Feeling Represented on Social Media with IBS

In this world of influencers, I never felt like I had a representative for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

As a petite person with an average weight, I expected to easily find clothes that fit me well. Surprise, surprise! When I looked for outfit inspirations, all I could find were people rocking tight pants and clothing.

IBS and clothing sizes

In my "normal" state, regular-sized clothes fit me perfectly. But when I'm bloated, it's like I expand in every direction! I always found this interesting because I thought bloating would only show on the front. I was wrong, it makes its presence known on the sides too. Is it because of my body shape? Or is it because it's the first area where I gain weight?

It took a lot of patience and self-acceptance to start buying clothes that are more about comfort than flaunting my figure. However, last weekend, I went shopping and found THE dress – my wedding dress.

Bloating on special days

While trying on gorgeous gowns, my focus was on my stomach the whole time. The idea that I might be bloated due to the excitement of the day, is a real concern.

This idea frustrated me. I refuse to let IBS control our special day, even though it influenced my choice of the dress. Don't get me wrong – I picked a dress that makes me feel special and makes my eyes sparkle, but IBS still dominated my judgment.

IBS on social media

Finding content that represented my needs has been a struggle, not just for bridal dresses but everyday outfits too – until I discovered a British influencer.

Her content is SO refreshing. She posts complete outfits, along with tips and tricks on dressing comfortably yet fashionably. A recent cool trick she shared is about wearing maternity stockings – a strange solution at first as I always used this garment for containing bloating and imperfections. Her substitute is smart, a simple pair of maternity stocking, can accommodate a bloated stomach, without compromising the comfort.

I'm open to alternatives, therefore, I tried this method. The Italian saying goes, "chi bella vuole apparire, un po' deve soffrire," which translates to "who wants to look beautiful, needs to suffer a bit,", but for me it is O.V.E.R.

This lady even features comfortable elastic skirts, pants, dresses, and compares products with a friend, in different sizes.

It's refreshing to see someone online who looks like me. The influencer openly discuss her issues and suggesting ways to navigate everyday life with IBS and a "normal" body.

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The impact of inclusivity

In this era of social media, feeling represented is more important than ever. Not only that, it's a smart move for companies to promote products for niches that might otherwise struggle to reach them.

I genuinely believe that using social media in this way is smart and inclusive. We all belong to a niche – tall, short, petite, different skin colors, hair type, personal styles. For this reason, I'm grateful that more and more people, with more self-confidence than me, are opening up about this topic.

I feel understood, knowing someone else is going through the same struggles, and that there are solutions to look and feel cute regardless.

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