Desperate Healthwise

IBS: My Story

Benny Joy SmithComment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS) is one of the most common digestive disorders affecting the western world in this day and age. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people are affected by IBS and it is more common in women than men (like women don't have enough to deal with already!). IBS is basically when your digestive system, from your mouth to your butt, is completely out-of-whack causing discomfort and symptoms such as; bloating, pain/cramping, gas (horrific gas), diarrhoea and constipation, sometimes both. 

How it has affected me

Officially, as in when I was diagnosed, I have had IBS for 7 months, unofficially it has been over a year. Not long in the grand scheme of things but it feels a lot longer, trust me. I have had digestive issues my whole life, constipation and heartburn being the main issues, but things really started moving (or not moving, as the case may be) around the time of the Canterbury earthquakes. During that time I went through a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally and struggled to cope with what was happening. 

Everything seemed to calm down for a few years until September 2013 when out of the blue I experienced horrible pain, to the point of being unable to stand, and stomach distension (I looked about 6 months pregnant. How's that for a food baby!) after a meal of chill con carne and guacamole. In retrospect, it makes sense that I experienced such symptoms, as that meal contained a truckload of high FODMAP ingredients, but at the time I was stumped. For a while I believed I had food poisoning, but it just kept getting worse, then it would get better, and worse again. It seemed so random and I could not for the life of me figure out what was happening! Some days I would be in pain all day and other days only after dinner My doctor mentioned that it might be IBS, but like the naive child I was, I refused to believe it. 

Fast forward to March 2014, after months of strange and painful symptoms, I was chatting with a friend about what was happening and she suggested it may be IBS. I read up on it a bit and was able to identify with all the symptoms, leaving me with no doubt that I had IBS. I had a syndrome. Ew. I went to the doctor and walked out of the appointment feeling like my stomach was in my shoes and wishing it would stay there. 

I could lie and say that I took this on board with calm, logical thinking and a cheery disposition but really I balled my eyes out. For days. Weeks. Probably months too, if I'm honest. I fussed, and I whined and I refused to accept that I could no longer eat good food (or so I thought at the time). If you have no idea what a low FODMAP diet entails, I suggest you look it up. It makes for a fun read.  

Over the past few months, I have begun to deal with it, with the help of my family. All the family meals have been adjusted to keep me as comfortable as possible and I even have my own special food, just for me. Naw. There are days where it is worse than others, but I attribute that more to my stress and anxiety levels than the food I eat.

Where I am at now:

Because I am coping a lot better and find myself being more comfortable, I now have the energy to start experimenting with recipes and creating my own, which is super exciting! That is one of the reasons why I started this blog, to share my recipes and recipes I've collected with you. I know that in Christchurch especially there are a lot of people with IBS who are struggling to eat good and tasty food because they feel like the only option they have is food that is devoid of flavour and nutrients. Although, you do miss out on a lot of foods, this doesn't mean you miss out on nutrition completely. So take heart fellow low fodmappers! I am here to help! 

Visit my recipes pages here