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Getting Dressed with IBS

We all know the physical discomfort we face during an IBS flare-up, but one of the worst feelings for me is when it happens while traveling for work, and I suddenly don't fit in my pants anymore.

Work travel clothing

I get to fly a lot and work in different countries, which does not help my gut, even though I try my best to maintain some habits. Being in different time zones, food I'm not used to, and very stressful work situations sharpen my symptoms.

The environments I visit for work are usually very formal and require a specific appearance.

I always carry my regular office clothing, as the minimalist that I am (or try to be!), and the fact that I've been in the same weight span for the past 10 years, I don't buy new clothing unless I'm forced to.

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My issue is that I don't fit in my trousers during an IBS attack, or I feel like I'm exploding in them. The pain is real, it extends up to my abdomen, and I feel like I'm suffocating.

It is such an unpleasant feeling. In my job, when I meet business partners and clients, I have to be focused and attentive, and IBS gets in the way of my productivity.

And if the discomfort is not enough, I look and feel SO bloated in my face, my chest, my arms, my legs. I have this image in my head where I'm like one of those salamis I've always seen hanging from my grandma's cellar. At least I laugh about it!

Getting dressed with IBS

When I'm sitting in the office, it's the worst feeling. I feel cut in half, my gut grumbles, and I sweat like I'm feeling sick soon.

Getting dressed with IBS has become such a nightmare. At the beginning of my journey with this condition, when I did not know what I had and how to fix it, I ended up in baggy and unflattering clothes.

I am petite, and I looked ridiculous. My parents didn't recognize me. In Italy, we are unconsciously always "stylish," and I wasn't myself anymore.

IBS just changed me. I did not feel comfortable and confident leaving the house anymore, and I did not fit in my clothes as I had for 10 years. I then decided to renew a whole section of my wardrobe: more oversized shirts and trousers with elastic waists.

But this just bothered me. I always paid attention to maintaining a healthy weight and life and wanted to feel good in my skin until IBS appeared and changed everything.

Now I learned to embrace this new part of my life as I try my best to avoid new flares, I found clothing that might not make me look my best, but at least they are good looking comfortable.

It has been – and still is – a journey of getting to know my body, rhythm, and needs, but I'm open to it now. Instead of complaining and getting angry at myself (making the situation worse), I breathe through it to remind myself that I'm doing a great job and I won't let IBS define me.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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