Diets/Food Life Wellness

A Wimps Guide To IBS

I’m A Wimp

I’m a wimp, through and through. I can’t handle any sort of physical pain unless I willingly put myself in that situation. Funnily enough, I don’t even flinch during tattoo’s, piercings, waxing, anything like that. As soon as it’s involuntary pain, my brain shuts down and I can’t handle it.

So when it was discovered I had IBS, it wasn’t the best news. I had been really suffering with extreme stomach pain for a few months before the doctor decided what it was. There had been hospitalization a couple of times, and had scans and tests done, and eventually IBS was the conclusion. I also have somewhat inherited my mum’s Raynauds, not to the extent that she has it or most people have it – but being cold can often be quite detrimental to my health.

I wanted to write a blog post about IBS but I wanted it to be something that a normal person could stumble across and use. It’s reported that 2 in 10 people in the UK have IBS. That’s a lot of wimps like me who need some tips and tricks! I was not prepared in any way whatsoever to have to deal with the pain that comes with IBS. It’s meant that I’ve had to find ways that I can treat it, whilst also being picky at the same time. I try to be as naturally-based as I can, although I understand and am thankful for medication at the same time.

The Pain

For me, the pain usually isn’t the worst part (we’ll get to it). I’ve found more ways of dealing with the pain, effective or not, than dealing with the other symptoms. When I get the pain, it’s an unbearable cramping usually in my lower abdomen and depending on the severity it can come in waves or be constant. It usually subsides after about 20 minutes if I do everything right, but sometimes it doesn’t fade until I’m thoroughly drugged up and incoherent; probably a good thing.

I’m not allowed to take Ibuprofen anymore as my doctor thinks that me taking too much of it is what set this ordeal off to begin with. So I often take paracetamol, or Tylenol (my boyfriend gives me it from America) and that helps the first pangs of pain. After that, if the pain carries on then I’ll use a hot compress like a hot water bottle or heat pack. I also have a special way of sitting that helps to ease the cramping – think period cramp style! If those don’t work and it’s really bad, I’ll take some co-codamol or codeine. I take one of them to begin with, but if it still doesn’t subside, I take two. That’s usually when I have to sleep!

Other things

Other things I do to help the pain include monitoring my diet very closely. The diet aspect of IBS has been difficult for me as I’m a picky eater naturally, anyway. I’ve cut out most of the things that are known to definitely cause cramps for me. These things include: Spicy foods, strongly flavoured foods, acidic juices and fruit (some are OK), too much dairy, fried or fatty foods, chocolate, and carbonated drinks. I have been avoiding alcohol recently anyway as I am practicing Buddhism but that is another thing on the list.

If I eat something and it gives me cramps one time, I don’t take a lot of notice of it. Sometimes my stomach just randomly decides to reject food that I know is fine for me usually. If I then eat it again and it causes me the same pain, then I decide to stop eating it or cut down on it.

Nausea and Bloating

These two things are the WORST for me when it comes to IBS. I absolutely hate nausea with a burning passion inside me. If I could choose to never feel one thing again, it would be nausea. Do you get the point yet? It’s just useless, there’s no reason for it, most of the time I don’t actually throw up, it doesn’t go away no matter what I do. So annoying.

The biggest thing I’ve found that helps my nausea 97% of the time is Peppermint Tea. It tastes so much nicer than any other tea, in my opinion, and it also usually eases the nausea within 10-15 minutes. I also have been prescribed some anti-sickness medication from the hospital which I’ll talk about in a second. These only tend to help me if it’s being going on for extended periods of time – 2 hours or more.

I’m going to be trying to use essential oils to help with my nausea soon as well, as I’ve heard those help. Other than that, being outside or opening a window is a massive help for me. Slowly breathing in the fresh air helps to clear my mind and focus on other things, beside the nausea. I also implement deep breathing on its own, breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 6 seconds, then repeat.

Bloating has only become an issue for me since I had to start taking probiotics and eating more fiber. It’s never usually too bad, unless I get pain, then I bloat quite badly which makes it more painful. To help this, I have cut down to taking a probiotic once every other day, cut down on fiber slightly, and I eat smaller meals more regularly. This means my body has time to digest the last thing before the next thing, if that makes sense.

Medication

I have a medication bag that I tend to try and take everywhere with me. I have one small one, my travel bag, and one big one, that stays at home. I’ve been prescribed Mebeverine which helps to stop cramping and spasming in the abdomen. I also got diagnosed 3 massive boxes of drinkable laxatives, along with codeine and Cyclazine – anti-nausea tablets.

Alongside these I also take over the counter medicines like probiotics, buscopan, Rennie’s anti-acids, etc. I have a medication for every situation, you could say. Some of the time they work, and some of the time they don’t, which is why I try to mainly rely on natural remedies and methods.

I’m A Wimp Too – How Do I Cope?

I’ve found every method in this blog post so far helps me immensely with physical symptoms. Mentally, IBS is a whole new ball park. I’ve had to overcome my fear of breathing deeply as this helps my nausea. I used to hate doing it because it felt weird to realise I was breathing, and at a completely different pace to normal. With that, I tasted new tea’s, new foods that are good for me, which has been difficult for a picky eater.

I also find going out in public even more difficult than I did before. My anxiety made it hard, but this is even harder. I have to make sure I can get home easily, I have my medication bag with me, that there’s a toilet nearby. Long car rides especially scare me, for those reasons. To deal with that, it’s best to just focus on your plan IF you do get pain. Don’t constantly think “I can’t go out because of my pain”, just plan in-case it DOES happen. For example, take your medicine bag, look up the place you’re going beforehand on google to see where the nearest toilet is, or don’t go anywhere further from home than you’re comfortable with doing.

Family and friend support helps me the most. My mum is a massive help for me and my boyfriend is on the same level. If I’m in pain, every wimp knows that you immediately pity yourself to the max. They know I do that too, and sometimes I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have someone help you. If you’re in pain, just ask someone to go and get your medicine for you. Don’t force yourself to stand if it’s going to make it worse. Ask someone to make you a tea, if it’ll help your nausea and they care enough, they’ll help you. Just make sure you let them know how grateful you are for their help.

Chaz x

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