If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) you are NOT alone. To do our part in helping spread further awareness about IBS during April’s IBS Awareness Month, we are sharing different stories of various individuals who have IBS (both with constipation (IBS-C) and diarrhea (IBS-D)). First up, we’d like to introduce you to Hailey!
Name: Hailey Location: Toronto Instagram: @hailmast
What symptoms do you experience with IBS?
I have IBS-C so my experience consists of a lot of abdominal distention/bloating, as well as inflammation and constipation.
What has been the hardest challenge with IBS?
Coming to terms with accepting this as my new ‘normal’. I spent 22 years never thinking about what went in or out of my body, and now it’s always at the forefront of my mind. I still find myself trying to find ways to make my body behave the way it once did, but I know that what I need to do is nurture and care for how my body reacts now.
What has having IBS taught you?
That your gut health and your mental health are so connected. When I’m having a good IBS day I am in the best mood, but when the opposite is true I find myself so down in the dumps. Having this negative mindset then makes me fall off my diet because I think “What’s the point”, or I get more stressed, which only leads to further stomach complications.
How do you manage having IBS on a daily basis?
I try to follow a low FODMAP diet about 90% of the time and I avoid bananas and dairy. I take a pill called Constella, that increases fluid in the digestive track and helps with bloating. I use a powdered fibre called IBS Relief in my coffee every morning, and I work with a naturopath and am always trying out different naturopathic remedies. Currently I take Prokine to help with my gut motility, and Livton to increases my bile acid secretions. I also get acupuncture that focuses on my gut motility and I really recommend it!
What’s your one “pro-tip” for living with IBS?
Talk about it! Don’t shy away to open up and share what you’re going through. I have met so many people through being open about my journey, and more often than not you’ll find that the majority of the people you’re surrounded by are going through similar things. By staying silent you’re depriving yourself of making connections and finding answers.
What do you wish people knew more about with regards to IBS?
Not all IBS is the same. Before I was diagnosed I only knew of IBS in the classic comedy punchline of it being a lot of pooping all of the time. IBS-D, IBS-C, and IBS-M all exist and all come with their own unique set of challenges and barriers to overcome to feel confident in your body.