No Matter What Type Of IBS You Have, We’re In The Same Boat
As a reader of IrritableBowelSyndrome.net, you probably know that there are multiple types of IBS. The most well-known types are IBS-D, IBS-C, IBS-M, and sometimes IBS-U, but you may fall into another category as well. Interestingly, while IBS-C and IBS-D are essentially considered opposites, they are really not all that different.
Jealousy of other IBS types
I have been suffering from IBS-C for a very long time. Like many others with IBS-C, I have endured the seemingly endless belly bloat, the discouraging search for comfortable pants, the cramps (oh, the cramps…), and long, achy nights of pain. These horribly uncomfortable symptoms have left me lamenting over my situation and committing the cardinal sin of IBS-C: wishing I had IBS-D.
I’m going out on a limb here to say that most of us with one type of IBS wishes we had another at some point. I mean, it’s hard not to. One of my closest friends has IBS-D and we have talked about our bowel troubles. When she tells me that she has gone to the bathroom 4 times today, I jealously fume over not yet going to the bathroom this week. Conversely, when I say I haven’t gone in a few days, I’m sure she thinks about what a relief that would be.
We each carry our own set of concerns. I worry about a stranger asking me when my baby is due (I’m not pregnant), and she worries about staying hydrated enough to get through the day. I worry about using the bathroom before I leave the house, and she worries about finding a bathroom after she goes out. When I’m at a restaurant, I worry about how much the salt in the food will add to my bloat, and she worries about finding something that won’t immediately send her home.
These worries may appear quite different, but the reality is that they are very much the same.
IBS types are not so different
Whether you have IBS-D, C, M, U, or something else, there are many experiences we share. Most, if not all of us:
- Spend an above-average amount of time in the bathroom. Speaking of which, what’s your favorite form of bathroom entertainment? I thank Silicon Valley for giving me a smartphone so I don’t have to continue reading the back of shampoo bottles.
- Worry about what you eat. Was it too much protein? Not enough fiber? Was the texture right? Who am I kidding – it’s never right!
- Are embarrassed from time-to-time. Whether you’re running out of a meeting for an emergency bathroom break or trying not to reveal yourself as the one who passed gas in the produce aisle, you’ve definitely had an embarrassing moment thanks to your IBS.
- Have felt the pain of unsolicited advice. Everyone has a well-meaning-but-misguided friend who asks if you eat enough salad or drink enough water. Maybe if you did yoga you’d feel better? Um, thanks, but I'm already doing yoga and I still can't poop.
- Have felt a little jealousy. Even thought I hate to admit it, I’ve been jealous of my friend with IBS-D. However, I think we’ve all been jealous of someone who doesn’t have any bowel issues at all!
What are some other shared experiences?
In the end, we are all just a group of people who are bitter about our bowels. We are all searching for relief, solutions, and validation. We want to know that we’re not alone and that other people understand our struggles.
I encourage you to challenge some of the jealousy you may feel of others with different IBS types and instead remind yourself that they are struggling, too. In fact, you may be able to find a poop talk confidant, like I have in my friend with IBS-D.
Do you think there is enough awareness of IBS?