Living With IBS | My Story

Living With IBS | My Story

Sometimes it’s hard to decide where to begin with my IBS story. I guess it starts somewhere back around 2010.

I must say that up until this point in time I pretty much had a cast iron stomach. I could eat what I wanted when I wanted and I would be fine (maybe I could put that down to youth)
But oh how that all quickly changed.

I was having dinner with my friends one evening and I so clearly remember tucking into beef stew and dumpling, enjoying every last mouthful. It was about 15 minutes or so after I had finished my meal that my stomach started twitching and then suddenly I had painful cramps.
I was then overcome with hot sweats, the feeling I was going to be sick and a sensation that my stomach had “dropped”. So I raced back home barely making it.

I thought to myself this has to be food poisoning! But it wasn’t. It was the start of my very long and gut-wrenching story (Pun Intended!)

So what is IBS you ask?

I’m guessing the majority of you reading this post will be suffering or think you might be suffering from IBS but for those of you that don’t know this is a little snippet of what IBS is from the NHS website.

• IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system.

• It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.

• It’s usually a lifelong problem. It can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life.

• There’s no cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms.

• The exact cause is unknown – it’s been linked to things like food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive nerves in your gut, stress, and a family history of IBS.

IBS For Me

Everyone is different when it comes to IBS. For me, I deal with the terrible bloating, painful cramps and the fact that within minutes of eating I would be running to the loo.

As you can imagine this made my social life very stressful & difficult.

I would be filled with anxiety if I had to go out to eat. Stressing about things like, Would there be a toilet nearby? How private was this toilet?

What also didn’t help as I didn’t know what was setting me off to be able to avoid those foods. I would be fine eating a roast dinner on Sunday and the next I would feel like I was dying afterwards.

The pain sometimes made me feel sick and I would get so hot and sweaty. I feel like my insides are dying. There’s no way I wanted to risk getting like this in public. How mortifying!

So from then on, I spent my life taking Imodium. I would take it before going out to try and prevent any sudden bowel movements but sometimes even that didn’t even help. It was a bad habit to get into and quite costly.
I still do use Imodium, I wouldn’t be without it but I only take it if If its an absolute must.

I went to the doctors a few times but as with IBS but there’s nothing they can really prescription apart from Colafac and keeping a good diary.
So I carried on like this for about three years. s you can imagine three years of living in fear, anxiety & pain took its toll. As much as I kept positive I used to get so down about it.

Little did I know the worse was yet to come.

Emergency Surgery

At the beginning of 2013, I started to wake up in the middle of the night with these tight pains in my chest. They kept getting worse and worse until one night the pain was so unbearable I was taken to A&E.

It took quite a few admissions into hospital before I was diagnosed with Gallstones.
Eating for me became a very horrible ordeal. I didn’t know what would set my IBS or a Gallbladder flare up and I was in constant fear of what would happen if I eat the wrong thing.

It took about 6 months before I was taken into hospital to have emergency surgery to remove the Gallballer.
This was a relief after six moments of being admitted into hospital every other week, being hocked up to ain’t skinless, morphe and god knows what else.
I couldn’t believe it was finally over! It’s no exaggeration that I thought I would die from the pain. They say it’s second worse to a heart attack and some women who have had gallstones and given birth say they would pick labour over gallstones any day.

The whole ordeal had taken its toll on my body. After the operation, I developed Psoriasis which you can read about here.

Living With IBS

I couldn’t stop losing weight

My IBS remained what I would refer to as “normal” up until February 2016 when the symptoms suddenly became so much worse.

I couldn’t sleep at night because of the pain. I would be sick whenever I ate, which for me was a normal occurrence. I couldn’t even brush my teeth without vomiting.

I kept losing weight and fast. The lack of food I was able to keep down meant I had barely any fuel in my body to keep me going throughout the day. I was so exhausted that as soon as I got home from work I needed to sleep.

I went to see the doctor again, this time he thought I might have diverticulitis but he didn’t send me for tests. I was given some medication which I can remember the name off but that did help. Slowly but surely I put the weight back on and was able to eat again.

Blood!

My IBS remained what I would refer to as “normal” up until February 2016.
The symptoms suddenly became so much worse. I couldn’t sleep through the night because of the pain.
I would be sick whenever I ate, which for me was a normal occurrence. I couldn’t even brush my teeth without vomiting.

I kept losing weight and fast. The lack of food I was able to keep down meant I had barely any fuel in my body to keep me going throughout the day. I was so exhausted that as soon as I got home from work I needed to sleep.

I went to see the doctor again, this time he thought I might have diverticulitis but he didn’t send me for tests. I was given some medication which I can remember the name off but that did help. Slowly but surely I put the weight back on and was able to eat again.

Blood!

At the end of 2017, my IBS took a turn for the worst again.
I started noticing blood when every I went to the loo. So this rang alarm bells in my head as well as the fact that every time I went to the loo it was basically water.

Off to the doctors I went and finally, after years of struggling I was referred to a specialist gastroenterologist. I was fortunate enough to have private healthcare so I managed to get my appointment very quickly.

Upon seeing the gastroenterologist I was referred to have a colonoscopy.
The procedure itself was in no ways unpleasant. They give you a mild sedative to help you relax and at the most, you feel some cramping. Its all over before you know it.
The gut cleansing you have to do before the procedure, well that I found horrific. The medication I had to take to “cleanse” me make me feel terribly ill.

It was good news though. There were no signs that it was IBD ( Chrones or Colitis) and I also had some biopsy done to rule out Micro Colitis.

I just have extremely bad IBS but I glad I got checked out as there was always the thought in the back of my mind it might be something worse.

So that’s a brief overview of my IBS journey. If you do suffer from IBS I hope this post has made you feel that you are not alone.

I also want to share some more tips and experience with you that will be forthcoming

  • How to travel with IBS
  • Supplements that have helped me
  • My nutritional testing
  • Diets that have made a world of difference (Going on a plant-based diet has done wonders for me)

So keep your eyes peeled for those upcoming posts.

I’m always looking for new tips and advice on dealing with IBS so please let me know yours in the comments below.

Photos By Lifelike Photography 

Don’t forget to add me on Instagram – @leonie.parker –to follow my adventures!

You can also find me over on Twitter – @LeonieXParker, Facebook And Youtube

**Disclaimer**
All the information provided on this is for general information purposes only and is the expressed opinion of myself. I am not providing any medical advice. You are taking all the provided information at your own risk. Please contact your local GP before for medical advice or before using any of the tip provided.