The Mayo Clinic explains Irritable Bowel Syndrome as:
“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both.” They go into more detail on their webpage here– so read on up! Or if you’re totally disgusted by conversations like this, then go ahead and choose a different blog post!
Some people have varying symptoms, and this is NOT to be confused with Crohns Disease or Celiac Disease. Though all having to do with the intestines or “stomach” pain type reaction – they are not the same/interchangeable and there are a lot of tests/diagnosis that occur for any one of these issues.
Admittedly – there are MUCH worse things/conditions that I could have and people who have far more to deal with on a daily basis than I do – and for that I am grateful – however I think somehow people are embarrassed or it’s considered “taboo” to talk about what’s going on in our bodies, and that dialogue should change. I want people to know that it’s OK to talk about what is ailing them (if they are comfortable) and not have people judge them or feel ashamed of something that really isn’t within their control.
I have IBS and I was diagnosed with it “officially” in 2011. It’s been a solid decade now and let me tell you – it is not fun. It’s SUPER annoying also, that while I have “IBS” – it’s “unspecified” sooooo it’s more or less a guessing game. I have undergone upper and lower scopes (thankfully I was put to sleep for those since they happened in the same session), and been to allergy specialists for loads of testing – but the doctors have not found a firm answer for what is causing my issues. One thing that they THINK might have been an amplifying factor for my condition, was the contraction of Helicobacter Pylori (aka H. Pylori) – which I was found to have, not treated well enough for and remained in my body for the better part of 6 years before it was finally eradicated.
I joke about it with my friends and family, but it truly is something that effects me every day.
I can tell you that at 34 years old, it’s really annoying, embarrassing and downright humiliating to crap your pants at least a couple times per year. I said it – yes, that happens and it is SO awful/disgusting to go through, so I don’t wish that on anyone! It’s not fun to deal with bloating that is so intense that my stomach looks like I’m literally carrying twins (or more). It’s annoying to have to get up hours before I need to leave my house in an attempt to get everything out of my system before I have to be in public, because mornings are the worst for me. It’s so horrifying to be so sick to my stomach that I can barely get off the toilet, causing me to have to use a “sick day” at work, or not attend events. It’s pretty darn frightening when you’re having bloody bowel movements and you’re not sure if “it’s the usual” or if there’s something more to be worried about.
It seriously feels like a never ending cycle of “what food can I eat today” because at any given time/meal I am going to find a new and interesting things that my body hates. It’s been almost a decade since I was diagnosed with this and of course I have a better idea now of what works for me and what doesn’t – but even still, every person can develop intolerance to things over time, such as last month when I realized that I am no longer tolerant to shrimp. It’s also massively boring to eat the same bland things every. single. day. Let’s be real. I can only do that so often, and if I am on vacation or some other special event, I will likely just eat and drink whatever it is and pay the “consequence” later – by way of being very gastro-unhappy. It’s a balancing act line of wanting to “live my life” and also not wanting to make my condition worse. I take various medications – but it always seems like they are meant to help one thing, but ultimately seem to make some other part of it worse.
In conclusion, to my friends and family – thanks for listening to me complain and helping build me up even when I feel like a disgusting mess. Cheers to those who also deal with IBS – which is such a bitch of an issue and a sometimes a ghost of a thing to pin down! I feel for you!