What it’s like to live with IBS

by

Everybody likes a good poop.  Especially people with IBS.

Whether you talk about it or not, we all know, that having good poops is way up there on your list of top feel-good things. It was a thing I longed for all my life but only came to me sporadically. It was not until my mid 20s that I finally began to have good poops every day and thank god, because that daily feeling of relief is up there in my top 3 things that make me feel amazing! 

Ahhh, it’s the simple things that really bring you true happiness. 

I remember watching Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and they get urinated on by a KKK member who says something like ‘wow taking a piss is one of the best feelings in the world’………I was like what? No way, taking a shit is wayyyyy better. But, I guess that wouldn’t really have fit into the scene. 

I’m not really sure why our culture is so shy and timid about talking about poop. Everybody does it. But I think boys think girls shit out butterflies and rainbows. 

I was also one of those shy and timid people for years. I HATED talking about bowel movements. And then I turned 18 and visited my aunt who has zero filters. She talks about everything. She one time was explaining that she had to shove hormonal cream of her dry hoo-ha because menopause was making her feel like a desert. You can always expect TMI with her. One time I was making scallops with her…..and I was like damn, this reminds me of something but I can’t quite figure it out. She replied ‘yeah, it feels just like ballsacks.’ I laughed and blushed- but she was SO right. 

Anyway, spending time with her made me outwardly expressive about my bodily fluids and my constant need to talk about how I couldn’t shit, how I was shitting my pants, or how I just wished I could take a good poop. 

But unluckily for me, I was cursed with IBS. 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term. (Mayo Clinic)  

From childhood, my bowels disagreed with me. I popped laxatives, anti-diarrhea pills, and gas pills like candy. I spent my life on the toilet.  I was embarrassed because of my IBS and I would not use public toilets or any other toilet except for mine and one specific friend of mines’. 

I never understood how people used public toilets. Like how? I sounded like I was exploding, or I was pushing way too hard. I had a fear that there would be a camera in a public toilet and someone would see my contorted face as I tried to find some relief.

My childhood brain had some weird imaginations-like why would someone record inside a bathroom stall? I must have seen it on a TV show or something.

All I wanted was to have a good poop every day. Because a day without a good poop(s) is a shitty day. It literally ruins your day when you don’t wake up and poop. And this happened to me all the time. I would be constipated for weeks, yet somehow have diarrhea at the same time. Like what? I don’t even know how that is possible but believe me it is. And if you have IBS- i trust that you know. 

Bloating and gas were a daily occurrence. And god forbid farting. I never understood farters……how did they not shit their pants? 

I constantly looked 3 months pregnant. Only it felt like I had an air baby. It felt like someone literally took a syringe of air and pumped it into my intestines. And then blocked it from ever escaping. 

My only saving grace, was going to sleep at night and hoping that in the morning I would feel better. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I didn’t.

As I started to gain control over my IBS in my mid 20s I realized that it’s possible to fart without shitting your pants. But when IBS is running a muck you seriously never know what you are going to get. 

I was a slave to my bowels. I left functions, I left parties, I left classes. I wouldn’t eat all day if I was going to go on a date or to something important. When the crazy painful cramps and urges hit my parents would pick me up and drive me home so I could suffer in private. 

When I no longer had parents to save the day, I’d have to mentally power my way to a safe inconspicuous bathroom that could be my haven for the next few hours OR spend the time in agony trying to hold it in until I could rush home to my own toilet. My home toilet was my safe place until I moved out of home and had to share a bathroom with roommates – that shared bathroom became my personal nightmare. 

I spent 50% of my life on the toilet or laying on a cold floor, hoping, waiting, wishing that the mayhem going on inside my bowels would come to an end soon. 

When I was little, I literally made my own set-up so I could watch TV while I spent time on the toilet trying to poop while I was constipated. Or just to distract me from the pain I was going through while shitting my pants or laying on the bathroom floor waiting for the pain to end. 

I locked my mom’s room and the bathroom door, opened up the door from the bathroom to their room and set-up a stool with a mirror on top so I could watch TV in the reflection of the mirror. Sorry Mom and Dad your room is under lock-down.  

The invention of cellphones, ipads and mobile data  were truly a gift to those with IBS. 

The only good thing that came from my IBS was saving some kittens.

In one of my decrepit states, I was laying on the bathroom floor, ear pressed against the cold laminate and I heard little kittens quietly meowing – they were trapped under our house. I alerted my dad and he managed to climb under a hole in the house and save a few of them. So I guess IBS isn’t all bad……… 

Then an amazing thing happened. I got control of my IBS symptoms. Something the doctors told me would not happen. They made it seem like I had no choice but to deal with these crazy bowels for life. 

But after much trial and error I found a diet, or rather a lifestyle, that has released me from the pain of IBS.

That has allowed me to be able to fart without shitting my pants.

That has allowed me to poop smoothly and silently.

Which has allowed me to use public toilets without stress. A thing I never thought would come true. 

Which has allowed me to do so many things like hike, bike, road trip, snowboard, go camping, travel, attend festivals and dinner parties all without having to worry about how my bowels react.

I finally feel in control of my own life. And it feels effing great- almost as great as taking multiple good poops on the daily.

If you’re interested in taking back your life check out the 10 steps I took towards overcoming my IBS symptoms

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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

I am not a doctor or dietitian. The information on here is based on what worked for me. There is a lot of research out there on plant-based diets and the positive impact this diet has on health which really made me comfortable with my plant- based lifestyle choice! If you want to dive more into the science/evidence side of things check out our resources section.  Any statements made on these platforms are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult with your medical practitioner before making any changes to your current diet and lifestyle.

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