IBS hypochondriac frustration confusion

Has IBS Made Me a Hypochondriac?

Am I a hypochondriac? This is something I often ask myself because IBS certainly makes me conscious of, or perhaps even fixated on, my gut and what is happening in there.

What is a hypochondriac?

A dictionary definition of hypochondria is “an excessive preoccupation with one’s health, excessive worry or talk about one’s health."  A hypochondriac is someone “suffering from hypochondria.” So if I take a look at these simple definitions then a lot of the time I suppose I do worry about my gut health and perhaps even talk about it a lot. So does that make me a hypochondriac?

IBS and hypochondria

When you experience daily IBS symptoms they are a little hard to ignore, especially the pain, or trips to the toilet! I don’t talk about it with everyone I come across, except for some supportive family and friends and especially my husband, he gets to hear all about my concerns, my good days and my bad days.

The tricky thing with IBS is that there is no clear test for it. This means that there are always more tests that could be done, more conditions or diseases that could be ruled out and even more opinions and ideas about the triggers of IBS or what it actually is!

The wandering mind

This means that there is more space for the mind to wander off and think about all the strange and scary possibilities. Have you ever laid in bed at night and wondered if that abdominal pain is actually cancer? Have you ever wondered if you might have something seriously wrong with you that could be life threatening? I have. On a number of occasions. Even after having a surgeon look inside me I still wonder if perhaps they missed some crucial signs and that my health might just deteriorate really rapidly at any moment, landing me in hospital with a new doctor dumbfounded about why the last doctor completely missed that massive tumor?!

When I experience IBS symptoms despite staying away from any triggers, I might think to myself that this means I don’t have IBS, I must have something else. When medication or treatment works for other people but not me I think to myself that I must not have IBS, it much be something much more sinister.

It can take some work to rein in my mind and stop it wandering off. It can often be a daily chore to catch myself “oops there I go again, catastrophizing! I must stop that!”

I sometimes think these thoughts out loud to other people and exclaim that it’s not IBS, I must be dying, what do you think? This usually results in a roll of the eyes, a pat on the back, or sometimes even a “hmm maybe” which never makes me feel at ease!

Hopes and dreams for diagnosis

I really hope that one day there can be a definitive test for IBS. We just give blood, or let someone look inside and then bam, we have a diagnosis, you have IBS! Hooray! Well, I suppose it’s not exactly cause for a party, but at least we will have it confirmed that it is IBS and only IBS and then perhaps we can put our minds at ease and deal with managing IBS and not every other condition or disease that our minds think up, and stop worrying about whether we are hypochondriacs or not!

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