IBS & social anxiety - how nutritional therapy can help
By Lucy Sparkes BA (hons) DipCNM mBant mCNHC
I am going to get straight to the point, living with IBS/IBD or any other debilitating bowel or disgestive disorder can cause layer upon layer of anxiety. I am going to spell this out for those of you who have not experienced explosive diarrhoea since that hilarious episode on your student gap year when you had to poop in a bush with a hang-over after a night of dodgy street food and howling at the moon. For those living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD namely Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), seeking out toilets in an 'emergency' and scoping the joint for 'facilities' can be (often multiple) daily occurence for some stricken individuals who have to plan every trip based around the location of the nearest toilet, any toilet, even those dreaded ones without locking doors, toilet seats or washing facilities and forget about loo paper - the experienced toilet seeker always comes prepared!
Therefore lockdown, for some, has bought a level of calm and relief that may have not been experienced since their diagnosis. No morning commute to 'negotiate', visits to shared bathrooms that require discretion and planning to avoid embarrassment with colleagues, and that nerve-shattering presentation you have to give after lunch that may have your stomach churning and intestines growling! In fact, there has been absolutely no demands placed on you to meet / travel / present in any capacity other than virtually where you can be well situated to frequent your own sweet smelling convenience.
However, with lockdown lifting and companies making plans to return to offices, friends meeting up again for birthday drinks and a kickabout in the park, these anxieties may be re-surfacing and you may be wondering how one earth you will re-integrate.
Please know that there is support available via your GP and charities such as theibsnetwork.org and crohnsandcolitis.org.uk. However you do not need to accept this condition and the life-limiting grip it has on you. Know that you can be empowered to make vital changes that can turn your health around.
You can find a qualified registered nutritional therapist at www.bant.org.uk or www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk. We are trained and experienced in how to help your condition; safely and effectively. We look at the person, not the condition, so our approach is often multi-faceted and can be both physical and meta-physical in its approach. However, we always use food and nutrition as our primary toolkit, and we can teach you not to fear food but harnass it and use it to help control your disease so it isn't controlling you.