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The Obstacles We Face on the IBS Journey

So many of us have truly been on quite a life-journey due to irritable bowel syndrome. Some of us go through incredible life changes, to say the least. Some may have had moments when we were forced to get to know ourselves better, which can be kind of mortifying when you’ve been stuck with an illusion you created about yourself for a long time. Nonetheless, I think there are many common obstacles we all face on this journey of having IBS.

For that reason, I want to list out some obstacles that I’ve dealt with personally in hopes that others may be able to relate:

  • Irregular bowel movements that can become very painful and embarrassing at times, or many times.
  • Constant nausea and gas pain that make you feel like you’re incapable of doing much in life.
  • Constant fatigue and body aches that make you feel a lot older and fragile than you actually are.
  • Having to cancel on friends and family because of the horrible and hard-to-explain symptoms.
  • Calling out of work often due to the difficulty of getting off the toilet in a timely manner every morning.
  • Lowered sex libido because the abdominal pain can easily outweigh the excitement and/or pleasure.
  • Seeing a number of doctors/specialists who waste your time during appointments.
  • Dealing with doctors who don’t take you or your pain seriously.
  • Getting a number of tests and procedures are done that in a weird way disappoint you because the results keep coming back negative and you just want to figure out what is going on with you.
  • Not knowing what is causing your pain leads to deep depression.
  • Not knowing what is causing your pain makes you look and seem incredible and untrustworthy to many of your friends and family members.
  • Not knowing what is causing your pain has affected a number of your coworkers’ perception of you and has also caused you to burn many bridges over time.
  • Having to drop out of college or quit a job because you couldn’t figure out what was causing your pain or how to properly manage what you were dealing with at the time.
  • After many years, you finally get an official diagnosis of IBS, but that doesn’t change the deep depression and hardships you’ve been through prior and are still facing.
  • Now that you know what you have, you have to adjust to a new learning curve in life. In other words, learning how to properly manage your condition, and health overall.
  • Struggling for a very long time to manage your condition properly while trying to balance a normal lifestyle.
  • Realizing you may need to make some drastic lifestyle changes that could possibly affect your family, social, and work-life even more, but is necessary in order to do what is best for you and your health.
  • The list continues…

My IBS journey has helped me evolve

When I read through these obstacles or experiences I’ve faced throughout my IBS journey, I realize I’ve endured, fought, and survived through quite a few challenges in my life, and that’s not even half of what I’ve been through. But, I also can’t help but think of others with IBS who have possibly faced something similar or maybe even more extreme. Nonetheless, although having IBS can certainly put one through a turmoil of obstacles in life, it can also help one evolve into a person who learns how to best care and advocate for themselves.

Can any of you relate to many of the obstacles I’ve faced in my life? Do you notice a commend trend of hardships among many IBS sufferers? Please feel free to share it in the comment section below! Thanks!

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.


  • Elizabeth Alvarez moderator
    7 hours ago

    I can so relate. I was let go from a job because I literally spent half my day in the bathroom. It was horrible.

    Literally, everything you listed I can relate to. IBS is hard.

    Elizabeth (team member)

  • lukylady33
    5 days ago

    Not being able to go somewhere where there isn’t a bathroom.

    Frustrated that there isn’t any medication that can help IBS-D.

    Having to wear diapers (especially in the summertime).


    I can relate.

  • HessP moderator author
    4 days ago

    Those circumstances can certainly be added to our experience with this chronic illness, @lukylady33. I’m sorry you can relate to my article, but I do hope you feel a sense of less loneliness and more support from our community. Please know we’re all in this fight together and keep up the great fight! Best -Hess, Team

  • JudyM
    5 days ago

    Omg! I am so there for most of it. Especially the doctor appointment piece and the tests. Five whole years of test and more tests to be told it’s nothing to then finding out you have Crohns disease which I probably have had all my life. So very frustrating and can really relate. Many lifestyle changes have been made and more to make

  • Elizabeth Alvarez moderator
    7 hours ago

    I too was diagnosed with Crohn’s. It can be so frustrating to get a diagnosis. I’m sorry it took so long for you. I hope you are doing well these days.

    Elizabeth (team member)

  • tmholland moderator
    5 days ago

    Hi @JudyM,

    Glad you could relate. As usual, I’m impressed with your positive attitude and willingness to keep the fight alive :-). Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I hope you are well today. -Todd, Team

  • JudyM
    5 days ago

    Today is a good day. In prednisone so anything is good. Lots of energy and hungry constantly. I still have a hard time with this good for periods of time then wow it hits like a truck load of bricks considering 5 years ago I had never missed a day of work except when we all had the norovirus. That’s the hard part. I still say there has to be a reason that is not good related entirely for the problem. I have always been active and outside on the go so this whole bathroom thing is now a big cramp in my lifestyle but oh well move on!
    Hope you are doing equally as well

  • jo5781
    2 weeks ago

    You have touched on exactly what it feels like to live with IBS. I cant count the times I have made up stories to friends and family because the embarrassment of telling the truth is something I don’t want to say, nor do I believe others really want to hear. I know my best friend tries but the she really doesn’t get it. We used to have a good time going out for a few drinks but I have found that this doesn’t always agree with me. I know that she means well but when she says things like “My stomach hurts too but I just live with it, if I want to eat something I just do and than I pay the price the next day.” She doesn’t understand that I pay the price for a week. That to regulate myself after eating or drinking something “bad” isn’t worth it when I I can become sick for no good reason. I feel like others look at me as if I am a wimp so I would rather not socialize when I’m not feeling well. My husband understands me the best because he sees what I go through on a daily basis. I suffer from anxiety at times due to this illness. I can now see that my physical issues can make me anxious believing that things are worse than they really might be. I can become depressed at times when I know in my heart that I have done everything I can to prevent having an episode and yet it happens anyways. It can be a vicious cycle. Accupuncture was very helpful but too costly. Hypnotherapy has also been helpful and at least insurance covers that. I can go on and on with this but this site at least makes me feel like I am not alone. Being alone with this illness is a very lonely place, but being able to share my thoughts is very helpful. I know this sounds depressing but I do have decent periods of time. I have a new normal and that’s life. Otherwise I am healthy and that is what I am grateful for. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Elizabeth Alvarez moderator
    7 hours ago

    Thank you for sharing. So many of us can relate. IBS is such a hard journey to endure. I too struggle with the mental aspect of it, which not many talk about.

    I hope you are finding relief from symptoms these days. Rooting for you!

    Elizabeth (team member)

  • HessP moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Hi, @jo5781! I’m glad my article resonated with you in a way where you feel less alone. Please know that so many of us here understand your experience and we’re all in this fight together. I appreciate you sharing things you’ve tried to help with your condition, which shows you’re not giving up on your health and putting up a great fight. All we can do is our best and our best is ALWAYS enough. Also, I’m glad to hear that you have a supportive husband who understands because sometimes we can use that understanding during the most difficult times. This is a challenging road for many of us. But, thanks to certain loved ones and online communities like this one, we don’t have to maneuver it alone.

    If you ever want to share or vent again in the future, please never hesitate to do so. For future reference, here is the link to the page where you can post your story on our site: We always welcome our community members to share their experience, so we definitely look forward to hearing more from you. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article! Keep fighting the great fight and know that we’re always here for you!

    Hess, Team

  • jo5781
    2 weeks ago


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