10 things anyone with IBS can relate to

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the chances are you'll recognise these truths…

1. Pining over that cream cake or chocolate bar but knowing it isn't worth the trouble.

Forget willpower, the thought of sitting on the toilet for hours on end afterwards, is enough to curb the cravings.

2. Planning a fabulous evening only for your IBS to rear its ugly head.

Swapping dancing in your new figure-hugging bodycon dress for a night spent horizontal with a hot water bottle and gallons of peppermint tea.

3. Having to buy clothes in an assortment of sizes (personally, mine range from sizes 8 - 12) to compensate for bad bloating days.

4. Confiding in another person about your symptoms only for them to reply, "Oh yes, I know exactly how you feel - I had a bit of a dodgy curry last week and it gave me such an upset stomach" .

Oh, if only we knew it was going to go away after the curry passes!

5. Never being able to point to the menu in a restaurant and order something in its intended form.

This is teamed with the annoyed glances that waiters shoot you when you begin enquiring: "Could I have this but without the butter, no onions and could you double check it's not got any gluten in the seasoning? Oh, and I'll just have the rice plain."

6. Having to act like 'poo' is such a dirty word.

Everyone poos, even HRM The Queen has to do a number two. The stigma surrounding going to the loo doesn't help the fact we have to deal with these embarrassing symptoms on a daily basis.

7. No-one ever knows what on earth is going on inside your stomach .

You've had blood tests, sent stool samples and - yippee - you've even had a fun-filled colonoscopy - but still, no-one is any of the wiser about what on earth has gone wrong. So you give yet another medication a go.

8. Mentioning your IBS diagnosis to an acquaintance, only for them to launch into a rant about how we're all so lazy and how poor our diets are, which has made these conditions crop up more and more.

Fantastically helpful, as always. And although there might be a little truth to what they're saying, who made them an expert?

9. Arriving at a new location, only to scout out the toilets before anything else.

Yes, there might be a beautiful fountain over there, an infinity pool and a rooftop terrace, but the toilets are probably where I'll most likely be.

10. Having a love-hate relationship with food.

I want that, it's healthy, it's insoluble fibre, it's not FODMAP, it's renowned for producing gas. Oh, to the days where we didn't have to analyse each item on our plate for the effect it's going to have on our insides.

But above all, at least we're not alone. Over half of the UK's population have suffered some form of ongoing digestive issue; we're just not very good at talking about it.

I'm on a mission to banish this Poo Taboo and start figuring out a way of making it less embarrassing. This, in itself, might not cure IBS, but I think it may help just a little.


Scarlett is a blogger and journalist based in the UK. Visit her blog or follow Scarlett on twitter: @Scarlett_London