It’s never "JUST" IBS…the campaign

It's Never Just IBSThanks to a fellow blogger I have become aware of a campaign that the IBS Network are currently running to have all political parties and the National Medical Director recognise that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) isn’t “JUST” IBS.

This campaign is via an online petition in which the network state:

‘Just IBS’ suggests insignificance; in stark contrast with the experience of many who struggle day in and day out to live with such an embarrassing and debilitating condition.

Those of you who have read my recent post “My Gluten Free Journey” will know that Chronic IBS was one of a number of bowel conditions I was diagnosed with after a year of tests. My experiences prior to the diagnosis were pretty appalling with GP’s passing off what I was experiencing as “Just IBS” and/or “all in my head” despite the symptoms being so bad on several occasions I was hospitalised for days and even weeks at a time.

I am now on a strict Low FODMAP diet, and currently with the help of a dietician testing foods to see which one’s I can tolerate. Because of the other conditions I have aside from IBS this is quite complicated and I have medication aswell, but nonetheless it is a painful and debilitating illness.

I think many Doctors don’t regard it as significant because unlike Crohns and Colitis which are often mistaken for IBS, there is no lasting damage to the gut. But that doesn’t mean it does not affect your life significantly, and this is where the problem lies. I remember asking a GP once if I could see a dietician to get help managing my diet and he literally laughed at me and said NHS dieticians don’t help with IBS…well they do, because I’m working with one now who specialises in it!

My bowel problems have actually fed my mental health issues, it’s been a vicious cycle where one makes the other worse, which feeds the other and so on and on and on. This makes it very difficult to manage one or the other. I am starting to get a grip on it now I am on the Low FODMAP diet, but my mental health still has very adverse affects on the IBS and it really negatively affects how I feel when I am sacrificing so much good food not to be sick.

Eating the wrong thing can mean I look 6-8 months pregnant in the space of minutes, and unlike many of the more ‘serious’ bowel diseases, IBS tends to cause weight gain in it’s sufferers. For me, I hit a double whammy as I have another condition which causes weight gain as it caused me to get no nutrition from food so my body was in starvation mode and fat-packing! Marvellous!

I could go on listing all the pains and side effects but Sue did a great job on her post so you can read all of those there, but needless to say just because IBS isn’t as serious in terms of lasting effects internally doesn’t mean it doesn’t have serious affects on your day to day life and this is where it needs to be taken much more seriously especially by GPs, and this is why I signed the petition and encourage others to.

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2 thoughts on “It’s never "JUST" IBS…the campaign

  1. Nicely put Claire! I really think IBS has been brushed off as insignificant for far too long. FODMAP has been fantastic for me though so I hope it will be for you too. I actually feel better now than I have done in a very long time. x

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  2. Thank you Sue, and thanks for drawing my attention to the campaign. So far the FODMAP diet has done wonders for me, it's more those outside influences like my mental health and menstrual cycle now which have the biggest affects. I think once I have finished testing the foods on the FODMAP and things are more settled I will be much happier with everything.

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