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Articles > Jenny McCarthy's IBS strategy: "I live as purely as possible"

Jenny McCarthy's IBS strategy: "I live as purely as possible"

Jenny McCarthy sure isn_t shy. Yet she_s kept one of her health challenges on the down low. It_s irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that has nearly spoiled a few of her red-carpet moments. Today, she opens up about the strategies that keep her IBS in check_and her confidence sky-high.

Provided by HealthMonitor

The 39-year-old Chicago native first burst onto the scene 18 years ago as Playboy's Playmate of the Year. Since then, Jenny's branched out into films and TV shows (as host of NBC's Love in the Wild reality series) and has written eight books, beginning with her 1997 memoir Jen-X: Jenny McCarthy's Open Book. After her 10-year-old son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism at age 2, Jenny became an outspoken advocate.
Until now, she's been a little less vocal about the condition plaguing her'irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Affecting the colon, it causes everything from pain, cramps and gas to diarrhea and constipation. In a 2006 interview with Arena magazine, she talks about the time she had "really bad diarrhea at a Playboy autograph signing. I was squeezed into a tight red dress, dripping in sweat and knew something was not right." And in her autobiography, Jen-X, she admitted that she's such a nervous wreck living in Hollywood that she has chronic diarrhea. That's no fairy tale. Indeed, stress and anxiety can make the nerves of your gut more sensitive, causing the intestines to contract more, says the National Institutes of Health. Says Jenny, "I get bloated and experience a lot of gas and diarrhea that sometimes is uncontrollable.'
Luckily, she has since learned how to relieve her symptoms, and she shared her strategies with us.

Find your triggers. Certain foods and drinks (say, caffeine) can stimulate your intestines and aggravate your digestive tract, causing diarrhea (see box). For Jenny, it's gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye: "I found that foods that contain gluten make me feel more bloated." In addition, says Jenny, she's eliminated dairy and sugar from her diet: "I found out I have many of the same food allergies as my son, Evan, but I've found good substitutions, like using almond flour for quiches and pies.'

Come up with your typical day. After ruling out your trigger foods, make a list of the "safe" foods you love'pick from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and as many unprocessed foods as possible. Jenny's go-to eats include spinach, tofu, lentils and nuts. Then come up with a few menus you can enjoy day in, day out, without getting bored. Says Jenny: "A typical day for me now includes eating an egg white omelet for breakfast with some fresh fruit, maybe fish for lunch and dinner, and nuts for snacking.
'I think food is the key to so many health problems, and I try to eat as organically as possible." Not only has the strategy helped subdue her IBS symptoms, it has also helped the star'who tipped the scales at 211 pounds at the end of her pregnancy'get back to her fighting weight.

Consider supplements. If you're scaling back on certain trigger foods, you need to make sure you're receiving proper nourishment. Jenny supplements with a multivitamin, cod liver oil for omega-3s and a probiotic. Says Jenny, "I also take enzymes with every meal, which help break down food'and that's essential for my digestive problems." Ask your doctor or nutritionist what vitamins you may need to take.

Get enough exercise. Besides weekly
Bikram yoga sessions, Jenny says, "I run on the treadmill for about 30 to 45 minutes twice a week'it's really more for my health than to fit into skinny jeans." Physical activity, even a slight increase, improves symptoms in patients with IBS, according to a study in the Journal of Gastroenterology. "If it takes as little as
30 minutes a day to ensure that I'll enjoy a good life, it's worth it,"
says Jenny.
Allergy Autism Anxiety Diarrhea Anxiety Bloating Constipation Diarrhea Excessive Sweating Frequent Bowel Movements Gas Loose Bowel Movements Loose Stool Muscle Cramps Pain Stool, Loose Stress Watery Stool Egg White Irritable Bowel Syndrome Lose Weight Exercise More Upset Stomach

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