Updated: May 18, 2020
Ask anyone with chronic abdominal pain and a plethora of symptoms that all focus around our digestive system, if they would consider IBS a the minor issue that the media and medical system make it out to be, and they’d probably scratch your eyes out.
WHAT IS A SYNDROME?
According to Merriam-Webster, it is a group of signs or symptoms; that is all – not a disease, not a diagnosis per se. It is a collection of signs and symptom sets, so it can be thoughts, emotions, feelings, outward appearance, sensory reactions and yes, even visible/obvious symptoms; but can be part of many disease states, and is not necessarily a disease in and of itself. Usually given to states that cannot be tested for or diagnosed.
SO WHAT IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?
IBS – as a GP friend once happily told me – is a collection of symptoms that basically mean abdominal pain that is unexplained. Wow, what a very simple explanation – the truth is, there is much, much more to it – and medicine is failing millions, if not billions of sufferers around the world. And yet, I would consider IBS is a friend – because without these symptoms, you would not even realise there is anything amiss. The truth here is that your body has most likely been trying to tell you since you were born but it wasn’t until the pain and other symptoms got to the point they would no longer be ignored, that you took yourself off to the doctor and were told that you have IBS.
While it can be part of many genetic or pathological diseases such as Crohn’s or Coeliac disease, it can be just the body’s pre-warning system – one that is usually ignored until symptoms develop into another diagnosis such as bowel cancer or diverticulitis.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS AND WHEN TO TAKE ACTION
Most people will go home happy in the knowledge they finally have a diagnosis; and are happy to go on, take a pill for the pain and do nothing else. At least until the symptoms worsen to the point that their digestive system is literally dying. Then your doctor may well tell you that you have ulcers or cancer or need a colostomy bag. Yes, it really is that bad. See why IBS is your friend? It’s time to take action.
Let’s follow the timeline of your IBS. During gestation, most women find it okay to eat for two. That old wive’s tale is just that; she is not eating for two. In fact, the growing baby only needs nutrients, not food. The bulk of that food will sit on the mother's hips and sadly stay there. But that is another story entirely. The growing baby only needs a good balance of nutrients; that is why expectant mothers who take wholefood supplements and plant based diets eventually give birth to healthier babies than those who do not.