I have IBS, which stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
I wanted to blog about this now as in a way it links to my post My Silent Grieving.
My IBS symptoms started almost immediately after my miscarriage. I have always felt that the stress of the miscarriage and the fact that I internalised my feelings caused the onset of IBS symptoms. Of course a GP would probably tell me that IBS is more likely to be caused through diet, but I had always had a good and balanced diet.
Initially I was constipated, felt very bloated and just generally uncomfortable in the tummy area. I almost felt that my tummy could be popped if someone stuck a pin in me.
I did visit the GP and was diagnosed with IBS, he gave me a leaflet to read. That has been the extent of my medical assistance and advice.
Most of what I know about IBS I have read on the internet or in books. Over the years I’ve had periods of feeling very uncomfortable and with more severe symptoms, but also times of really having no symptoms at all, bizarrely I have never had many symptoms while pregnant with my three children.
For me it always get worse when I am feeling stressed out, and I’m sure certain foods affect me, although I’ve never had the patience to work out which ones affect me more or to cut certain foods from my diet altogether.
Then, there are the things that help. I used to swear by peppermint tea for years, it helped the colicky feeling in my tummy, but it hasn’t worked so well in recent years. The over the counter medicines don’t work at all. I’ve tried a few different types of laxatives for times of severe constipation, but they tend to give me extremely bad stomach cramps, so its a case of choosing the lesser evil. Generally a few cups of coffee of a morning has the same effect without the same pain, and my darling husband is a star at rubbing my tummy to relieve any trapped wind.
Then there’s the bloated tummy issue – on a bad day I look pregnant. Ok, so at the moment I’m still carrying baby weight, but believe me even when I was size 6 I still looked like I had a pregnant belly. In fact I think my IBS also caused me to have issues with my weight. I always thought I was fat, even when I clearly wasn’t. In my twenties I was generally a size 8-10, but quite often had to partially unzip my work skirts, and never felt comfortable in tight jeans.
It gets me down sometimes. When bloated I also feel very lethargic, and its difficult to get motivated. If I’m not suffering constipation I’m having an occasional bout of diarrhoea, and really, when I have to go I have to go. This was always an embarrassing issue at work.
I could do with a spell of stress free time, but I don’t think its likely in our family for a while yet.