The unpredictability of your next bowel movement means no peace of mind in your day-to-day living, always anxious as to when, or if, another IBS episode will strike. And that’s to say nothing of the embarrassment IBS symptoms can cause, making the stomach condition physically and mentally draining.
This is how IBS can affect various areas of your life, and our recommendations on how to alleviate your anxieties and discomfort in order to live (and eat!) life to the fullest.
Ensuring your IBS symptoms don’t impact your social life is important to your mental well being.
Now, you could try to hide your IBS ‘secret’ with Cinderella-like, I-have-to-be-out-by-midnight excuses, or you could be open and honest with your friends about your IBS symptoms. Tell them you’ll need access to bathrooms, may only be able to meet at certain times, and to expect last minute cancellations every now and then. If they’re you’re real friends, they’ll understand and support you.
One of the best cures for anything is laughter, so some self-depreciative humor about your IBS symptoms will not only make your friends more comfortable, but make you comfortable in your own shoes. Here are our favorites:
Depending on your profession, the uncertainty of an IBS flare up may make it difficult to meet the demands of your job.
Ideally, you’ll be open with your boss about your condition and how it can affect meetings or project deadlines. Hopefully you’ll be able to work together in putting together a work schedule that’s suitable for the company, and flexible to your health needs.
IBS is covered in the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning you should be afforded fair accommodations to balance the requirements of your job and your physical condition.
IBS can take its toll on your sex life whether you’re single or in a relationship. It’s hard to ‘get in the mood’ when you’re in discomfort, and the thought of potentially getting messy while you’re getting dirty is off-putting.
Like any strong relationship, communication is key. Be upfront up about your situation so your partner knows you recognize his or her needs; don’t forget you can be romantic and intimate in non-physical ways, too.
If you’re single and jumping into the dating pool, IBS doesn’t make you undesirable, but things do get tougher. You’ll need to gauge when the best time to tell them about your IBS symptoms is (i.e. not when they ask, ‘so tell me about yourself’ on the first date). From a glass half-full perspective, this can be a litmus test as to whether that person is the right match for you – if he or she is supportive and understanding, you’ve got a winner.
Family get-togethers, meal times, and holidays can all be impacted by IBS symptoms, but that shouldn’t deter you from spending valued time with your loved ones.
More so than anyone, these are the people that should have your back unconditionally. You have a condition, and hopefully they’re receptive to that, scheduling events at times and in places that meet your IBS needs.
At holidays and family meals, make your hosts aware of your food intolerances, and if they can prepare Low FODMAP alternatives. If you’re unsure where to find Low FODMAP recipes, we’ve amassed a large collection of Low FODMAP favorites, from breakfast to dessert.