Here’s How IBS Affects Me

Here’s How IBS Affects Me
If the statistics are correct, up to 70% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Few of us need an official awareness month to be reminded of its debilitating symptoms. Nevertheless, April is IBS Awareness Month, a good opportunity to discuss how it affects us. For any reader who has been fortunate enough to have avoided this common nightmare, here it is in a nutshell: IBS causes abdominal pain, cramping, food intolerance, bloating (I have at least two sizes of clothing hanging in my closet at all times), and changes in stool (diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both).  Not only are most of us totally aware of these symptoms, we also are likely governed by them. Unlike the many other issues we deal with regularly — including total body pain and fatigue — IBS symptoms often determine the activities we can or can't do. In short, they rob us of many joyful moments that others take for granted. The difference is in the ability to function. It’s possible to do something you need or want to do if you’re experiencing total body pain or fatigue. It may not be pleasant, but it’s possible. You fake a smile and employ every distraction technique you know. Then you face the world the best that you can for as long as you can. However, if you’re doubled over with abdominal pain or unsure of the safe distance to the bathroom, you just can’t pretend. The total number of business meetings, vacations, social occasions, family events, and performances I have canceled in my life is equal to or greater than the number I’ve managed to attend. I can see some readers nodding their heads. I know I’m not alone in this. But that doesn’t make it any easier.  Here I must acknowledge the great love and understanding I’
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One comment

  1. Marsha A. Rodriguez says:

    Years before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I was treated for microscopic colitis. It was as you mentioned a nightmare to say the least. I still managed to work full time but racing to the women’s room was constant. Fortunately I never “exploded” at work or outside my home. It was extremely draining on my daily life. I was very lucky to have an extremely compassionate GI Dr who truly cared & answered all my questions. Then all of the sudden it stopped completely. However I know wonder if it was a precursor leading to fibromyalgia. I’ll never know the answer. I have total compassion for anyone suffering from IBS or any/all the extras added to fibromyalgia.

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