About 7 or 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with IBS. If you don’t know what it is, it stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and it’s a functional gastrointestinal disorder that’s estimated to affect 10% to 15% of the world population.
In most cases, as far as I know, a simple change in diet allows one to keep the symptoms mostly at bay and have a normal life. For some unlucky few, it will fuck up their life in ways they can’t imagine. And I don’t mean quitting coffee like I had to do (I had an gigantic headache during the first two weeks after quitting) or develop a lactose intolerance (like I also did) that forced me to exclude even more food from my diet. I mean things like wanting to go out with your girlfriend and/or friends but choosing to stay at home because your bowl feels a little strange and that’s always a sign that acute pain or some other symptom is just around the corner. Or feeling outright tired for no reason other than being in pain.
The negative effect is not just in your social life. Your work will be affected and no employer wants to deal with that. If you’re unlucky and have severe and frequent symptoms, you’ll probably not be able to keep a job for too long, even if you work harder than anyone else.
But you know what’s the worst part? Those closest to you patronizing or antagonizing your pain. I’ve lost count of the times someone told me to take a pill when I’m in acute pain (most of the times, only strong painkillers work and sadly not that much) or to go to the bathroom. I wish it was that easy…
This causes stress. A lot of stress. And stress in one trigger for IBS. So, sometimes, the people closest to you make you and your life worst. If you happen to have someone like this in your life, cut him/her off. Your bowel and overall health will thank you.
It doesn’t help that most doctors either don’t know a thing about IBS or only know outdated and usually incorrect information. I’m including here so-called gastroenterologists . I’ve met a few that know way less than I do about this.
If all of this seems exacerbated to you, let me tell you: I’m with a sick leave, tried a ‘but load’ of different medications, fasting for two days so I could give my lower intestine some rest, did several exams (that, like always, show nothing wrong, a normal thing with IBS), and it’s 06:41am (at the time of writing) and I’m awake again, with pain, trying to write this for the last three or four hours in an attempt to distract me a bit from the cramps.
Yay for the shitshow that is IBS.