It’s IBS Awareness Month, and while I know you guys love it when I talk about my arse, let’s get a little more serious. Living with IBS can be incredibly difficult, and I want to be 100% real with you here.
While I now make light of my IBS because I feel confident and in charge of my body, a few years back, it was a constant struggle for me to live with. Living with IBS can be incredibly challenging, affecting many aspects of your life, from what you eat to how you socialise. It can be embarrassing, frustrating, and isolating. I’ve canceled plans last minute, missed out on important milestone events and I have let people down. I felt incredibly alone and embarrassed to the point where I became suicidal about it.
And yes, to answer that dreaded question – I have sh*t myself in public and it was horrific. It was at work and luckily, I had spare clothes on me at the time (Thanks to Paloma Faith as I was at her concert the day before) so I was lucky enough to get away with it. That was my first experience with IBS what followed was a load of diets, food intolerance tests which helped as I found out I had a yeast intolerance. A double-whammy when you have IBS, yeast intolerance makes it incredibly hard to enjoy the good stuff in life which is cake, bread, wine, and pretty much BLOODY EVERYTHING!
This had a significant effect on my image and still effects me now, as my stomach would balloon, making me look heavily pregnant, and my face would swell up, making me look incredibly unhealthy. Let’s not forget hair loss, bad skin, rashes, joint pain, and more. Lord, give me a break! It got my down a lot, I thought there was no way out of this.
(IBS FLARE UP – AFTER NO FLARE UP)
So how the hell did we get here, bab? Well, I started speaking up! I just couldn’t keep coming up with bloody ‘sick’ excuses anymore. I was tired of hiding it, and once I admitted to having IBS, I realised that actually, a lot of people have it! It was amazing to hear so many people suffering from this condition – family, close friends, and even celebrities like Cher! obviously, its not nice to hear people suffering from ibs but I was just amazed at how many people have it. I found that the more I was open about it, the less stressed I was about it. My anxiety wasn’t at 100% anymore, and I felt better in myself, making fewer trips to the toilet and doctor’s office. I do believe that anxiety plays a massive part in IBS, and once you get control of that, I guarantee you’ll feel much better.
Hours spent on the toilet, a bloated stomach, and bags full of spare knickers— that’s IBS for you. It’s every bloody week, and it can hit you like a ton of bricks. One minute, you’re feeling okay, and the next, your mood hits rock-bottom. Whoever has IBS deserves a bloody medal, and having this health issue has made me realise how strong I really am. I let IBS stop me from living my life, I let it convince me that there was no way out but trust me babs, there are many ways to tackle IBS.
- ALWAYS BE PREPARED – Carry spare underwear, plan your days out (know where the nearest toilets are) and take any mediciation like Imodium with you – I travelled acrosss America in a COACH! it was the scariest thing ever but I took medication and I listened to music that helped made me feel relaxed (Plenty of playlists on Spotify for nervy travellers!)
- Never hide it – When you hide something it makes you more tense, more on edge and I felt this made it soo much worse for me. Be open, obviously you dont need to shout out “IM GOING TO SHIT MYSELF” like I do all the time but just let your friends be aware if your not feeling too good and maybe have a conversation about it. I remember I mentioned it the first time to some of my blogging friends and it turned out, we all have IBS!
- RELAX! The amount of times when I have had IBS flare ups and My Mom is there saying “just relax” and I have ended up nearly blowing her away with my arse, it dont work like that BUT there are a few techniques you can do to help calm you down. I realised that if I rock slowly back and forth and open a window that it helps to calm my anxiety down when I feel like I need to go. Many people have mentioned counting, singing, lying down and taking slow big breaths help.
- AVOID what makes you ill – For me its coffee, and I love a good coffee now and again but I make sure I have it when I got nothing else to do because within 10 minutes I am on that toilet faster than bloody Road Runner.
If you are feeling down about your IBS, understand that you are not alone. It is actually more common than you might think. Worldwide, it is estimated that 30% of people experience symptoms of IBS, and only 15% have been diagnosed. This percentage is increasing every year. The more we talk about IBS, the less taboo the topic becomes. By having open conversations about this condition and listening to people’s needs, we can help IBS sufferers reduce their stress levels and make living with IBS easier. Talking about it and even having some fun with it can make you feel so much better. Now, I am at a point where I accept my body and can make light of IBS. After all, let’s be honest, poop is pretty hilarious, and everyone does it.
Let’s keep the conversation going and support each other. Together, we can raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding IBS. This is a safe space for you to talk about your IBS and my email/DMS are always open, no shame, plus I just admitted to the whole of Birmingham that I have shitted myself! So, Woo!