Dealing with IBS

I’ve mentioned in videos before that I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  While this can mean different things to different people with the same diagnosis, the general similarities include abdominal issues ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating pain, possible bloating, and issues with digestive functioning (that last bit was my best attempt at not getting overly graphic, if you get my drift).  There’s no known cause for this condition and it’s certainly not a one size fits all diagnosis.  I’ve always referred to my IBS symptoms as my “stummy,” which evolved as an abbreviation of “sick tummy.”  Whenever my IBS kicks up, I refer to it as the return of the “stummy.”  I guess I like having my own names for things.   I’ve received many questions about my experience with IBS and how I deal with it, so I thought I would address it properly in a blog post.

I saw a nutritionist and integrative medicine doctor team a few years ago before my official diagnosis to try to find possible triggers for my stummy problems as well as my anxiety issues.  I’ve always known that these two go hand in hand and I spent a good year and a half working diligently with the nutritionist/doctor team through bloodwork results and other tests, different supplemental regimens, and every kind of nutrition restriction diet under the sun in an attempt to sort my body out.  There was even one three month period where I could basically only eat about five different kinds of food!  I tried gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and sugar free diets, some more than once and many at the same time.  They all yielded the same results; not only did my stummy problems persist, but I was very unhappy about the whole thing.  You don’t realize how much enjoyment and satisfaction food can give you until you have to do without some of your personal staples, especially the healthy ones you rely on every day.  Some of the supplements the team had me on made me feel like I was on an emotional rollercoaster and not in the good way!  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of seeing a doctor before starting a supplement regimen.  They can be just as powerful as prescription medicine in some cases, so it’s a good idea to be under a physician’s care when trying out new supplements.

I’ve never been a big fan of going to the doctor (which is an anxiety trigger for me) and I generally have to be feeling pretty miserable to take that leap.  At the end of my rope, I caved and finally went to see a gastrointerologist about three years ago after a good eight years or so of increasingly bad stummy problems.  That’s when I was diagnosed with IBS.  The doctor didn’t prescibe me anything for it or give me much real advice in terms of what to or not to eat since I had already thoroughly exhausted that route.  Somehow, just having the actual diagnosis did a lot all on its own in setting me on the right path towards a happier day-to-day life in my body.  I left the nutritionist/doctor team, cut down my supplements to the basic daily vitamins and minerals I thought were most important, and decided not to focus so much on the whole thing for a little while.  This mindset took the pressure off and helped me feel a bit better right away.  Sometimes it helps just to take a step back.

Tone It Up Nutrition Plan (photo source)

Tone It Up Nutrition Plan (photo source)

It was also around this time that I discovered the Tone It Up girls on YouTube when looking for some new at home workout routines.  This led me to purchase their Nutrition Plan, which I read and followed closely.  Within a few months I was feeling leaps and bounds better and had learned some valuable nutritional information that helped with my stummy issues.  In terms of food, I seem to be able to process most kinds just fine if I pay particular attention to the timing of when I eat what during the day as well as food type combinations.  This is a trial and error process, even after a couple of years, but it’s definitely worked much better for me than anything I tried previously.

It’s become increasingly clear especially over the last year that stress is the number one trigger for my stummy.  Sometimes it seems like it doesn’t really matter at all what or when I eat; if I am stressed enough I will experience stummy problems regardless.  My particular symptoms tend to settle on major bloating and mild to extreme discomfort or pain.  Sometimes they can last for days on end without reprieve.  I’ve been taking extra care in the past couple of years to focus more on my anxiety and stress and identify triggers for those.  Seeing a therapist on a weekly basis is helping me learn how to better communicate with myself and with others.  I’m learning what I need to feel my best emotionally, which in turn helps me to feel my best physically.  I know I need to be active, both physically and mentally, every day to be happy.  It’s important to honor the busy bee in me as idleness feeds my anxiety.  I also know, however, that it’s important for me to carve out some time every day to relax and chill out for anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes.  My favorite way to do this is to take a long bath with a nice cup of tea, a good book, or catching up on my YouTube subscriptions.

