Okay, I feel a need to get a little graphic and TMI here for a minute. I’m expecting people to be mature about this. I need to talk about IBS. I never understood why it was so terrible or how it was a bad thing until I learned first-hand.For those that don’t knw – IBS = Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people have mild symptoms. Symptoms are different from person to person. The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating that have been present for at least 3 days a month for the last 3 months. The pain and other symptoms will often:– Be reduced or go away after a bowel movement– Occur when there is a change in how often you have bowel movementsPeople with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other.– People with diarrhea will have frequent, loose, watery stools. They will often have an urgent need to have a bowel movement, which may be hard to control.– Those with constipation will have a hard time passing stool, as well as fewer bowel movements. They will often need to strain and will feel cramps with a bowel movement. Often, they do not release any stool, or only a small amount.For some people, the symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month, and then decrease for a while. For other people, symptoms are present most of the time. People with IBS may also lose their appetite.
Have you ever had the flue really bad and been puking your guts out until your stomach is empty, and wish that meant you were done but your body insists there’s more to puke out and goes through the motions anyway against your will? Know how painful and frustrating that is? Yeah, my IBS does that, but from the other end. And it can sometimes last hours at a time with only brief breaks of a minute or two before I’m back on the toilet, doubled over in pain from the muscle contractions. It’s bad enough when I’m home alone, but when I’m out with friends, it’s horrible.
And that’s not to even mention the gas. Ever get that slight bit of pressure or dull ache when you’ve got gas but can’t seem to make yourself burp? Imagine that at an intensity like someone has punched through your abdomen with their bare fist and are ripping into your stomach with their fingers. So much pain that you can barely stand up, your eyes burn, and your mouth & throat go instantly dry. It’s taken me years to finally find some tricks that work to help ease it, and I only found those this past month.
Why am I bitching about this? It’s not for sympathy. I don’t need the “Oh, you poor dear” crap. I just want understanding and patience when I’m having attacks. People have acted like they don’t understand the problem and are irritated with me when I say, “sorry I didn’t make it, I had an IBS attack.” It’s not an excuse for being lazy; I hate having it. I hate the pain and the embarrassment and, frankly, the smell. It’s not like I chose this. It’s bad enough having to deal with the pain and physical stress of IBS itself; having to then deal with the impatience and irritation of people who don’t get it is just uncalled for.