Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by IBS in America. As always, all thoughts are my own.
Oh, IBS. I’ve been dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for quite some time now, and I’m sure you all are aware. I’ve talked about it plenty of times on my social media channels that I often get emails from people who are also suffering and asking for advice. The crazy thing about IBS, is it seems to be like this mystery illness. No one knows why they have it, how to treat it, how to cope with it, and it’s so very individualized. A lot of people also just feel defeated, myself included, and end up just learning to deal with it and try and forget about it. However, this shouldn’t be the case. We should try to understand this condition more, especially since so many Americans deal with it.
IBS in America and AGA (The American Gastroenterological Association) conducted a survey polling more than 3,200 IBS sufferers and 300 physicians in an effort to better understand this condition.
IBS impacts nearly 35 million Americans and causes recurring abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhea, among many other symptoms. These symptoms make such an impact that some sufferers report that they would be willing to give up caffeine, sex, or the internet for one month just to get one month’s relief from symptoms.
I’ve personally been there, and it leaves you feeling frustrated, embarrassed, and almost depressed. There was a time in my life where it was so bad that I couldn’t even go out because I felt so bad. I would get all the symptoms all at once, and never wanted to leave the house. I didn’t want to eat anything because of the fear of it giving me even more symptoms and making me feel worse. Not eating would lead to even more problems and severe nausea, and it was a never-ending cycle. IBS doesn’t only affect your physical health, but it certainly affects your mental health as well. Sometimes I would feel like I couldn’t live my life the way I wanted to and felt tied down to my IBS symptoms. Luckily I did go to the doctor numerous times, whereas more than 67% of IBS sufferers experience symptoms for over a year before talking to a doctor, and 11% of sufferers wait over a decade.
GI health is SO important, and affects every part of your body. There is a reason they refer to the gut as basically a “second brain”. If you can relate to suffering with IBS, make sure you take care of yourself and your gut. Speak up early, completely, and often with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion, either. I ended up doing just that because I wasn’t getting any answers. Unfortunately, this also happens very often and people aren’t satisfied with the care they’ve received from their doctor. I personally felt like my doctor only wanted to give me a new drug every month, and if you know me, I’m not a fan of medicine at all. The doctor wasn’t trying to work with me and figure out more natural ways to approach my IBS, and all she wanted to do was give me prescription after prescription. However, once I switched doctors, he was more than willing to figure out a way to cope wit my IBS more holistically and a way that I was comfortable with.
Don’t be afraid to speak up, trust me. Your health is about YOU, and is not something that should be pushed aside or taken lightly. If you have your own stories, I’d love to hear them below and make sure you join the discussion with using the hashtag #IBSinAmerica. There will also be a Webinar about IBS Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 1pm EST, 12pm Central, 11am Mountain, 10am PST. I encourage anyone suffering or interested in this topic to join, as I will be myself! You can easily register for that HERE.
While all experiences and opinions are my own, this post is sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), which commissioned the “IBS in America” survey, the most comprehensive IBS survey of both patients and physicians ever conducted, polling more than 3,200 sufferers and 300 physicians to better understand this condition, with the financial support of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Allergan plc. For full survey results, visit http://bit.ly/1LwtDgp.