IBS is not something that people really talk about. Let’s be honest here, poo is still a big taboo. Even though EVERYONE does it!
I was diagnosed with IBS almost four years ago. And even though I’ve had it for so long, I’ve only recently felt comfortable to tell people about it.
So, when I heard that blogger and Instagram queen Scarlett London (aka Scarlett Dixon) had written a book about IBS I was over the moon that such an influential person was bringing this illness to people’s attention and also providing helpful advice for those in the same situation.
Scarlett then very kindly gifted me a copy of the book, Tummy Tied, to review and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
A bit of background to my IBS journey
Before I was diagnosed, I had no idea what was going on. I would eat and then immediately have to go to the bathroom (still happens). Then sometimes I would go for days without being able to go.
As soon as I would wake up in the morning I would be in pain from stomach cramps and would drive the hour and 45 minute journey to work with a hot water bottle on my stomach.
I would have hot flushes, dizzy spells (which I now think were related to anxiety attacks about my IBS) and think I was going to pass out. The doctors weren’t really sure what was wrong for a long time as all my symptoms didn’t match up, so in the end I had a heart monitor on (which thankful came back fine).
Due to my family history I then had a colonoscopy which showed I had a pre-cancerous growth. The doctor said that if I hadn’t had it removed it could have become cancerous by the time I was 30. I’m now being monitored for it, which I’m so grateful for (the NHS really is amazing!) but I still have IBS symptoms.
Reading Scarlett’s book – Realising I’m not the only one
As soon as I started reading Scarlett’s book, I felt a sense of relief. I know it sounds strange, but I genuinely felt relieved. Scarlett’s stories about her IBS are similar in many ways to mine. Scarlett has also felt a lot of anxiety about her IBS and it’s so good to know that I’m not the only one!
It’s not just me that works out exactly where the nearest toilet is whenever I go out. It’s not just me that will look up the menu online before I go to a restaurant so I can work out what I can eat. It’s not just me that panics when I’m in a meeting or situation that I can’t easily excuse myself to go to the loo.
I felt like a big weight had been lifted off me reading Tummy Tied. I wish it had been out when I was first diagnosed!
There were things in the book that suddenly made sense. I always have flare ups around my period, which I thought was just down to my own weird body, but apparently, it’s very common for IBS sufferers.
Scarlett also tackles how doctors and loved ones are not always the most considerate when it comes to IBS. Just like Scarlett I’ve had people tell me my IBS is “all in my head” and ask me, in a not very friendly way, “so, what can you eat?” – well, not much, thanks for reminding me FRIEND.
If you have a loved one with IBS, I would definitely recommend reading Tummy Tied. It will help you to understand what they are going through as they might not be able to articulate it, especially at the beginning. I know when my symptoms first started, they were very confusing and I’m pretty sure it was down to a lot of anxiety surrounding my work and personal life at the time.
Finding things to help
Scarlett has included a number of ideas to help people with IBS. Unfortunately, there’s no-one-size-fits-all, but Scarlett has plenty of options that you can try.
Supplements, meal plans, exercise, therapy, medication and meditation – for me it’s been a mix of everything to help with my symptoms, but nothing has completely solved it. I know that mine gets much worse with stress and rich food, and yoga is the BEST thing to stop my cramps.
I now have quite a restrictive diet but most of the time I don’t mind (apart from right now when I’m writing this my boyfriend is eating Chinese takeaway *eye roll*).
If you’re having any changes to your bowel movements, I would say to everyone to go to the doctors first – it’s really important to get things checked out properly. And if you do have an IBS diagnosis then pick up a copy of Tummy Tied and Scarlett will guide you through.
Disclaimer: This was not a sponsored post. I was gifted a copy of the book to write a review but did not receive payment for my blog post. For my full disclaimer policy, click here.