IBS… IT’S NOT SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS

0 Comments

by Adam Delbridge

 

You can always tell when a health problem has become well known – people start using its initials.

 

RSI (repetitive strain injury), MS (multiple sclerosis), and ADD (attention deficit disorder). IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is another condition that, these days, rarely needs to be spelt out. Figures vary, but it’s generally accepted around 1 in 5 of us are sufferers.

 

Those affected live with a mixture of stomach cramps, bloating and a hell of lot of visits to the toilet. The polite terminology is ‘over active bowel’.

 

I was diagnosed at 15 (I’m now 41). At that age, it’s purely about preserving your dignity. My sole focus in life became hiding the condition. When your ‘over active bowel’ is sending you to the toilet ten times a day, you need a good bank of excuses. I alternated between stomach bugs, ‘something I ate’, or just holding on for dear life. Anything was better than fessing up to my mates what was really wrong.

 

With no sign of a cure, I decided to take an entirely different approach. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, I began to think about the positives.

 

I’m not sure exactly when, perhaps in my late twenties, but at some point I became sick of feeling sorry for myself. Sick of constantly hiding the condition. Sick of letting it control my life. With no sign of a cure, I decided to take an entirely different approach. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, I began to think about the positives.

 

In no particular order, here are my top IBS positives:

 

1. YOU WILL NEVER PUT ON WEIGHT
If you are serious about controlling IBS, you will make changes to your diet. Nothing fuels an IBS flare up like a good dose of high fat. Right through my thirties and now forties, I’ve stuck hard to this no fat rule. Forget all that feast and famine nonsense, IBS will force you to make radical changes to your diet. Yes, you become incredibly boring around food, but you never put on weight.

 

2. IBS CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE AND SOME CANCERS
The above is a pretty big statement, and I have no hard facts to support the assertion. But no medical expert will argue against the benefits of a low fat diet. And for a lot of people, IBS is the one thing that forces them to alter their eating habits. They won’t listen to doctors, or their family, but when those stomach cramps and toilet visits kick in, they soon start listening to their body.

 

3. YOU GET TO SPEND MORE TIME IN THE QUIETEST ROOM IN THE HOUSE
On average I spend about 45 to 60 minutes each day on the toilet. Talk about quality time. My kids are not brave or mad enough to open the door. My wife doesn’t harass me. And no one dare questions why I’m in there. You also get the benefit of having your own bathroom in the follow up time. It’s generally not safe to enter for another hour after flushing.

 

4. IT’S A GREAT EXCUSE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GO OUT
Sorry, my irritable bowel is…

For effectiveness, the above sentence is right up there with: Sorry my mother hasn’t been well and last night she

It’s one of those sentences you rarely need to finish. People accept and move on.

 

5. IBS IS FUNNY
The sounds your body can make are quite impressive and diverse. Let’s face it, farting is funny. My kids are in constant uproar at the sounds that emanate from my body:’Dadda, show Ollie that sound you can make… just one more time’.
 

So if you’ve got IBS and it’s getting you down, take a moment to be grateful. Instead of avoiding the topic, make people feel bad about not having IBS! After all, how many other conditions are there, without a cure, which can actually help extend your life?

 

 

Adam Delbridge is a freelance adman from Melbourne. When not writing, he spends way too much time experimenting with the latest IBS ‘wonderfoods’.

 

#IntoTheOpen

Over 75,000 Australians have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease), and the number is expected to rise to 100,000 in the next 10 years.

May marked Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Month with a global campaign around the hashtag #IntoTheOpen. It hopes to raise awareness by encouraging those with an IBD to come out ‘into the open’ by posting a video on their social media platforms talking about their condition.

 

Something to say..? Leave your comments here.

Stay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via Twitter