Everyone has heard of it, but the large majority of people don’t know much about. It can be a short or long term condition and it effects everybody differently: some people will have the occasional flare up during times of stress and other have regular flare ups that can be triggered by anything!
Symptoms of a flare up can range from pretty mild stomach aches to and not limited to; severe cramping, bloating, wind and very urgent and sudden need to use the toilet, sickness and nausea. It's not always food that can cause a flare up, it could be been a stressful environment, but diet is often the biggest trigger.
Even a very small amount of trigger foods can cause a very big flare up. It's not just the physical symptoms that are distressing - if I have a flare up it can impact on socialising as I have to leave immediately. It’s also the psychological aspect of it. Such as, anxiety to go out for a meal in case any of the above symptoms occur or someone gets an order wrong.
Normally I would be ill and would not feel better until the next day but I have had flare ups so bad that I have had to be admitted to hospital. It is also impossible to tell what level of flare up I might get, so I can’t control or plan around them. If one starts I’m heading home.
I’ve been out with friends and had to curl over in pain, run out on dates to get home so I can poop in peace and I nearly shat myself on a bus once.
It can be horrible and disgusting, generally not fun at all! I've been under the hospital for 5 years (ish) and had dietitians and specialists help me understand my digestion. I've had endoscopys, scans and many things up my bum. WILD.
I control it with vitamins, probiotics, painkillers, antidepressants to control the spasms, laxatives and buscopan are what get me through everyday. I basically rattle when I move, “Billie the Maraca” some say.
Diet is my biggest saviour, last year I went on a diet to find out my trigger food and it was gruelling. I think that’s a whole other post!
If you think you might have IBS or have sudden changes in your bowel movements and it goes on for more than a couple of weeks; you should pay a visit to your GP. They will be able to talk through your lifestyle and offer advice on how you can improve your digestive health.
You can also find more information here: https://www.theibsnetwork.org/