Monday, 14 July 2014

IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome )

I've suffered with a dicky tummy for most of my life. Ever since I can remember I've always had to know where the toilets are in case of emergencies. I've had bloating, constipation and diarrhoea - sometimes both in the same day and stomach cramps that make period pain seem like a blessing.

I spotted this in a car park!
Like most people I've put up with it and not really bothered seeing my GP, mainly because prior to everything that's happened to me I was embarrassed about it, but after my stay in hospital nearly 5 years ago, things suddenly took a turn for the worse and got a lot more embarrassing for me. The cramps got much worse, the bloating got worse, the noises my stomach makes got worse and if I didn't run to the toilet fast enough...... well I won't disgust you with the rest.
Initially it was put down to the overuse of antibiotics. I was pumped full of them in hospital but as I came off the antibiotics, things didn't get any better.

I've been battling with the doctors ever since and knew in myself that it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( after all I have the internet and any Tom, Dick or Homer can self diagnose themselves now - right*? ) but the doctors had to rule out Irritable Bowel Disorder first.

What's the difference between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD)?, Aren't they the same thing? 

No, IBS isn't as serious as IBD medically speaking, although it is just as embarrassing to have.
IBD causes inflammation to the bowel, along with ulcers, bleeding and other damage. IBS is classed as a functional disorder which means that the bowel looks normal but doesn't work like it should.

So cue many a colonoscopy, endoscopy, MRI and blood tests. They have all come back negative for Chron's and Ulcerative Colitis, and so an official diagnosis of spastic colon was made or more politely put IBS.

What causes IBS?

In my case, the doctor has put it down to being very ill for such a long time. He explained that the bowel and brain are linked, and if one becomes stressed then the other becomes stressed too. So it actually becomes a never ending cycle. I have noticed that when I am run down, tired or suffering from normal everyday stress then my symptoms are worse.
I also have to watch what I eat, fibre is a big no no in my case. It can, will and does make things a lot more painful for me. I also have the doctor's approval to not eat much fibre, he hasn't said go out and splurge on burger and chips but I must stay away from brown bread, wholemeal pasta and only eat fruit and vegetables in moderation!

I've also to try out some tablets which should help relax the muscle spasms in my gut which should stop me running to the toilet and I'm hoping will ease the cramping. They can take up to 6 weeks to start working, so I'll report back later and let you know how I'm feeling.

* It is not recommended to self diagnose yourself, if you don't feel well please seek medical advice.

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