1st December 2017
So where did it all start? Was it because we only had a cold, damp, spider-filled outside loo and I used to ‘hold on’ until I got to school? Was it because we had the landlady from hell who stressed all the family out? Does anxiety cause IBS? Does IBS cause anxiety? So many questions...
It was November 1981, I was in the stockroom standing on a ladder moving boxes when suddenly I felt a ferret (definitely not a butterfly) running around my bowel; better go to the toilet, I thought!
Going out for meals with friends was something I used to enjoy but yet again the ferret returned and I had to leave the table to go to the loo. I couldn't eat anything after that. In those early days friends thought I was odd, it was all in my mind and they were not very understanding. Around 10 years later one of those friends apologised to me as she had started to experience similar problems.
Being diagnosed with Endometriosis did not help me either as the diarrhoea got worse. Symptoms have changed for me a little over the years and currently they seem to happen after lunch. I get a localised pain to the lower right side followed by an urgency to get to the loo. I generally feel better afterwards unless it’s a severe attack which knocks the stuffing out of me. It can then take a while for me to recover. I also get very bad wind pains. If I’m at home I lie my body flat on the bed and let my legs drop over the side. My hubby says I have enough wind inside me to start my own power station!
If an episode happened to me at work, I used to walk around the business park until it eased just telling my understanding line manager "I have one of my tums". I dreaded business meetings so I used to take an antispasmodic tablet and sit at the back ready to escape to the loo.
Through the years I have tried everything to ease my IBS, including reflexology, exclusion diets and hypnotherapy but alas, they did not work for me but they may help others, so never give up! You just need to find what works for you.
IBS has interfered with my life, especially my love of rambling but on reflection,
I think I have been luckier than most sufferers. I have a great GP who has always listened to me and with the support of The IBS Network – you never feel alone.
So, as my cup is always half full, I believe that I can manage my symptoms. My plan so far is:
- undertake regular exercise, such as pilates and yoga
- rambling days: eat moderately in the morning, then take one Loperamide tablet and enjoy walking, not forgetting a bottle of water & an emergency kit bag (to purchase visit The IBS Network’s online shop)
- meals out: take one Mebeverine 200mg capsule and eat what I know generally agrees with my gut
- travelling: make sure I have my RADAR key and Can't Wait card with me (both can be bought from The IBS Network’s online shop)
- visit my GP and get checked if my IBS symptoms change
- find a sensible way of putting weight on (as I am underweight)
I have practised what I preach regarding visiting my GP as I’ve had four colonoscopies in 30 years. My doctor reports that I am clear of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), cancer and any blockages. My blood and stool tests say that I don’t have Coeliac Disease and I’m not lactose intolerant, which is a relief. The diagnosis? I have a functional gastrointestinal disorder – Irritable Bowel Syndrome!
My advice is try and work out what works for you – and never give up!
Jane is happy to share her story but has asked not to be identified.