Dealing With IBS
I have ummed and ahhed about writing this post for a while, but I figure that IBS is such a big part of my life, especially over the last few years, that it makes sense to talk about it here, on what is pretty much the internet log of my life.
'Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation.'
I know what you're thinking, digestive issues? Ewww, gross. Yeah, it can be. But mostly it's just uncomfortable, annoying and seriously disheartening.
Stomach cramps, pains and bloating are the main things that I suffer from with regards to IBS and are also something that, unfortunately, I have had to get used to dealing with on an almost daily basis. I have tried exclusionary diets (cutting out gluten, fatty foods etc.), prescription tablets, herbal teas... I have had test after test at my local GP surgery. You name it, I've probably given it a go. But whilst some things might lessen my symptoms slightly, nothing has ever made me feel like I have a 'normal' stomach.
I definitely notice that my stomach gets worse when I'm stressed, so exam periods are pretty horrendous (especially as pain really inhibits your motivation to get anything done other than curling up in a ball on the sofa). But what really gets me down is that I can be feeling on top of the World, and then sudden, unanticipated pains/cramps/bloating (seriously, I'm not sharing pictures but sometimes I look slightly pregnant) make it all come crashing down.
If you suffer from similar symptoms, this might help: I have found that peppermint tea (which tastes so much better than it looks or smells, trust me) calms my stomach if it's feeling particularly tender and is much better when I'm feeling nauseous than pink lemonade flavoured Lucozade, which is great to boost my energy when my IBS has left me feeling a little drained.
Another tip? Those beanbag, heat up in the microwave things are a God send. I know that this is not at all what they are meant for but they are my absolute favourite form of relief from the discomfort of IBS because, not only do they numb the pain in my stomach, they make me feel all warm and cosy and comforted.
IBS is relatively common but it is still not talked about enough, even though I feel that it can have a serious effect on people's lives. I can't tell you the amount of times that I have cried in the car, outside of restaurants (or awkwardly in their bathrooms), because I'm trying to enjoy a romantic date with Luke, or a family meal out and my stomach won't let me.
So, the gist of it is that IBS sucks. It's crappy and painful and gets me down a lot. But I'm dealing with it and, thankfully, I have some really great family and friends who will help to deal with it with me.
So, there you go, an unusually personal post from me! I hope it was informative/helpful to at least one of you.