So every so often I want to write a Health post, because I think it's so important that we take care of ourselves, especially young people as we are exposed to so many grimy things that it's vital that we are vigilant about our health.
Today, I wanted to briefly talk about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Grim, right? But as alarming as it sounds, this a stress-related syndrome effects 1 in 5 sixteen to twenty-five year-olds, and even though you may not be aware of the fact that it's an actual condition, you may well have suffered the symptoms.
Well, let's not beat about the bush, the main symptoms are flatulence, stomach pain, constipation, bloating and diarrhea. Sufferers often experience episodes which can last for anything from a day to weeks where they will go through Bowel Hell, constantly clutching their stomachs, running to the toilets and trying to conceal what is a very embarrassing illness from their friends and families. It must be crap... LITERALLY :) On a more serious level, as I said there are a ton of young people affected by it and because they spend so long concealing it, they don't stop to wonder how to treat it.
That's where I come in :) I've been researching it because between you and me, I've had a bit of stomach trouble recently, due presumably to the stress of moving home after my summer abroad and preparing for my final year at university. When I looked into it I found that IBS (as it is known among us sufferers) is caused by a number of things but the top two things are 1) Stress and 2) Food intolerance and more often than not these two will work in tandem... if you are stressed, it's likely that you will develop a food intolerance.
Now, my first thought was, 'I'm not even stressed though!' And yet it would seem that if you are someone who does in fact feel relaxed during situat
ions that would usually irritate others, your bowels may take the stress without you even knowing (until later of course when you are sat on the toilet for three hours... in extreme cases.)
So what are we supposed to do about it? There are three solutions:
1) Primarily it's a case of realizing that despite the fact that we may not feel like 'Real Grown-Ups' yet, our lives are actually very stressful. We have to go to school, uni and work whilst a
lso balancing friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and family. As if that's not enough, there are added worries like exams, deadlines, moving out, driving tests, student finance and getting our books etc on top of which we also have to make time fo
r ourselves to relax... extra curricular activities, going abroad or socializing. It's exhausting, even if we don't realize it at the time! We need to simplify these activities by trying to get more organised, writing down the things we need to remember, have to-do lists. Basically it's just a case of emptying our brains so our bowels don't take the strain of the panic and tension when we realize we have a million and one things to do that day. It's about prioritizing and in that, we must make enough time for sleep. Give our bodies a break!
2) When it is a particularly stressy time, we must attempt to eat naughty things in moderation. The main culprits are products containing yeast, fats and dairy. That's to say that I have taken it upon myself to resist cheese, and bread, and... well... I've tried to lay off the chocolate, but I do have the occasional relapse. Of course if we ever slip back into our old eating habits by accident, there is always solution number three...
3) IBS medication can be very effective, whether over-the-counter such as Colofac (£5.10 a
t www.boots.com) or prescribed in more extreme cases by a medical professional. The variety of products available can act as symptom relievers during an episode, or others can be taken before eating a meal in order to prevent a later episode. Either way if the previous two solutions don't work it's probably for the best that you go to the doctors just to be sure that it isn't something more serious.
So I'm sorry that I felt that today it was necessary for my blog to be about my bowels, but I was shocked about how many people of my age are effected and I think it's important that they don't suffer in silence.
Doubt anyone will post a comment or anything to this blog as it is kind of embarrassing to admit that you have IBS. But I hope I've let any of you secret sufferers out there know that you're not the only ones and that there are ways to treat it :)
Love you, my angels