Living with IBS.
Living with IBS.
So some of you may be reading this thinking what on earth is IBS!? So IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is a common syndrome that affects the large intestine. Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of IBS a few others can be bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. IBS has no cure and is usually a life long problem. Also the NHS do not yet know what exactly causes IBS.
When I was diagnosed
I was around 7 years old when I was diagnosed with IBS. My mum decided to take me to the doctors as I wasn't putting much weight on, I just wasn't getting any bigger. After tests for things such as chrohns disease, celiacs and all coming back negative and around a year later the doctors were left with no other reason but me having a severe case of IBS. When we found out it was IBS it definitely wasn't smooth sailing from there. I was hospitalised with it at one point, I just remember being extremely ill to the point I wasn't able to hold my medicine down.
Doctors told my mum to keep me on a high fibre diet thinking this would help with my symptoms. However back then FOD map diets etc wasn't really recognised and the high fibre diet was the opposite to what I needed, again I was extremely ill and then found that anything high in fibre would trigger my symptoms.
How to handle IBS
How to handle IBS is a very difficult one to answer. With me it can be very hard. My anxiety now that I'm much older I know definitely triggers my symptoms, this then stresses me out which is a vicious circle as you can imagine!
When I was younger my mum handled it with advice from doctors to take Lactulose 4 spoons, 4 times a day. This was hell for me, I remember when I was younger how thick and gloopy it was. My mum used to bribe me with sweets just so I would take it. She would also keep an eye on my diet and look out for trigger foods. She would keep on top of this by keeping a food diary daily.
Back to now I really have to keep an eye on my diet. If I find I fall in to a habit of eating really bad my stomach will suffer because of that. I mean with trigger foods now I can eat a certain food type one day and be fine, the next week I could eat it and suddenly be extremely bloated looking 6 months pregnant. Anxiety and stress are my main triggers which is very hard to control. I find getting my self into a positive routine helps a lot such as making sure I regularly exercise, take time out of the week for some time to myself and having a night time routine. As well as this I always keep in my handbag or travel bag a packet of Buscopan which is an absolute life saver for those IBS cramps.
IBS being isolating and embarrassing.
Growing up with IBS wasn't the best for me, I missed a lot of school when in primary and also around year 8/9 in secondary school I was off a lot with my stomach. When growing up telling people you have Irritable Bowel syndrome is not always the most comfortable conversation to have. However also through the years living with IBS I've realised how many people actually suffer with IBS. Some peoples symptoms aren't as severe some a lot more severe than my own.
I feel like IBS is a lot more common within people now or it is a lot more understood, so I hear a lot more about it and new ways to cope with it. There is nothing to be embarrassed about living with IBS. 25 million- 45 million people are affected by IBS in the USA, about 2 in 3 of these sufferers are female.
When The International Foundation of Gastrointestinal Disorders were creating a report on IBS they created a survey asking sufferers of IBS all different questions related to their syndrome. One of the findings came back that 40% of these people felt that they are losing a great deal or quite a bit of control over their lives due to their IBS.
I hope this has helped some of you! Any questions please leave in the comments below or messaged me on my Instagram: @adventureswithgail.