Being on YouTube and other social media platforms where I can interact with others has created a unique opportunity for me to be myself without the anxiety of being in a person-to-person type setting (another big anxiety trigger for me).  The fact that so many of you accept me just as I am is slowly but surely making me more confident to be comfortable in my own skin in my personal life.  Your continued support and encouragement is an incredible gift to me and I am truly grateful for all of you.

My experience with IBS is an ongoing one and something I will probably have to deal with or at least be very aware of for my entire life.  If you too suffer from stummy problems, I would encourage you to seek advice from a medical professional.  I do believe that western medicine can only get us so far and much of the process of finding relief is to learn about your own body.  No one knows you and your body better than you do.  Getting advice from many sources is helpful in forging your own path.  Ultimately, you must learn for yourself what works and what doesn’t work for you.  Be patient with and kind to yourself.  There’s no better medicine out there!

79 comments

79 thoughts on “Dealing with IBS”

  1. TFS Jen. I too suffer with IBS and it can be so miserable. People tend to not understand also which does not help the matter.

  2. I, too, suffer from IBS, having been diagnosed with it when I was 14. I am now nearly 23 (tomorrow!) and feel that for me it is getting worse and worse. I have exhausted all sorts of diets and medicines, with nothing working whatsoever. I am an incredibly anxious and shy person – I need to make a phone call to sort out my work experience later today – and that in itself is making me shake and my tummy churn like crazy! I have been advised by my doctor to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – which I keep putting off as I get anxious about it, but feel I need to bite the bullet and sort it out. I hope one day it will calm down. I am currently at uni, and am unable to attend lectures a majority of the time (and as a vet student with lots of work is causing me to fall seriously behind) due to feeling embarrassed about my tummy churning/making noises or needing to run out to the toilet. One of the main frustrations for me is how some people don’t understand what a serious impact IBS can have on your life – some people think i’m being pathetic and over exaggerating, or can’t understand why I wouldn’t want to go to lectures/attend talks etc…. Reading your post on the subject has made me feel a little calmer, and I hope I can one day find a better way of dealing with my IBS & triggers.

    1. It took me a long time to work up the courage to try therapy, but I am so glad I did. It’s not easy for me, and even after a year and a half of weekly visits I still get nervous about it. I find that the benefits far outweigh any negatives. You might consider giving it a try! Remember that you might have to visit several therapists until you find the right fit for you. You’ll know right away once you do. You want to be as comfortable as possible in that situation!

      Happy Birthday tomorrow 🙂

    2. Hi Nisha!

      I suffer from Crohns-colitis (and am also 23), so I completely understand your frustration. Finding a solid gastroenterologist who you like and trust is a great place to be, so if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to search until you find someone you love. I agree with Jen about the therapy. I find that when dealing with severe anxiety issues, my stomach and intestines act up even moreso, and then I get stressed about them acting up (and running to the bathroom/making excuses/passing gas in awkward situations), and it becomes this vicious cycle that I can’t seem to escape.

      I encourage you to start speaking up. It will be weird and uncomfortable, but people care far less than we realize! I had to conquer my embarrassment and fear, and am now able to own up to my issues (okay, only most of the time…but I’m getting better!). First, start with your school’s disability office. Most schools have some sort of service for disabled students, and often, you can get special dispensations for your illness. In addition, email your professors, explaining the situation and asking for assistance. This will NOT be easy, but I know that you can do it! Ask for help from close friends or family if needed. Finally, I have some tips! Always wear a large pad on bad days, and carry an extra pair of pants/undies. I also will keep a travel container of baby wipes for accidents! (I just carried a large bag with a grocery bag in the bottom to carry this stuff) I also sit as close to the door as possible, and then can escape with little disruption. Also, on bad days, you could use a meal replacement shake (NOT a diet version, you absolutely need full calorie if you’re using it to replace a meal), as it might help prevent issues. Lots of water, vitamins and stress reduction can help as well!

