IBS Network
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How Do fellow IBSers cope with the symptoms of IBS and how we should conformn in society, work, relationships etc

To Fellow IBS'ers. With the sheer debilitating and embarrassing nature of IBS. And lets face it, very misunderstood ilness and symptoms. Living a normal life is virtually impossible. Keepinf a job, travelling, making people understand. Doing simple things like going to the cinema, being in a quiet place, going out, being in an alien environment, where there is no acess to get away, a loo. Being with unfamiliar people. Basically doing the simple simple things normal people take for granted is impossible. i know there are some pretty 'normal' things i havent done for years due to IBS and fear of what could happen and how id feel. Eg going to the pictures etc.

People, Docs underestimate the affect it has on ones normal life, social life. And many IBS sufferers do consign themselves to the house and room more and more and more. I know i have to many a time. Asking tho how do Fellow sufferers cope with normal life eg work? having a relationship? other half? etc.

Years ago i used to be really socially active, girlfriends etc etc. Now i cannot see how on earth i could possibly hold down a relationship or find someone who could take on board and empathise a partner having this. Unless i come across an angel :-)

Society these days is so hung up on people being 'perfect', vanity, being 'invincible' and conforming to what society has become. Well for IBS'ers i feel we ve become or are on the fringes of society.

How do others cope? relationships? work? or like me, are many ibs sufferers single and suffer alone feeling i we dont belong and never will.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts/experiences

11 Replies

Hi ibs is very socially awkward. like you i used to go out four nights a week. i drank and smoked and had a great social life. i had to quit all of the above due to ibs. i became so socially isolated and afraid of going anywhere that was new or different especially if i didnt know where the toilets were. the friends who are true friends are still my friends and understand and the ones that dont dont matter. i am in a relationship and married but he also has ibs so we do understand each other. i am worse than him i developed anxiety disorder because of panicking all the time about going out. i went for cbt therapy to help very recently. my partner is more im doing what i want when i want and its not going to stop me. i am getting round to his way of thinking slowly. its important you do try to push yourself to do new things just take it slow. i dont work simply because i dont believe there is an employer who would be willing to let me come and go at the drop of a poo lol. my husband does work though. things can seem very defeating and we all have down days but if the people that surround you love you they will try to understand, maybe having friends round to your place for dinner or whatever is a good place to start because at least your comfortable there and if you have to go you have to go. just make a joke of it with your friends and family. also when the time is right try to sit and explain how you feel. its hood to talk even if they dont totally get it.


iv got i.b.s it,s not easy 2 cope with it im in a relationship it,s not easy 4 him im in a wheelchair i had a silent stroke be4 xmas my stomach swelled that much this 1 time it caused that much stress to my body that my body did a shutdown so that ,s how i ended up the way i am my boyfriend goes through hell with my mood swings but he nw,s it,s not me it,s the pain that i go through iv had a bad throat 4 about a month iv had 2 stop smokin im just waitin 2 go bk 2 doc,s iv also found out im gluton and wheat tolerant so it,s not easy so goin out i dnt do hv ur friends near u hv a gud meal at hm and xplain 2 them the reasons why u dnt hv meals out but also try not 2 let urself be chained to the house lv ann


Thankyou for the replies Anne/Lynne.....really helps taking tips on board from fellow friends on here. Personally i find it hard to even approach or initiate a relationship these days, Been so long and i miss not having someone there. But the fear of revealing whats to come and what i will have to reveal to 'her'. Well hence i just dont go there. Dont really want to be single all my life. Really need to find a partner who has IBS really ;-). Life would be a lot easier. Anyone looking for love, give me a buzz lol. Seriously though its good you guys have partners that do understand.

Thanks again guys.


It's affected me in the same way as yourself but because I was young when it started I don't feel like I missed out on anything because I never really experienced it in the first place! One thing I was annoyed about was the fact I had to turn down jury duty because of it. :( I have had a 3 year relationship end however because they he "couldn't handle" me being ill all the time and as a result I haven't looked for a partner specifically.

All my close friends are aware of it because it means I don't go out as much so they understand and my family all know about it because I'm not the only one who suffers with it so I'm very open about it. The only problem is uni at the mo but my uni is very understanding and I get duvet days. This is because to get a whole day with no symptoms I have to take large amounts of medications and I suffer with problems as a result, bit of a double edged sword there! I try to plan ahead with my meds and my symptoms which is useful but there are the major flarey days that I just can't plan for. I do think there is more of a stigma attached to men who suffer and a lot of girls I've spoke to have said that ANY medical problem would put them off a guy, but they expect a guy to straight up accept any problems they have! There needs to be more openness and less pigeonholing!


