Why am I made to feel as if having IBS symptoms is my fault? I didn't choose to have this, it also isn't my fault it can be unpredictable.

I tried to go to work yesterday with stomach cramps, many times I have worked a whole shift with stomach ache or stomach cramps. This time I came straight home again. So now I am off sick. My stomach isn't too bad today, but I can feel it. It isn't 100%. But do I go to work tomorrow? How am I supposed to know today what my stomach will be doing tomorrow?!

I will feel guilty if I stay off, but could have gone in. But when I do go back, because the sickness was IBS related, I will be asked yet again if I would like to get advice from Occupational Health. I do not wish for their advice. Unless they can tell me why one week something could affect me, and a different week it won't.

Sorry for the long moany post, but had to get it off my chest somewhere lol

17 Replies

  • Hi Mithical,

    I can understand 100% with you. I too get the exact symptoms as yourself + I too can eat something 1 week and be fine then the next week my IBS flares up.

    I too don't understand why this happens + my employer doesn't believe that you can be sick for just 1 day. I have been took into the office and questioned about my illness,I've told them nothing can be done and I don't know when my IBS will flare up again.

    I have even handed in a doctor's letter also explaining my situation but my employer is not that least bit interested.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • Thanks for your reply.

    The part of the bowel that is affected can be a different part each time, I don't know if that is something to do with it.

    I hate being at work with an unsettled stomach, even if I am not continuously needing the toilet. Which according to some I must do if I have IBS.

    Nice to have people that understand.

  • Hi,

    I understand 100% how you feel,don't know about you my IBS last just 1 day.

    I wouldn't listen to people,they don't know anything about how it affects us.

  • My stomach can be unsettled for days. Right now I am on day 3, due back at work tomorrow night. The guilt is starting to set in.

  • I am so sorry you are going through this. I believe we all understand what you are going through. Mithical, maybe you could say 'yes' to a visit with Occupational Health just to get them off your back...Maybe they COULD be of help to you if there is a chance that they might understand about IBS and could be sort of 'go - between' you and your employers... At any rate, I wish you the best of luck. Take care.


  • Thank you.

  • Have you tried doing a food diary, I have colitis and I find certain foods cause a flare up, wheat being the main food to avoid.

  • I sympathise. It's not your fault. I do think you should visit occupational health. They have been very supportive and helpful with me. Their job is to help you. You may also be in breech of contract if you don't visit them.

  • Thanks for your replies.

    I know what foods are likely to cause a flare up. But I can just as easily eat them sometimes without a problem.

    I am not going to be in breech of my contract. I have only ever been on stage one sickness, it is a courtesy at that time to ask if I would like any support from Occupational Health, implying every time I am off sick it is down to IBS, which it isn't. At the moment I will continue to decline their involvement, until I feel it necessary to involve them. Which would be when I am needing more time off because of the IBS.

  • I like Mithical can eat the same food 1 week and be fine then the next week I'm not.

    I myself cannot pinpoint any particular food that's causes my IBS to flare up.

    I have been told that there is no test that says it's 100% IBS,they just go by your symptoms.

  • I know people have colonoscopys etc. but the part of inflamed bowel changes, and isn't necessarily inflamed looking. I told a gp I thought I had IBS, he replied I probably have then.

    It may not be a particular food as such, but something in it. For example I can't have citrus, citric acid in a lot of things also affects me.

  • Hi Mithical,

    How are you,your IBS been any better. I know 1 food for sure starts my IBS to flare up ( peanuts of any kind ).

  • Hi, thanks for asking. Was improving, then had issues this morning so flared up again. Dull ache most of the day.

    Back at work tomorrow, so will be dosing up on all meds I have before going in!

    Peanuts is one of mine, if on their own. I swear we wouldn't eat anything if we cut out all the sensitive foods.

  • Hi Mithical,how are you. How's your IBS been,I've had a flare up since Friday,have a dull ache in my stomach and not really ate anything. My IBS started because I ate an Apple,I'm so sick of feeling like this not knowing when I'm going to be ill. Hope you have been better.

  • Oh sorry to hear you are suffering. I'm ok at the moment, fingers crossed. Had an Occupational Health meeting today, as I thought they didn't/couldn't offer anything. Counselling for the anxiety side, erm no. My manager was trying to imply I have no formal diagnosis, and I don't manage it very well. OH said I seemed to be managing it ok!

    Hope you are better soon. Thanks for asking after me.

  • No problem Mithical,thanksfor your well wishes. Hope you get on better with your employer.

  • Thanks.

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