      Now, go make that phone call! You CAN do this. Take deep breaths prior to the call. Hold a favorite stuffed animal, and squeeze it when you start to panic.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I have been dealing with IBS for about 16 years, as well as a milk allergy that hit me around the same time. I identified with so many things you said in this blog. At times, I feel angry with my tummy, as though it was a person, separate from me..and it was purposely making my life miserable. I would lay on the couch and say, “what upset you now…what did I eat, think, stress out about..what did I do wrong this time?” The frustration has been overwhelming at times. I agree that you really have to figure yourself out because I think that doctors can only give you so much and even they don’t know a lot about this. I appreciate you sharing.

    1. I totally understand your frustration with it. I have Crohns-colitis, and there are many days when I ask, “Why me?”

      I encourage you to talk to a therapist, honestly! It helps so much to be able to talk it out, and get those emotions on the table. They can help you come to terms with everything too 🙂

  4. Thanks for this post Jen. So many people are so wildly misinformed about IBS and how they think it should effect every single person the same way. I too suffer with this at times and it’s amazing how people can judge you by what you are or are not eating. Everyone wants to be a mini physician to diagnose you and with IBS that is not at all possible. It can vary from extremely mild to extremely severe. I’ve seen both ends and finding a happy medium where you can live out your life pleasantly and still enjoy food is what we all strive for. We all want to eat what taste good but what taste good doesn’t always like us. I know sometimes I have to ‘feel’ my way with even foods that in the past have upset me because in small doses they might be just fine….or not so much ‘this’ time. The stress and anxiety IBS can produce, no one can understand fully unless you’ve gone through it. My G.I. doctors still don’t know what has caused mine and sometimes I have terrible flare ups and other times I can go for months with no problems at all! I’m glad more research is being done and it truly is NOT a one size fits all diagnosis! Thanks so much for sharing! Big hug! xx

  5. {{Hugs}} Jen. I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and I know it can consume your life. I think it is wonderful that you are able to share so much with so many people via YouTube. My family does not understand why I enjoy watching someone I don’t even know. They just don’t get it. Friends can be made in many different ways and I consider you a friend. 🙂

  6. Hi Jen,
    I ‘suffered’ and I say ‘suffered’ because…touch wood…I would say I am cured of IBS but it started with me from a very early age. I would have to go to a child minder from around 3 or 4 years old and the anxiety/stress would have me rocking back and forth with such bad pains in my tummy that its firmly imprinted on my mind many, many years later.
    During the next years or so it would rears its head after certain foods I ate ( rich or greasy foods ) and during high levels of stress.

    In my 20’s I was twice sent to hospital for an inflamed colon which was all related to my IBS. I suffered every symptom going…
    But I never took medicine and I never go to the doctors either…I decided to live with it.

    Until around 10 years or so ago…it stopped. I wouldn’t say I noticed at first…just that all of a sudden I could eat a roast dinner without doubling over in pain afterwards ( and the toilet situation that followed! ).
    I bet in the last 10 years I have had an attack maybe twice if that. I can’t even remember if I have…

    I do believe it is stress/ food related and although professionals say otherwise I think it started with me when I was incredibly young but for some unknown reason I would hold my hands up and say that something I suffered with for 30 years has upped sticks and left…I’m still stressed but at least I don’t have the added stress of IBS.

    What I am trying to say in a long-winded kind of way is…there is hope it will go!!!

  7. It’s funny how dealing with one issue can help another. I suffer from bursitis in my hips. I’m 52 and admittedly not very active but really? Bursitis? My DAD had bursitis when I was a kid and he was OLD! (Read that as if I was 12 or so when I said it!)

    I tried PT through an orthopedist but wasn’t happy with the non-program they didn’t create for me. I started taking basic yoga classes at work, twice a week for an hour each time.

    THEN I tried an accupuncturist. I decided that since my insurance paid for him as long as he was also a medical doctor, I’d go to Dr. N. from Montclair, NJ. I did three months of accupuncture and based on his recommendations, I’m taking the following supplements: fish oil, calcium with D, additional D, Zyflamend (a collection of herbs including turmeric for inflammation).

    And I have not had a winter cold since I started taking those supplements three years ago. I still go to the grammar school twice a month myself, and my husband still teaches so he’s exposed to all those germs…

    Happy to hear all you learned from the nutritionist and the doctors and the IBS specialist has combined to make you as healthy as you can be. With better days ahead, I hope!

