It sounds OTT, it may even be OTT but it’s a condition that a lot of people have. Many may not even know they have IBS or understand what it is. What are the triggers? Why does it happen? We live in a time where processed, take away food exists. Yummy, certainly. Healthy? Probably not. And most of all, your digestive system is trying to tell you exactly that.
What is IBS?
IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It causes symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. IBS comes and goes over time and people will usually experience ‘flare ups’. Unfortunately, it is a lifelong problem with no cure, however, focusing on diet and making changes can ease the condition and help control the symptoms.
Personally, for me, I have a family history of IBS which could be a cause of why I also experience it. I’ve learnt (so far) that my trigger is white bread. Sad times for a good hearty sandwich, however, brown/seeded bread works better for me. I first detected that I had IBS because I’d get extreme stomach cramps to the point where I’d really struggle to get through the pain, I’d almost need to crouch over and it was ALWAYS worse after eating. Sometimes, I can eat the smallest thing, such as a biscuit and my stomach will blow up three times its size. Perfect when you have a little black dress to squeeze into that evening (eye roll).
Anxiety and stress
On the flip side, I have anxiety disorder and stress is a MAJOR trigger of IBS. When you’re anxious, your body will go into ‘fight or flight’ mode which routes back to our natural instincts when we’re in danger. The adrenaline rush from anxiety or a panic attack causes our digestive system to speed up which can cause you to need the toilet more frequently and lead to feeling sick.
Relieving symptoms and seeking help
When I thought I had IBS, I went to my doctor who suggested getting a blood test to rule out anything nasty. I also got advised that there isn’t much they can do, there’s no cure so don’t expect a miracle. IBS is only properly diagnosed if you have suffered from the symptoms for a long period of time (six months plus). I have been given medication to take only if I get a flare up. If I feel those awful cramps coming on, I just take one of those tablets, however, my diagnosis is relatively new. To relieve symptoms it’s important to cook homemade meals and use fresh ingredients. The best advice is to keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you receive so you can find your triggers.
Give your gut some TLC.