Cleanliness and IBS
Last updated: August 2018
Does IBS make you feel dirty? It makes me feel dirty sometimes. No, it does… I know I’m an adult and that I should not ‘feel dirty’ just because I have bathroom problems. But, I do… Anybody else feel this way? I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that someone else out there feels this way. The unfortunate thing is that I thought that I had this way of thinking about my IBS under control, but then it came back. And so, as with many IBS issues, I had to go back to the drawing board to get stop this way of thinking about myself, because it was starting to destroy my confidence and self-esteem.
‘IBS dirty’ syndrome
I first experienced the ‘IBS dirty’ syndrome when I was first diagnosed. I felt labeled. It comes down to the idea that you are not your illness. But, sometimes this is sometimes easier said than done, especially with something like IBS that involves bathroom problems. The worse your condition, the worse you feel. This started to affect my self-confidence, my self-esteem and my ideas about my ‘sexual’ self…my attractiveness and viability as a partner. While, in reality, IBS really didn’t really directly affect the attributes that much, or at all, in a lot of cases. Even still, I continued to feel this way. It was in my head. Therefore, I needed to make some changes to make this unclean feeling go away. I tried lots of things, some worked, some didn’t. I will share the things that worked for me, but as usual, what works for one person does not work for all. So, if you are experiencing that unclean IBS feeling, try a bunch of things that you think might work and I promise you’ll find something.
Tips and tricks
First off, let’s go simple. I shower at least three times a day, whether my IBS is acting up or not. Sometimes I take baths to mix things up, but what I'm trying to accomplish and promote is a feeling of cleanliness that not only keeps me feeling fresh and rejuvenated, but also helps alleviate some of that ‘dirty’ thought process. Buying new undergarments and some new clothes regularly also helps. I realize that this can be expensive, but sometimes your mental health is worth the money. What else? Fresh haircut (I cut my own, weekly), nails trimmed, some soaps and creams that make me feel good. I carry wipes with me so that even if I have a bad ‘episode’ while I’m out, I can take care of myself and not have to worry about walking around the rest of the day feeling uncomfortable. The last thing I’ll mention is the importance of exercise in this case. If you feel good about how your body looks, you are going to be less susceptible to the ‘dirty’ thought process.
As I said, there are lots of things you can try. Everything from massages to aromatherapy can help with this particular issue. With just a little bit of work and awareness, I think we have a pretty good chance at getting past this particular IBS hurdle.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?