What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

If you are here, then you may have heard about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or maybe you even have this annoying little condition! Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS can be defined as “Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation.” Thanks to NHS England for that definition.

The actual symptoms can differ greatly between individuals. With some only experiencing the bloating or constipation, and others getting the full force! I personally deal with the cramps more than anything else, and on occasion get those beautiful bouts of diarrhoea! (Yep, beautiful condition…)

What causes IBS?

Currently, there is no known reason why IBS occurs, many experts and researchers believe it’s related to the gut bacteria and how it deals with different types of food digestion.

This in turn then causes issues with bloating, cramping and the diarrhoea, due to how quickly or slowly your food passes through the gut.

Many experts and sufferers contribute to stress and the modern day as the trigger to their IBS, myself included. I have found that I am a lot worse when I have had high-stress days, especially days in which I am worried or concerned about work! Welcome to the 21st century!

While I was being analysed and diagnosed I was made to cut out a lot of different food at different times, including;

  • Alcohol
  • Fizzy Drinks
  • Milk and Diary (including Chocolate Milkshakes..)
  • Bread
  • Very high fat or fried food and processed foods such as crisps or biscuits.

How to treat IBS?

There are a number of ways to treat IBS, though bear in mind it can be different for every person!

I have written two posts on the different ways to treat IBS, you can find them here;

How to Treat IBS – Medicinal

This post looks at the tablets, softgels and powders that are available online to help ease the symptoms of IBS and how they have helped me!

How to Treat IBS – Natural

A fair review of the different natural supplements or products available to help ease the symptoms of IBS.

How do you live with IBS?

This is a really tricky thing to write about because IBS can hit at ANY moment. I can go for days, even weeks without having any problems, maybe the odd stomach cramp that passes after a few minutes. But it can be unpredictable and annoying. As such, I have learnt to carry Buscopan tablets with me everywhere I go, including having spare blister packs in my car, work bag, gym bag and in random rooms of my house! Does it help? Not always, but I have found that Buscopan does at least calm my stomach down.

How about dealing with the more, messy situations? Again, really difficult. I have had to run to toilets while out shopping and then emerged 15 – 20minutes later looking quite sorry for myself. I have taken to locking other cubicles if it’s a 2man toilet just so that I can be in pain in peace, without having some guy doing his business next to me!

The other side to suffering from IBS is the psychological pain that you can and may suffer, for myself I get bouts of anxiety and depression because I worry that my IBS will flare up (especially when I am stressed, and as such…My IBS will flare up!). I have learnt to at least calm this with regular exercise and taking part in activities such as following Yoga courses.

Other ways of living with it are being slightly smarter with your food or diet choices. I have learnt that some foods really do trigger my IBS worse than others, for example, I know that Chocolate Milk (especially the Fridgii ones) cause me to have horrendous stomach cramps (but milk on its own is perfectly fine!). I have also dabbled in introducing more fibre into my diet, I have done this in multiple ways, including having freshly made juice drinks (I will be writing a post about this soon!). I usually take juice recipes from the Juicing Secret Recipe Book – Which can be found here (it’s a steal at only $7). I also have a little look around on forums to see what other people are trying with their juices!


IBS really is an annoying condition to have. It can hit at any time, it can be set off by a huge number of triggers, including food, stress, drinks and overall day to day living.

It can cause absolute havoc in everyday life when it is at its worse and can basically ruin a nice date night in seconds.

You have to plan ahead, stock up on peppermint oil, IBS relief tablets and keep an eye on the food and drink that you have on an everyday basis.

4 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Mike -

    Thank you for this great article on IBS. My wife suffers from it and it really takes a toll on her. I will share your ways to treat IBS with her. It is really hard for us to go on vacation, and we always have to make sure there is a bathroom nearby. Long commutes are totally out of the question for her. I really feel sorry for her.

    Thank you again,

  • sharoncl -

    This is an interesting post as i suffer from ibs and have never really known the proper cause, i have tried the powder and its like drinking sand so i knocked that on the head.
    I have even had to stop halfway on the stairs as i cramped up, my doctor told me once to eat more roughage (is that right?) obviously more greens.
    I really didnt know that diarrhoea was also a symptom so this has been a good help for me as i do have an upset tummy occasionally.
    I am also wondering if it is bread that could be causing it as i see you have had to cut that out, you are also right it can be unpredictable and annoying.
    Thank you for the info:)

    • James -

      It’s one of those conditions that you can only find the cause by removing certain things and slowly bringing them back into your life (though there are some people who have said they can help and I have followed one guide before and I saw a drop in the number of ‘flares’). 

      I would try cutting bread out for a bit, see if you have any luck, I would also talk to your doctor and provide a food diary if you can (i.e write down what you have eaten and how you felt! – I will write more about this soon!)

      I hope you find the cause and find a way to calm in! 

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