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IBS Encouragement
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bja629 posted:
I am in need of encouragement and inspiration the most. I am 22, and was diagnosed with IBS when I was 16. I am always anxious and need to make sure I know I have easy access to the restroom wherever I go. I get overly nervous about going out on dates and meeting people because I feel that I have to explain my illness to make myself feel at ease and accepted. How does everyone else deal with this battle?

Also, even though I deal with "close calls" all the time, and I sit there and think, "I am just going to eat what I am supposed to eat...I hate feeling like this," I have A LOT much trouble sticking to eating the foods that are ideal for someone with IBS. I find the options sometimes boring and feel that I can't enjoy my time on dates, with friends, etc. if I don't join in on what they are eating. I hate being the abnormal one, but also hate facing the consequences of bad choices. Any tips?

Thank you...I would respect and accept any new ideas or ways others have dealt with this socially embarrassing condition.
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barbarafromtucson responded:
Have you been tested for Celiac, Crohns, Collitus, Diverticulosis, parasites, etc.? Have you seen more than one doctor?

If you haven't been tested for these things or have only been to one doctor, get a second opinion and ask for a GI specialist.

In the meantime....keep a diary--mark down times of when you eat, what you eat, when you have a bowel movement, and details about the BM (consistancy, color, mucous, blood, etc). This will be helpful, especially for your doctor, to pick up patterns that will help determine what foods trigger the "IBS" and which ones don't.

When I eliminated dairy, my IBS cleared up a LOT. Now I was a 'chocolate-aholic' and I loved cheesecake and icecream. It was hard for me to give up these things. I cheated. But after the 'end results' each time, I slowly learned to give up these things.

The diet really stinks...not being able to eat the foods and such that you used to enjoy. It does make going out difficult. But if you can make the sacrifices, then you can be a little more "social".

I go to restaurants, movies, places that I'm 'familiar' with...I know the routes to these places, where the bathrooms are, and so on. It takes some of the anxiety out just knowing that if the "moment" comes, I can get to the bathroom.

A good number of people out there don't understand IBS/IBS-like illnesses/conditions. My friends who know me are well aware of my illness and know where to find me if I 'disappear' or understand why I had to cancel. But meeting 'new' people and dating is very difficult.

I would spend more time/energy right now on getting your IBS treated before working on your social life. Stay 'light' on the social life--as you gain more and more control over the BMs, then you can slowly build back up your social life.

My intestional issues have been tied in to my mental health--I've had abuse issues from childhood--as I've gone through counseling and letting go of a lot of the emotional junk, my IBS has been getting better.

I do not know what your childhood was like or what other psychological issues that you may have had/have. Even if you've had a 'normal' life, IBS (and similar conditions) can lead to depression, because of its effect on one's social life.

Stress, anxiety, nervousness, depression, anger, etc. about anything can add to/trigger having bowel movements, so your emotional/psychological health needs to be examined/looked at too. In that journal, you may want to notate any moods--positive, negative, and everything in-between too!!!!

Take life one day at a time! But seek support from friends/family and go back to the doctor (or a different doctor).

If you're a religious person, continue to pray for healing and endurance and strength from whoever you consider to be the higher power to be.

Good luck!

Barbara


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