Almost one in five of us suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but being diagnosed can often raise as many questions as it answers, particularly when it comes to treatment.

The main treatment for IBS is self-care. But when you’re newly diagnosed this can seem very intimidating. To mark self-care week, we’ll be looking at a different step of the IBS journey each day this week, from diagnosis through to learning to love food again.

Self-Care Week is all about empowering you to manage your own illness successfully, and that’s why the people you’ll hear from this week will all be IBS patients sharing their story.

First up we have Lena, a university student and writer behind the Lena’s Happy Tummy blog — take a look for some brilliant tummy friendly recipes.

A big thank you to Lena and all our contributors this week for sharing their stories. Remember: IBS varies hugely from person to person, so there’s no ‘right answer’ — what’s worked for one of our members may not work for you. It’s about understanding your body, triggers, and learning to live well.


The first step in the long journey of learning to manage your IBS is undoubtedly a diagnosis. This brings with it positives and negatives.

After months of unexplained tummy aches, running to the loo, back aches, brain fog, you finally have an answer, a name and confirmation that it is nothing more serious.

This may be a huge relief to many: a diagnosis means answers and answers means solutions. Ultimately, it is the start of the journey to self-management.

However, diagnosis is just the beginning of the journey. It can be daunting, long and often we don’t know where to start.

Unfortunately, the lack of research into IBS and the fact that it is only beginning to reach the mainstream in the healthcare world means that GPs can often be dismissive and unwilling to help you learn how to manage it better.

People may leave the GP practice with a prescription for Mebeverine, all the while being told to ‘do some more exercise’, ‘eat better’, or even, ‘drink more water’. This guidance is not enough to learn how to better live with IBS.

Whether you’ve had a positive or negative diagnosis experience, it’s very normal to feel a whole host of things on getting your diagnosis of IBS.

Yes, you may feel relieved and grateful that it is nothing more serious. But, without proper guidance from your GP, you may feel also stuck, not knowing where to go from here.

Luckily, there is lots of information out there, from trusted sources, including here at the IBS Network, as guidance for how to live with IBS post-diagnosis.