Describing My IBS Pain
My IBS has evolved a lot over the years. It started out with frequent bouts of diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Now, it’s still all those symptoms, but includes back pain, body aches, headaches, and pain in private areas that is sadly hard for me to admit and be open about (not to mention the mental toll this condition takes on me as well). Over the years it has been very hard for me to describe the pain my IBS causes, both for lack of words and because I was really embarrassed to share them. However, now I realize the importance of discussing these issues in detail because raising awareness about my condition helps healthcare professionals, other IBS sufferers, and anyone related to IBS sufferers understand the severity of IBS and act on researching and developing better treatments for people living with this horrible condition. Therefore, in this article I want to share details about some of the physical pain that I endure as an IBS sufferer, and out of curiosity I want to know if any of you can relate, or not.
Here are some of the real painful symptoms that I experience daily…
Pain on the lower left side of my stomach
This dull, cramping pain is always present which makes it hard for me to sleep or be touched on the left side of my body. I noticed that the pain sometimes moves around to the middle or even the right side of my stomach, but for the most part it stays on my left side. I’m not sure if this pain is caused by intestinal blockages, but when I take laxatives or fiber it only gets worse (so I don’t anymore). I wake up constantly throughout the night because of this pain and am not able to move around comfortably as I sleep.
Pain that shoots from my stomach down to my anus
This one is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I feel I must divulge this piece of information in case others experience this as well. To describe in more detail, the pain feels like a sharp knife is slicing through my insides starting from the top of my abdomen down to my anus. It happens so fast and it’s so painful that it literally stops me in my tracks. I can’t even tell you what causes this pain because it happens at the most random moments. From what I’ve read, this mainly happens due to gas, however, I don’t always have gas when this happens. Speaking of gas pain…
Pain caused by gas
This is the kind of pain that not only wakes me up in the middle of the night more than once, but also brings extreme anxiety into my life at the most inconvenient moments. Dealing with IBS, the gas pain gets to be very intense and unbearable at times. The type of gas pain I feel is variable, sometimes I feel like I have an urgent need to use the toilet, but instead it’s just gas. Other times, the gas can be so stubborn that it makes me feel constipated and extremely bloated. Even the act of releasing the gas itself can be painful. Overall, gas can be quite tricky and highly discomforting for me as an IBS sufferer.
Pain in my lower back
I have been suffering intense back pain almost every day due to horrible posture and constant sitting on the toilet. I have to crack my back often throughout the day to relieve the stiffness, which I know only makes the situation worse because I’ll just have to crack it again a few moments later. The back pain also affects my sleep, and as a result I end up sleeping on a wedge pillow for better posture and comfort. I’ve been to chiropractors in the past for this issue, and they tend to help momentarily, however the pain would always come back and $75 per visit adds up extremely fast. Even though I assume I’ll have to deal with back pain for the rest of my life, I am a little hopeful that working on core exercises over the next year will help with this a little.
Pain in my head
The straining and pushing while I’m on the toilet causes me to get intense headaches which affect my eye sight for a very short moment. I guess I could consider them mini-migraines for how painful they can get to be. At times during an intense mini-migraine, I experience black flying specs within my vision and I almost feel like I’m going to pass out, which is something I’m afraid could happen one day.
Literally, almost every time I finish up a bathroom session my body gets extremely weak on me and I have zero motivation to do anything at all but lie down. Granted, there are circumstances when I have no choice but to keep it moving because I have to support my family. However, it is a constant struggle to do so once I’ve used up a lot of energy on the toilet and sometimes, I simply can’t. The extreme fatigue that IBS causes me really holds me back from doing so many things, which gets to be extremely frustrating for me.
I can go on and on about different kinds of pain that I experience due to my IBS, but I want to leave room for you all to provide different perspectives of what we go through as IBS sufferers. Suffering from IBS is a lot more complicated than people think, and I am doing my best to help describe those complexities the best way I can. I believe there’s so much more to IBS that many of us, including experts, don’t understand yet, which is why I believe we should speak up about aspects of our condition that aren’t normally spoken about.
Can any of you IBS sufferers describe pain you experience that isn’t normally discussed in conversation? Please feel free to comment below and thank you for taking the time to read my article.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?