Sensitive Stomach – A Byproduct Of IBS?
Last updated: September 2023
I’ve known for a while that I can’t stand having my belly constricted. That’s why I’ve always avoided tight waistbands, pants without stretch, and even sucking in – all of these just make me feel plain miserable. But I’ve never noticed just how sensitive my stomach was until my grandma decided to gift me pajamas for Christmas.
Now, I personally don’t consider pajamas to be investment pieces and have just been using hand-me-downs from my mom, who loves buying new PJs. I’m one or two sizes smaller than my mom, and I’ve always enjoyed how comfy and non-constricting those hand-me-downs were.
My grandma, however, bought my regular size, which fits me perfectly. Unfortunately, it also upsets my stomach within minutes.
My stomach is the weak link
I think that lots of people have "weak links" when it comes to their health. A friend of mine always gets migraines whenever she forgoes her routine. Another friend catches every cold there is within a 1-mile radius. For me, it’s always been my digestive system.
When I was younger, I was sick to my stomach every single morning. I regularly threw up before school or even in school. It got especially bad when I didn’t sleep enough or when I was nervous or stressed. Basically, it was just like my IBS-D now. Only the food came out the other way.
Now, I still catch every stomach flu. And no matter what sickness I get, it always affects my digestion. For example, I always throw up and get diarrhea when I have a fever. Or a migraine. I got mastitis while breastfeeding – which has nothing at all to do with digestion – and I was still throwing up.
But it’s not just that. My stomach is so incredibly sensitive that I apparently cannot bear to wear normal-sized clothing on it, either.
Going up multiple sizes
This pajama incident really got me thinking. It made me realize just how much IBS affects my life, even the way I dress. Most of my clothes (especially bottoms) are at least one size bigger than I would otherwise need, a lot of them even two or three sizes bigger. I buy jeans, shorts, and skirts in a medium or large when I could definitely fit into a small. I never use belts because what’s the point when my bloated belly does a perfectly fine job at keeping my pants in place?
My partner sometimes complains that I always buy my clothes too big. That I never emphasize my waist – which, on the very rare occasion when I’m not bloated, actually exists – without realizing that I physically cannot bear to wear clothes that are "my size." I recently even started wearing lower-rise pants again because it’s just more comfortable for my belly.
And it’s not like "normal"-sized clothing is all that tight on me. But as long as something presses on my belly, ever so lightly, it hurts after a while. The waistbands I wear basically just stand next to me, which is why I always tuck in my shirts, so they actually stay up. (Tucked-in shirts add a bit of cushion, too!)
Pressure on my stomach is unbearable
It’s not just clothes, either. I can’t have anything pressing on my belly. Whenever I babywear, my stomach starts complaining right away. After giving birth, I tried to use a belly band, but we can all imagine how long that lasted (like 3 minutes). As of now, I’m just glad that women nowadays aren’t required to wear a corset because I would have been doomed.
It goes so far that whenever I’m bloated, I can’t even sleep on my stomach but have to turn to the side instead, which is very hard for me, being a notorious stomach sleeper!
I’m not sure if this is a byproduct of IBS, but I feel like it is. I know that I never used to size up before, even though my digestive system has always been very sensitive. I also don’t remember getting as terribly bloated when I was younger since I often wore tighter clothing, and it never bothered me.
The strange part is that my stomach is always sensitive, even when I do not have any symptoms. I could be feeling great, but put a tight waistband on me, and I’ll get uncomfortable in no time.
Does anyone else experience this? If yes, please let me know if you have any tips!
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?