I’ve spoken about my mental health on here a lot over the years, but something I’ve never spoken about in detail is my physical health. Overall, I would say I’m in quite good health – I eat a balanced diet, enjoy the odd drink, go to the gym a few times a week – but something that I’ve had a problem with for as long as I can remember is IBS.
Incase you weren’t aware, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) affects the large intestine and can cause abdominal pain, bloating and cramps (and a few other symptoms that I won’t go into). IBS sufferers are primarily women aged 20 and over, and it is generally believed that up to 15% of the world’s population suffer from the illness.
I’ve been suffering from IBS since I was about 14: During that time, I’ve had good spurts which have been totally controlled by medication, but on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also I’ve been hospitalised because of it.
The reason I chose to write this post is because recently, I’ve been in a bad period of it. For some, IBS is triggered by what they eat, but for me that’s never really been the case. When I was at school, it was mainly caused by a lack of sleep and not really being in a proper routine; at university, I would say it was more caused by stress, drinking too much and my lifestyle but recently, I can’t seem to put my finger on what is causing it.
The main symptom I suffer with is painful bloating: It’s a really strange one – I can eat a whole meal and feel absolutely fine, but I can sometimes eat a piece of fruit, a bowl of cereal or even just a piece of toast and be so bloated that it physically hurts for me to move.
I’ve eliminated different things out of my diet (chocolate, dairy, alcohol etc.) tried medication prescribed by the doctor and increased my water intake, but nothing seems to help. At the moment, I am trying to eat a balanced diet, take regular breaks at work where I get up and walk about, and not slouch on the sofa after a meal; so here’s hoping that something improves it soon.
In my last job, my manager suffered from IBS for years with similar problems to me, and he said the only thing that helped was having reflexology. I’ve never really thought about it too much, but it does make sense as everything in your body is linked.
I guess the point on this post is to raise awareness for something that a lot of people suffer from and to encourage you to get professional help if you feel as though something isn’t right. It can be a long process trying to figure out what is causing it, and you might never get to the bottom of it, but it is so important to listen to your body.
If anyone has any advice or is in a similar position, please get in touch with what is working for you.