What is IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
*Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort and altered bowel habit ( chronic or recurrent diarrhoea, constipation, or both – either mixed or in alternation)*
IBS though not life-threatening is still a debilitating illness that can affect everything you do, I was diagnosed with IBS at 19.IBS is one of those illness's that can be a symptom of so many others, mine was definitely worse when I was on my periods Click To Tweet
IBS, where do I start, IBS is one of those illnesses that can be a symptom of so many others therefore in recognition of IBS Awareness Month and as part of Sheryl’s April Link Up here is my experience.
Mine was definitely worse when I was on my periods and I later was to find out its a symptom of endometriosis – I wrote about this on the March Link Up.
At the time I was working for a trawler company and had the benefit of health insurance so took the opportunity to have bowel problems investigated, I saw a Consultant and then had a barium enema (not pleasant) and was diagnosed with IBS.
This is when the fat-shaming started, yes I was overweight, you can read more about this here but I was referred to a dietician and prescribed Colpermin capsules.
I don’t ever remember anyone sitting me down at the time and telling me IBS was caused by anything than me being overweight and what followed was an appointment with a dietician who immediately put me on a 800 calorie diet and advised me to sprinkle raw bran on every meal.
Have you tasted raw bran? it is absolutely disgusting but she wanted me to even sprinkle it on salads urgh!
Just prior to my first weigh-in, because this is now what it was about me losing weight it was never about my health, I can see that now. But I had persistent diarrhoea which in turn increased the spasms in my stomach, therefore it was no surprise to me that I had lost 8lb in a week.
Do you know what I got a star and a big pat on the back for losing weight, no mention was ever made of how ill this so-called diet was making me, so off I went with my pat on the back and my little card with a star on to continue with her diet.
By now I was having accidents and for a 19-year-old just starting out her working life I was embarrassed and the weight was falling off me I was beginning to look really drawn and gaunt, I can’t remember when I stopped going to see her but I do remember it was because I refused to put bran on my food anymore.
The consultant signed me off because I had left the dietician and therefore didn’t need to see me again if I had any further problems I had to go to my GP. This was obviously because I wouldn’t accept that my IBS was caused by my weight.
The years that followed consisted of numerous A&E hospital visits when the pain got too much, I can’t even describe the pain of IBS when everything inside feels like it is twisting, generally, after some strong pain relief, I would go home and wait for the next time.
I have lost count of how many events and days out I have got through with the use of Imodium and Buscopan and the changes of clothes I have gone through.
But like many invisible illnesses that there is no cure for you just have to learn to manage it whatever way you can, I know many of my triggers now but the worst one is the one I can’t control and it used to see me taking weeks off sick from work and that’s stress.
How ironic is it that it is also a symptom of MS but with me only in as much as if my heart rate increases too rapidly or my blood pressure drops the first sign is sickness and or diarrhoea.
It can also go the other way through my nerves not working properly and being unable to have a regular movement so I get constipation too.
I seem to say this a lot with any of my illnesses but please don’t be fobbed off like I have been over the years and led to believe everything was in some way or other down to my weight.This is a get-out clause so they don't have to look any deeper, I must admit now everything is just down to my MS so I suppose that's one up on my weight. Click To Tweet
This is a get-out clause so they don’t have to look any deeper, I must admit now everything is just down to my MS so I suppose that’s one up on my weight.
I asked my GP a couple of months ago after another impromptu A&E visit for nearly passing out why no one could tell me what was causing it and when I asked my neurologist he just shrugged his shoulders and changed the subject. My GP response was, he doesn’t know the answer so that’s why and rather than admitting it was easier for him to change the subject.,
- How common is IBS? IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. It affects males and females, adults and children.
- How serious is IBS? The impact of IBS varies with each person. For some people,
- IBS causes symptoms that are manageable, for others, IBS may severely reduce their quality of life or be disabling.
- What are the symptoms of IBS? Abdominal pain is a key symptom of IBS when it is associated with changes in bowel habits, such as, periods of diarrhoea and/or constipation.
- Should I document my symptoms? Keeping a diary for one to two weeks may help identify factors that bring on symptoms or make your condition worse.
- What are some common foods/drinks that affect IBS symptoms? Four common food/drink offenders are caffeine, chocolate, fibre, and nuts. Speak with your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your symptoms.
I hope this post has provided you with some helpful information, please feel free to comment and share to your social media channels by clicking below.