Yep kiwimiwi, Exactly what you say, its seen as a sign of weakness in men. Ive been told many times down the years to 'man up'. 'get on with it' 'take some rennie and you ll be fine'. Very hard living a normal life really. Employers would never understand, strangers i cant do most days, weeks or months. So finding someone that empathises and is receptive to what we go through. Well a needle in a haystack. Mission impossible :-( :-(

Atleast got friends on here though ;-)


I sometimes feel totally vile and unsexy and i worry that our sex life has suffered since we moved in together and he got exposed to the full horror of my ibs c with horrific smelling all night pumps. I used to be able to go home when i had a bad tummy but now he has to share my bed, poor thing. He also has an illness so he sort of understands, but it doesn't stop me feeling bad. When i go out or am at work i sometimes have to use the loo, especially if stressed as then the constipation turns to diahorea. Luckily, as i am a nurse i am used to dealing with embarassing situations and i tend not to care if i offend strangers with the state i might leave a pub loo in. Especially after a few drinks inside me. My close friends all know and are sympathetic. It is more the relationship stuff i hate because i don't feel like the vixen of the early days when he knows how bad my tummy can be. What with working shifts and irregular mealtimes i hold out no hope of a solution. Seperate bedrooms if we csn afford to rent a bigger place one day would be nice. :-)


I totally and utterly get you Brione. Thing is, im stuck at first base. How will i ever even find someone, get to know them, tell them about this embarrassing illness. And not stop them running for the hills. Such a bad stigma attached to IBS.

This website needs a IBS matchmaking section too :-)

Thanku for your post x


I met my partner on online dating and on our first date i had to run to the loo four times! Of course i said i was powdering my nose or had to call a friend to let her know he wasn't an axe murderer etc etc. I actually thought i had managed to keep it a secret for a good three months, but when i was so constipated on a trip away that i spent most of it feeling bloody awful the cat was finally out of the bag. It turns out he knew already, at least that i was the pumpiest girl he had ever meet, since when i am asleep i can't control it. And he loves me still. No one is perfect, and everyone poops and farts. I take some comfort in that. :-)


Thankyou so much for the reply Brione. Its always so great, that no matter what IBS does and affects people. People on here always smile, are always brave and just face it head on. Your anecdote there is something very similar to things i used to do when i had a social life :-).

Its great you found someone who is kind caring and understands. Nowadays tho, esp in this vain materialistic society we live in, many people are different.

Wish i could just find that person, prefebly with IBS. And like you say poop and fart away to our hearts content. Much better than being filed for divorce from a non IBS'er on farting grounds :-)

I'll keep perservering.....maybe she s outhere, maybe only a fart away,fingers crossed, :-)

Thanks again Brione x


Hi Suli, you're quite right our ibs affects many aspects of our lives. I manage to hold down a full time job but it's very embarrassing when I have to rush to the loo. I recently got asked on a date but turned it down through embarrassment of what could happen and there's no way I could get in a relationship with someone. I don't go out socially anymore - friends don't understand the condition and get annoyed when I turn down offers for eg of eating out at an Indian resteraunt. I don't want to spend the rest of my life like this but don't know what other choice there is. Hope you find some comfort in realising that you're not alone with this condition. Take care


Hello all

hey Rio 8- as you are the most recent post and not sure if the others are still here?

I found it really helpful to read everyone's posts and feel for everyone on here but it is also a huge relief to know that I am not the only person experiencing these issues.

I have found relationships in particular, very troublesome. Romantic and friendships.

And I totally empathise with the slinking off to hide and sleep in a separate bedroom from your partner through embarrassment and not wanting to be thought of as the " farting girlfriend" especially when the passing of wind is loud and smelly!!

My last boyfriend was not that sensitive and once complained and said that his mother did not behave that way- farting a lot or belching whilst sat watching tv. I felt very upset at this, as it really is not something that I could help and I had tried to be polite but had the choice of release or terrible pain. not much of a choice really. Also the diet issue and difficulty eating out had reared it's head and part of the reason he left me and ended our relationship, was because of how my condition was limiting to him. Words that hurt so so much.

I have come to the decision to be kind to myself and compassionate to my body and all it is going through and not to be ashamed of my condition. ( Which is easier said than done but I will keep working at it)

Like every other person on the planet, I have a digestive system that has evolved in a certain way and it produces gas as a by product of digestion, it is an amazing work of evolution and why should we be ashamed of our natural bodily functions? So I am making a decision not to be and anyone who gets to know me is going to have accept that yes- I fart and belch, yes-I go to the toilet, yes I have a condition that affects what foods I can eat and sometimes means I have to change plans, or have bathroom troubles.

no- I am not going to keep up some stupid ideal that as a female, I do not fart cos I have the same digestive system as everyone else and I do!!

I will always try to manage my condition as well as I can and understand that it is difficult for a non sufferer to cope with in a relationship- and yes I have huge insecurity now and a fear, that there is anyone out there who would be able to deal with my condition and not leave me because of it- and it is awful to feel like that- as though I am flawed and like one of those damaged boxes of cereal that end up on the reduced shelf in the supermarket- but I am not- and no one with this condition should have to feel that way.

So I try to remember that there are lots of people who are nice and understanding and lots of people with this condition and try to stay hopeful that I will meet someone like this.

Thanks for sharing everyone and hope some more people might join and talk about how they manage with relationships?

take care everyone



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