When an IBS suffering client walks through my door their pain, suffering and embarrassment is evident almost immediately. Dark rings encircle exhausted eyes, and their pale complexion masks their pain and sleepless nights.
IBS is a life altering condition, causing sufferers a great deal of pain and discomfort. As a dietitian I am thankful a new FODMAP dietary approach may relieve many, if not all, of these symptoms. I have seen my clients’ lives turned around in a matter of days using a FODMAP dietary approach. See what clients have said about how Gut Feelings has changed their lives here.
To fully appreciate the complexity and pain IBS sufferers experience I have compiled a number of personal stories from my clients. It is important we understand what the one in seven adults who suffer from IBS might be experiencing every day.
A day in the life….
3am: The pain has started already. Out of my warm bed and off to the loo.
5am: Just fell asleep and the crampy feeling triggers off again. It’s cold out there but it would be a disaster if I don’t make it to the loo on time.
7am: Stuck on the loo for 30 minutes. Every time I feel safe to get up, another wave of pain or diarrhoea hits me. How am I ever going to get to work? (or get kids off to school or get on with my day.)
9am: After 10 trips to the loo my stomach has finally stopped cramping. Feel as though I can eat but I just don’t know what to have. I am meant to go out to lunch today but am afraid it will make my IBS symptoms worse.
11am: I am too afraid that I will have an accident or embarrass myself with the wind that is building up in my tummy, so I cancel lunch engagement and eat only foods that feel safe.
1pm: I can now start to feel the pressure building in my stomach, and fear another afternoon of bloating, pain and discomfort. What have I eaten to cause this again?
3pm: I feel like I am going to explode, the pain and discomfort is shocking today, my plans for a walk go out the window, again. I am told to exercise but how can I walk when I am permanently attached to the toilet all morning and then bloated all afternoon.
5pm: I feel so drained that I don’t even want to think about cooking or eating. Food means pain to me.
7pm: Yes, dinner did make it worse. The bloating has eased a little but the pain is still there and I am exhausted by thinking about it. I don’t say much because I don’t want to sound like a whinger, but I am a bit scared that this is more serious than the doctor says. And how can I relax when this seems to happen every day?
9pm: I am going to bed, I know my sleep is likely to be interrupted in the early hours again, and I feel completely drained. I wonder what time my IBS will wake me up tomorrow?
Substitute this routine, the timing or nature of symptoms and this could be any IBS sufferer around the world. The commonly reported issues of interruption to lifestyle, fear of life threatening health issue (based on severity and consistency of symptoms), impact on quality of life and exhaustion from emotional energy and pain associated with IBS are way too common and way too debilitating.
If you or anyone you know and care about experiences any of these symptoms read about our Gut Feelings program and make a change for the better.
Blogged by Kerith Duncanson – May 2015