For years I have been suffering from constant stomach cramps and constantly running to the toilet. Not exactly the prettiest way to start, but it’s the truth! I remember times that I would have to skip class because my stomach was so upset. I always thought that I had a really sensitive stomach.

The past few months my stomach has been an absolute mess and I made the decision to finally go to the doctor to figure out what exactly is going on with me. 

Turns out, it wasn’t all in my head. There is something wrong with me and it’s called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I was so happy that I could finally get a diagnosis; that I could finally tell my friends and family: “I am genuinely sick, and I wasn’t making things up these past few years.”

What is IBS?

According to Cleveland Clinic, “IBS is a group of symptoms that affects your digestive system. It’s a common but uncomfortable gastrointestinal disorder. People with IBS get excessive gas, abdominal pain and cramps.”

Different types of IBS

There are different types of IBS:

  1. IBS with constipation (IBS-C): Most of your poop is hard and lumpy. Sometimes you would be in the bathroom for hours hoping for a bit of relief. 
  2. IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): Most of your poop is loose and watery. This had me constantly running to the bathroom at any given moment.
  3. IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): You may experience both diarrhea and constipation. 


Treatment of IBS

My doctor prescribed some medication, and told me that I had to go on a very strict diet for four weeks. Boy, was this difficult. 

There are so many things that I’m not allowed to eat like onions, garlic, certain cheese, no milk. I can’t eat certain veggies or drink certain tea. In fact, the only tea I am allowed to drink is peppermint tea. 

I have to eat gluten-free bread and biscuits; no cake or sweets allowed. And let me tell you that this diet is far from cheap. I bought gluten-free bread for R70! I still cry about it now. 

So why this particular diet you may ask? This diet is called FODMAP.  According to Cleveland Clinic, “FODMAP is an acronym for a certain class of carbohydrates, called fermentable short-chain carbohydrates, which are more difficult for people to digest. (The full acronym stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.)”

Going on this diet helps to relieve some of the symptoms that someone may experience, and it really is helping me. The first few days into the diet I was starting to feel like a normal person again!

Living with IBS

Living with IBS has been really difficult. In the past, I’ve had to cancel plans countless times because my stomach would act up. Naturally, my friends sometimes thought that I was making things up and that I didn’t want to attend events with them. 

Now I can’t go out with friends anymore because watching my friends eat at a restaurant while I can’t indulge has been the worst thing about this whole journey. 

Luckily, I don’t have to be on this diet forever. I will slowly start adding different foods to my diet to see how my stomach reacts.

Trust your gut

What I’ve learnt from my IBS is that I should really trust my gut, literally. It was telling me that I was not okay for years, but I just didn’t listen to it. 

Wish me good luck on my IBS journey and that once I try and go back to normal food I will be okay.


Tell us: Have you heard of IBS before or do you know anyone who suffers from it?

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