IBS Affects Our Quality of Life
Last updated: March 2022
We have all heard the old adage "quality over quantity." I am a strong believer that quality of life is extremely important, and IBS greatly impacts our quality of life. Unfortunately, there seems to be little some of us can do to improve it.
Our daily struggles tend to be dismissed. Doctors ignore us. Friends and family do not understand. It seems the entire world feels like it is no big deal. Why do people ignore or minimize our suffering?
IBS-D is more than just diarrhea
I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone describe my IBS-D woes as "just diarrhea." They treat it like it is an occasional issue and I should be able to carry on with daily life. People think it is as simple as just finding a bathroom while I am out for the day. That is not how it works.
Urgency is a big issue, and this can result in accidents. It happens so fast that accidents can occur. There is not always enough time to find a bathroom. Locating a bathroom is the first thought when you visit a new place. There is a constant fear of being unable to get to a bathroom in time. It is enough to keep someone from leaving home unless necessary.
Dealing with IBS-D woes
Aside from worrying over getting to a bathroom in time, I often have to severely limit my diet. I often have to fast in order to leave the house. While we are sitting at a restaurant or I am at your home for a gathering where food is being served, I will often pass on eating. Do not push.
In order to leave home, I had to starve and will continue to starve until I can return home. While I am starving, I am forced to watch you eat. This is torture to someone who is dealing with serious hunger pangs. This all impacts my quality of life. In order to have a normal day away from home, I must starve and watch others eat while I starve.
IBS-C is more than just constipation
I have IBS-M, so I have bouts of IBS-D and IBS-C. Constipation is not the only issue with IBS-C. It is more than enough to deal with on its own, but it is so much more. This is not an occasional bout of constipation.
This is relentless, repetitive bouts that are far worse than just not being able to go. It is the type of constipation that can land you in the hospital. It is severe enough to cause physical injuries. This is constipation you have nightmares about. Aside from constipation, we also have great things like severe cramps, extreme bloating, severe nausea, and more.
The impact on quality of life
Any form of IBS is more than "just diarrhea" or "just constipation." We often must restrict our diet to be able to leave home. We starve or pay the consequences. Some of us suffer from malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies due to uncontrollable IBS. Most of us deal with chronic pain.
Every trip must be planned out. We need to know where the bathrooms are. We need to know how quickly we can get there, or we may not be able to leave home at all. Sometimes our pain is so great that we cannot drag ourselves out of the house. Just wearing clothes hurts.
IBS makes the days very long
Every meal and every outing of every day require some thought. Ignoring it all and going out on a whim can lead to embarrassing accidents, crippling pain, or torturous meals. It is not fun to constantly worry about making a path to the bathroom while watching others eat and feeling like a monster is clawing its way out of my innards. It is not fun having to plan days in advance in order to leave the house. I need to fast for 24 hours beforehand and can only eat once I return home. Can you imagine how hard that is while I watch you eat?
Our quality of life is greatly impacted, and the world seems to minimize our plight. Please be considerate of our suffering. How does IBS affect your quality of life? I would love to hear about your experience.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?