news is that you can potentially release ANY of these patterns.