I think it was about two years ago now when I noticed something wasn’t right with my stomach. I don’t think it was any coincidence that it became much more problematic for me when I moved in with my boyfriend. I don’t necessarily think the problem got any worse, I just think I had a heightened awareness of how I felt in myself.
The symptoms varied but in reality, it was a daily discomfort. I’d get stomach cramps and felt very uncomfortable after eating. Then, about a week before travelling to Rhodes for a wedding, the symptoms got worse. At the time, I didn’t know that it was related to my digestive system so it was actually slightly concerning. In the space of literally 30 seconds, my stomach went from being relatively flat to looking like I was about six months pregnant. I was so uncomfortable and felt very nauseous. This didn’t subside for the next three days at which point I was bullied into going to the doctors! The doctor did a bit of prodding and poking around my stomach and then came to the not so imaginative conclusion that I was suffering from IBS. Initially he told me to take some Rennie’s…not quite the solution I was looking for as I’d already tried them. So when I pushed back, he prescribed me a stronger antispasmodic medicine. I was instructed to take these for at least 3 weeks.
One week in and I still wasn’t feeling any better. I had absolutely no appetite but felt and looked like I’d just eaten a three course meal. Not ideal when you’re on holiday and hoping to live in a bikini the whole time! On the third day of the holiday, Chris and I went down to the beach. I had some fruit for breakfast but couldn’t stomach any lunch (not unusual when the weather’s so hot anyway). It got to mid afternoon and I really wasn’t feeling well. I walked to the bar to get some water. Standing in the queue, my vision became very blurred and I felt my legs starting to shake. I felt my way to a chair and sat down. I was sweating profusely and looked like I had just come out of the sea! It was only after a couple of minutes when my vision started to return that I realised I had gatecrashed a poor lady eating her lunch!
I walked to the toilet which was round the back of the bar. Once in there, I collapsed on the floor. It was the most scary experience, not to mention disgusting as I was surrounded by ants!
After that point I forced myself to eat, despite feeling like I was just piling more food on top of an already full belly. It was around 2 – 3 weeks before I started to feel back to normal.
It wasn’t until around a month ago that the same symptoms happened again (so about eight months after the first ‘episode’). Again, it was exactly the same…in a matter of seconds my stomach ballooned. I can’t explain how uncomfortable it is and how it makes you feel, not just physically but also mentally. So this time, I decided I needed to do something about it (Chris might have had something to do with this decision too!).
I started researching IBS and a lot of the information out there understandably suggests that diet has a lot to do with it. Makes sense. However, who can be bothered to write a food diary and look for trends?! Certainly not me.
A while back Chris took a York Test – a FoodScan Programme which analyses your IgG reaction to 113 foods. At the time, I scoffed at the price: £250! I’ve never been very good at spending (what I consider) large amounts of money on myself so when Chris first did the test, I never thought of actually doing it myself. However, as time went on and my symptoms got worse, I decided that if £250 can help me to eliminate foods that I’m intolerant to, it’s well worth the price tag.
So I splashed out… read my next post to see my results!