What Is Your Gut Trying To Tell You?

What Is Your Gut Trying To Tell You?

Sunday nights were the worst. I dreaded thinking about the hours left in the day that would bring me closer to Monday and to work. My belly was twisted in knots at the thought of the week ahead.

My demanding job

In the beginning, I really enjoyed my job and I was so happy to have finally ‘made it.’ I was working at a reputable organization in the dispute resolution field, I was finally earning good money, I had good conditions, my colleagues were welcoming and supportive and I was good at it. But I pushed myself too hard, I would get in to the office early, work, eat at my desk or on a quick lunch break, then right back to it and by the time I got home I was too exhausted to do much but lie on the couch and watch TV. The toll of being in a high pressure, highly emotive environment, coupled with my need to succeed, gradually took its toll on my health. I was suffering from chronic stress and I was burnt out and I didn’t know what to do about it. I began to dread going to work.

It took some time, maybe a year or more of trying frustratingly to resolve my digestive issues before I linked work as one of the causes. Sometimes the IBS symptoms would appear as soon as I was settled in for the day, sometimes not until after lunch, but I realised that it was generally linked to a stressful situation at work that would increase my heart rate, create a lump in my belly and make me sweat.

I still experienced the bloating, the abdominal pain and discomfort, the constipation and occasional diarrhea at home, on the weekends and during time away from work, but I began to take better notice of it at work. I had already made the decision to change my career path and my employer had been accommodating so that I could fit in my studies. However, because I began to realize that work was having an impact on the digestive issues that I was desperately trying to fix, it made going to work that much worse.

A new role came up with less stress and less responsibility and I took it but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I couldn’t work there if I really wanted to resolve my IBS issues. I stayed for another year because I needed the money and I wasn’t ready to give up that part of my life and I thought that things would get better eventually.

I quit!

It came to a head when I realized that I couldn’t juggle my studies and my job anymore and I knew that I had to resign and focus on my new career. It was still very hard to make the decision to leave. I worked so hard for this career but deep inside I also knew that if I stayed I would be giving up a chance to finally resolve my digestive issues.

Within two weeks of finishing at work my symptoms had improved significantly. I had already been following the low FODMAP diet and figuring out which foods were affecting me. However, once I stopped work it was like something had been released from deep inside, the knots unravelled, the pain dissipated and my bowels started moving again. I felt a sense of release from the constraints of a job I grew to hate. I still need to watch what I eat and I still need to focus on managing stress, but removing that one big obstacle was a major turning point in regaining my health.

Do you feel the same about your job, or is there something else in your life that makes your symptoms worse? What is your gut trying to tell you?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (9)
  • maurbren
    1 year ago

    I was diagnosed with IBS-D a little over two years ago. It is the most bizarre condition I have ever experienced. My symptoms are definitely worse in the morning and literally as I am walking to the door to leave for work, my stomach goes into a knot and I have to run to the bathroom two, three or four times before I can leave the house. Then I am usually good for the rest of the day. My doctor and I at first thought this was some work related stress trigger (even though I do not feel at all stressed at work) but now I realize it happens when I am leaving to go anywhere, a nail appointment, hair appointment, dentist, doctor, etc., things that are not at all stressful (it even happened while on vacation). I take one Bentyl and one Immodium first thing in morning and this at least allows me to make the 45-60 minute commute to work without having to stop somewhere. When I get to where I am going, my symptoms mostly resolve. I do get occasional bloating/gas pains in the afternoon which is troublesome. Is anyone else experiencing this?? Is this what is referred to as the mind/gut connection??

  • peg215
    1 year ago

    My IBS was worse when I was working, but even after retiring, it persists. I am so tired all the time. It’s been over 20 years, it’s just gotten much worse in the last few years.

  • Hannah Noonan moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’m sorry to hear that it has gotten worse for you Peg215 after retiring, I hope you find some relief soon. If we can help you with any information please let us know – Hannah (www.IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team)

  • HaleyTheDogMom
    1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am actually going through a very similar time with my job. A position just came up with less hours and less responsibility still doing the job I love (minus the paperwork that stresses me out) and I hope it will help with my symptoms. I am also going back to school full time when the part time position begins. We will see how long my body lets me juggle both.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Haley,

    Thanks for commenting! That’s great to hear that you have an employment opportunity with less stress! Good luck with the job and going back to school. Keep us posted on your journey!

    Take care,
    Chris, IrritableBowelSyndome.net Team Member

  • HaleyTheDogMom
    1 year ago

    It has been a while but I completely switched careers and it has made a huge difference. This new environment has created healthier habits and I have had less flare ups. When I get one it isn’t near as awful or as long to recover. I seem to struggle more now with the anxiety and depression associated with my IBS revolving around the worry of when it will show itself. A job change has been so good!
    Thanks again for sharing!

  • Chris Hall moderator
    1 year ago

    Glad you’re back, Haley! Congrats on the new job!! Really glad to hear that it’s made a positive impact on your symptoms. Thanks for taking the time to share! – Chris, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team Member

  • HessP moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for sharing your story! I definitely have felt the same about my previous jobs. In fact, I have lost three jobs because of the fact that I couldn’t manage the stress, and it felt like my IBS was getting worse and worse. I guess by the third job my gut was trying to tell me that this lifestyle is not for me.

  • Hannah Noonan moderator author
    3 years ago

    Work stress plays such a big role in IBS doesn’t it! It took me a while to learn this, but I realised that it’s so important to listen to your gut! I’ve been feeling so much better since changing careers and hopefully you do too.

  • Poll