alt=a woman thinking about her gut health before IBS.

How Was Your Gut Health Before IBS?

I’m wondering: how was your gut health before IBS? Were you able to eat anything and everything? Or was your digestive system always a problem for you?

My gut health was never great. Only the 'not great' part looked entirely different. During my entire childhood and adolescence, my digestive system has always been my weak spot. This manifested in many different ways over the years.

Motion sickness

I know that motion sickness is very common, but not everyone gets it. I always did. It was so bad that I would regularly throw up on school trips. I was the kid who had to sit right at the front of the bus every time—the kid who tried various types of motion sickness medication and remedies. From homeopathy to chewing gum and sour candy, I've had it all. In the end, the only thing that really helped was getting off the bus.

Throwing up from nerves

I don't know if I've always had anxiety, but I was definitely always prone to stress. Even when I was younger, exams stressed me out so much that I would regularly throw up beforehand. Up until high school, I remember fighting through nausea and a gurgling stomach during every single test.

This got a lot better when I was around 16 years old, even though I was just as anxious about exams as before. Nausea and vomiting just went away over time.

Nausea triggered by fatigue

You usually get enough sleep when you're a child, and your parents are in charge of your schedule. That's why my memories of nausea triggered by fatigue mostly correlate with going on vacation (my parents loved to leave super early in the morning!) or sleepovers.

Being a terrible sleeper, I could never actually fall asleep at a sleepover. I would lie awake for hours, afraid to move because I didn't want to wake anyone. Sometimes I drifted off in the early morning hours, only to wake up again before everyone else and not know what to do with myself.

Not only was I extremely tired the day after a sleepover, but the fatigue also triggered my old friend, nausea. Breakfasts after sleepover parties were the worst for me. Sometimes, I would even throw up, making my friends' parents wonder if I had caught a stomach bug.

Over the years, I tried my hardest to get out of sleepovers altogether. I still do, but now it's because of my IBS.

Morning sickness without pregnancy

I never had breakfast before school, even when I was little. Eating in the morning would make me throw up. I also used to feel sick every morning, so much so that vomiting before school became almost normal to me.

I distinctly remember that my friend in middle school would regularly carry my backpack to class for me in the morning because I was so nauseous. And I can't even tell you how many hours I've spent outside during the first lessons, trying to get a hold of my nausea.

Writing this now, I don't know how this has never seemed strange to anyone. My parents never had me consult a doctor, yet this morning sickness impacted me for years. Maybe I just never told them how bad it was at times.

This morning nausea usually cleared up after an hour or 2. Sometimes it wasn't bad. Very rarely did I have to be sent home, only to feel perfectly fine in the afternoon.

I remember having these issues all throughout middle school. Then they must have stopped. In high school, I mostly threw up after drinking too much.

Then, IBS happened

My constant nausea and sickness disappeared in early adulthood. However, this is when I became more prone to diarrhea and the fun stuff that comes with it. Even before I had IBS, I would use the bathroom at least once a day. I wasn't sick, but I couldn't just go every couple of days like some of my friends.

In my early 20s, my early morning bathroom trips had already begun. These then turned into morning IBS when the illness ultimately started.

One might say that not much has changed over the years for me. My digestive health was never great, and it has always prevented me from doing things. However, having actual IBS is still on another level. I'm just glad that I got to experience childhood, teenage years, and early adulthood without it.

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