…just recently, at the age of 26. Although it is something I have suffered with for many years, it had gone undiagnosed, which is fairly bizarre as it is actually becoming more common, so you would expect it to be easily recognized. I was initially told that I was probably intolerant to something and to keep a food diary, but there has never been one main trigger for me and keeping a food diary only highlighted that further.
…mainly severe bloating and stomach pain and I experience a lot of discomfort from the minute I eat or drink anything. I suffer from bloating daily but some days are worse than others, and on a bad day I really struggle with sharp stomach pain, cramping, and embarrassing gassiness. They say on the main symptoms that you can suffer with are diarrhea or constipation, for me during flare ups I am not able to go to the toilet, which only enhances the bloating further and as a result becomes extremely uncomfortable and often lasts for days at a time.
…I have had to adapt my style and wear much looser clothing – I am forever in swing dresses as they hide my tummy and make me feel less compact, as over the course of the day it worsens and I basically look pregnant 80% of the time! Being out in public when suffering with the gas side of things is obviously highly embarrassing, so I am always on the look out for toilet stops! It has become so much more common, but as a girl it is hard to talk about it as it is sensitive and very embarrassing and it’s not something you want people to know or think of about you! So although we are all more aware of it, I feel like it isn’t actually talked about that much.
…not really having a main trigger. Everything and anything sets it off for me. I am also a natural worrier and stress can be key factor in flare ups, so I find that difficult as I do see and experience the flare ups when I am more stressed, which only makes me more stressed… it’s a vicious cycle! I have been Googling non stop to find something that can help decrease the daily symptoms, but I have found that so many websites conflict and it can vary from person to person, so finding what works for me is going to take time! It will all be trial and error! However, I have cut down on fizzy drinks – I used to drink a Red Bull and a Diet Coke pretty much every day and cutting down on those has certainly helped. Diet Coke in particular seemed to have caused a bloating flare up and by not drinking it I have already seen a change – it’s only small at this stage, but better, which is always a good thing.
…I think we can all help so much more by being more open and sharing what works individually to increase the support for those also living with IBS, give others ideas about what try and test, and make people less embarrassed to talk about it.
…having a nice hot bath with bubbles and candles to de-stress at the end of the day, wearing my cosy (and baggy) PJs! This is the time of the day I feel the least bloated and can actually shut off from worrying about it!
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