  8. Jen,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I also suffer from IBS; Which was once thought to be celiac disease. I was on a strict Gluten Free diet for 5 years. Throughout these 5 years I was still suffering with stomach issues (which you seem to know far too well). Although my doctor was persistent in knowing what was going on in my body, I knew something wasn’t right. I finally ventured out to see and meet a special Gastro team and boy did they set me straight! I had to mentally prepare myself to meet a new doctor, as I too suffer from social anxiety. I now can face life with a different, brighter outlook! 🙂 The medicines I’m taking help but every now and then I do have an unfortunate flare up. The best (and almost immediate) relief I’ve found is a heating pad. Once the, what I call the “Grumbly tummy” starts, I take my stomach pain reliever and pull out the heating pad. I turn that sucker on high and lay it on top of my shirt. This helps calm my muscles down in my stomach and help them relax instead of spazzing out. Do you have any simple remedies like this?! Thank you for opening up your life to us and all of your honesty! Your videos help me so much! 🙂

    1. Listening to your body & your instincts is definitely the way to go. Thanks for sharing the heating pad tip! I usually have to lie down if it gets really bad.

    2. I just wanted to share something about heating pads. I do not suffer from IBS, but I have another painful/embarrasing condition for which heating pads applied to the belly are the only relief. I have found in Hong Kong, and know that they are also available in China and Japan, heating pads that you can always carry in your handbag, each is is wrapped individually. Then, when you get in trouble, you just open the package, remove the piece of paper and glue the pad to your underware (in a similar way to feminine pads, but different location). It works for ~24 hours (or 12 depending on the brand), pleasently warming your belly, after which you dispose of the pad. It is very convenient, no need for electricity or hot water, can use it at any time and place. I am not sure if you can find it in US.It seems to be something similar to this product: http://www.medical-evergreen.com/articles/Body-Warmer-Pad-Heat-Pad.asp

  9. Thanks for sharing your story! I, too, suffer from IBS. Just got my diagnosis last year. Stress is my major trigger as well. I suffer from depression and anxiety and my IBS is severely affected as a result. Do you recommend any books on coping and living with IBS?

      1. Food & Mood by Elizabeth Sommers is a really good book to read and recommended by a counsellor. It doesn’t deal with IBS directly, but it has a lot of good info about how food can effect your mood which is a big part of dealing with IBS. What is great is the food recommended is stuff you can find in any grocery store in america. Sometimes health books talk about ingredients that are not ready available to everyone.

  10. Thank you for this post. You opening up about your anxiety helps your readers who have it too. I have OCD and can often feel ashamed of my anxiety but reading posts like yours helps. Thanks, Jenn.

  11. Thanks for sharing Jen. I suffer from anxieties also. It started about 2 years ago. I never realized how all consuming it is in your life until it happened to me. I take one prescription med that helps me a lot and I know that therapy would benefit me but I haven’t found the courage yet. It helps to know that other people are out there experiencing the same issues. Watching your YouTube channels and reading your blogs have really helped me a lot. Thank you for that. You have a really nice way of expressing yourself both on camera and in writing that I can really relate to and appreciate. I take things one day at a time. It’s the only way to manage for me. You are right when you say to be kind to yourself. I think I am my worst critic! It’s something I am trying to work on too.

  12. Hi Jen!
    Thanks for sharing. I had been having really bad ( like, REALLY bad ) stomach pains for about 1 and a half years. It was terrible. Everyday it was just pain for about and hour or more. Sometimes it hit very hard and I would cry. I never got “sick” though if you know what I mean. We tried to cut out different foods, nothing. After that year and a half, they start to come irregularly and I just lived with it. I would get the occasional big stomach ache. But then, it all just …. Stopped. I started to see a therapist though. Incase it came back I would know how to handle it better. Now, one year later, I feel like it is coming back. But now, I can handle it with confidence and when it comes I can hit it right in the face and say, you can’t hurt me. I find other things to do too and that helps. Any tips for those times it comes and I just can’t get rid of it? It also makes it hard to sleep sometimes also. Anything for that? Thank you soooooo much Jen!
    Love,
    Bella 🙂 ((HUGS))

