Debate Magazine

Irritable B*****d Syndrome

Posted on the 30 September 2022 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

Good news and bad news.
Henry Law (of the LVT Campaign, but that's not relevant) and I were chatting last weekend. I had a moan about my condition, which started pretty suddenly on 5 December 2021 (I remember the exact date - I ate an overdose of Dorito's in the car on the way to visit our daughter in Bath) and has spiralled downwards since.
He reckoned it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I can't eat much because of fairly immediate stomach cramps = no energy = tired a lot, but can't sleep properly because of pains waking me up = further lack energy = unable to eat properly = I'm down to 9.5 stone (at 6' tall) etc. Four or five people have told me recently that I look like I'm at Death's Door, which I'm not.
I even had to pack in the booze almost completely two months ago - I can deal with hangovers, because you can worry about them later, but if you take a few swigs and the pain sets in almost immediately and before you've got any sort of buzz on to numb it, it's no fun. 
Henry recommended the Monash Univ site/app. Best £5.60 I've ever spent. I have been following the rules as best I can for a few days and I feel much better: slightly more energetic, not tired all day, stomach and back ache still there on and off but not crippling, I have even managed to sleep four or five hours at a stretch rather than waking up every two hours or so. Not fit and well by any means, but up from about 25% of normal to over 50%.
So at least I know what it probably is and how to ameliorate it, and it's not a terminal condition (I hope). That's the good news.
The bad news is that IBS is one of the un-coolest conditions to have. Broadly speaking, IBS is for people who are super-fussy about what they eat, moan a lot and fart a lot. I'd have preferred a proper malingerer's condition like Long Covid or somethingvague to do with auto-immunity (provided it's treatable). I'm now busy thinking up a euphemism for IBS that sounds a bit more mysterious and gets people's sympathy rather than triggering mirth.

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