Living with IBS.
Dear readers, yesterday I was in a lot of pain. This pain is something I am familiar with. It’s called IBS. And living with IBS is not fun.
Today I will tell you my experience with IBS. My remedies. What I do against the pain. If eating certain foods help me or not. And most of all, why it is such a taboo?
What is IBS?
IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s most common bowel-disease on earth. 20% of the world population suffers from this syndrome and 75% is female.
Describing IBS is quite difficult. Since there is no real explanation for it. IBS feels different on everyone but there are some things that are very common.
- Intense pain in the intestines.
- A painful stomach.
- Pain due to gas.
- Obstipation or Diarrhea. (Or both).
- Pain in the muscles.
- Lack of energy.
- Not being able to eat certain foods (but most people don’t know what triggers IBS). There is not really a list of “foods not to eat”. Some people believe in the FODMAP diet.
- It limits your social life a lot.
To say it in one line : IBS is a syndrome that sometimes gives you diarrhea , and sometimes obstipation. Most of the time you don’t have energy and you are scared to eat certain foods because you don’t know what is going to make you feel sick in the end. Most of the time the pain can also be noticed in the stomach, back, and even lungs.
My experience with IBS.
I suffer from IBS for 5 years now. I don’t really know what it actually started. Even scientist find it hard to investigate where IBS comes from. All I know is that it started with a lot of intense pain in my stomach and bowel area.
There have been days I couldn’t even wear my favorite jeans because the zipper wouldn’t come up. People have been asking me if I was pregnant. So many times after going out for dinner I got home crying on the sofa or bed with a hot water bottle because the pain wouldn’t stop…
It’s different than the feeling of just eating a little to much. It feels like there is some kind of balloon in side of you and it’s growing and growing. Breathing felt hard for me (in the worst cases) and sometimes I even felt sick and had to throw up. For almost a year it really ruined my life.
I can write so many things about my IBS. All I have to say is that it just really sucks. I tried so many things.
- No gluten.
- No sugar.
- No raw foods.
- No nicotine ( tobacco ).
- No alcohol.
- No fruits.
- No carbs.
- No protein.
- No Meat.
- A vegetarian diet.
- A Vegan diet.
But nothing seemed to work. Also, IBS is triggered a lot by stress most of the time. But sometimes I really feel like food also plays a huge role in triggering my body.
pAIN AND WHAT TO DO?
When the pain is to hard to handle. I just have one classic remedy that kind of helps. I just get a hot water bottle, lay down in bed, watch a movie and try to get my mind distracted. Some people prefer walking but most of the time walking or jogging hurts to much.
Also taking a bath (if you have one) or just sleeping is fine. Also make sure your clothes are not to tight because the feeling of being swallowed by pain will get worse.
I never really took medication or pain killers for my IBS. All I drink is tea. I prefer mint tea, or chamomile. Or something that makes you feel sleepy.
Food. The friend and the enemy for an IBS sufferer. I have tried many diets. Nothing worked. I don’t know what kind of foods trigger my IBS, and I noticed when I am on a diet IBS only get’s worse.
Just try to eat healthy, (even if you do not suffer from IBS). What also kind of helped me is to find a natural eating rhythm. For example, some people eat when they are allowed to eat. Like in school. You have specific breaks and in these breaks you have to eat because otherwise you can’t because of rules.
What really worked for me is to eat when I feel hungry. So don’t be fooled by rules. Follow your own clock. Everybody is different.
Ok, this is going to be kind of a rant. But living with IBS is hard. And I’m gonna tell you why.
People don’t want to talk or hear about issues with sex, poop, vaginas, penises, herpes, infections, etc. It’s uncomfortable. A taboo. Things you should be ashamed of. You don’t talk about going to the toilet as a lady. Because … you are supposed to be fancy and all that sh*t.
I tried many times to explain to other people how it feels for me. The stress of always being able to visit the bathroom, the idea of not being able eat something, the stress of going on vacation and hoping for the best. But most of the time, people don’t understand.
I remember being at the central station after a dinner with friends, I was about to go home and suddenly I felt everything around me spinning, feeling dizzy, my intestines started to move and I just felt like passing out. In Holland you have to pay for a public toilet. Which is ok, if they are clean. But at that moment I did not have any cash money with me. Since I only pay with my card.
So I was stuck at a train station, with the feeling of passing out, and I begged the man of the toiled to give me, for once, a free entrance. But he did not let me enter. I explained to him what I felt. He did not give me permission.
So I got mad, and tried another place where they (and I still thank these people) believed and respected me and gave me the space.
So, this was kind of my story. I wanted to spread some awareness. Nothing is what it seems like. You can’t tell if someone has a disease or a bowel syndrome. You cannot tell if someone is feeling happy by their face. It’s about getting in touch with people and paying attention to what matters.
I wish everyone the best.