  13. I too suffer with IBS, but have a chronic bowel issue on top of it. I have all the IBS problems; bloating, pain that makes you break out in a cold sweat and “issues with digestive functioning” (nice one BTW Jen!), etc., but the next day I could have the total opposite issues and the pain and discomfort that goes hand in hand with THAT problem. Thankfully I don’t have anxiety or other social issues, so finding my triggers was a lengthy, but eventually successful process without the necessity of medical consultation. (My doctor told me to basically keep track of what foods triggered the problems and basically don’t eat it…lol). Most people don’t want to discuss this subject with others, especially those they don’t know, so I applaud you for sharing and especially encouraging those with social anxieties that it’s OK to have these problems and it’s OK to get help! My daughter suffers from depression and was embarrassed to get help for many years. There is nothing to be embarrassed about! Your health and well being is all that matters! Again, thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  14. I (luckily) do not suffer IBS, but I do suffer depression & anxiety, and I do agree – western medicine can only get us so far. Sometimes we just have to do what’s right for us! For me that’s a good diet, regular exercise, and keeping busy (maybe a little similar to you!). Thanks for discussing this, though – sufferer or not I think it’s a very interesting read x

  15. I too had a diagnosis of IBS after years of tummy issues. People use to think I was faking it to get out of work or school. It was so bad, I would have an anxiety attack if i left the house with out something like Imodium. I never connected the anxiety and stress with the tummy troubles until my diagnosis. Like you, the doctor couldn’t give me a lot of info on the subject. He did advise me to stay away from High Fructose Corn Syrup and that has been a huge help. Over time I have learned to stay away from certain food and to try to eat healthy. I find that once I am triggered, I am more sensitive for a while after. I have gone to counselling in the past and had some success with stress reducing techniques like deep breathing, coloring, keeping a clean and well organized living space.

  16. If you are an adult and suddenly experienced IBS, its usually caused by eating something in a consistent basis that triggered your whole digestive system. If you can recall what you suddenly ate/drank regularly before your IBS happened you can easily reverse it. Its caused by chemical irritants/substances that your body doesn’t want and now its causing you to remove almost anything you put in.

    The body is very smart and there is a reason why this ishappening. And it is rarely genetics and not stress. I suggest you don’t drink anything “sweetened” or “bottled”. or any supplements you buy at GNC. lessen the additives in your food. eat clean for 2 weeks. I mean REALLY CLEAN. No pasta, no tasty food. Only fruits and vegetables (careful w/ the ones w/ fertilizers) and only fish for meat. no chicken skin, fatty foods such as fries..

    And oh, doctors really don’t know much about it. they rely on medicines.

    And how do I know all this?

    I suffered from this only a week ago. I go to the bathroom 5 times a day for 5 days. I have no pain in my stomach, its not diarrhea I know it. How? I am a nurse, and I rarely drink medicines or ask the doctor for advice. Medicines rarely solve the cause. Its only after the effects. So yeah, I dont trust the doctors/ pharmaceutical industry. Some meds have a purpose. But most are not solving the “cause”

    And I am IBS free… 🙂 believe me its possible..

    Remo, 26 y/o from the Philippines

  17. Hey Jen, You have inspired me to be more organized! Also I was thinking about ordering about ordering bows from Doggie Bow Ties do you think the full size bows would fit a standard poodles hair on her ears and head I would love for your opinion. Thank you!

    1. I don’t really know how big a poodle is so I may not be the best person to ask. I recommend contacting Lynne McGuire, owner of Doggie Bow Ties, through her website to see what she recommends.

      1. Thank you for your feed back. Also I was wondering, what is the best way to organize craft supplies. One last thing, your blog has inspired me to make my dog a blog so I was wonder if you could look at it and see what needs work. Thank you for your time!:)

          1. Cute pup! One piece of advice I would have is to try to upload larger size photos so they stand out more on your blog.

  18. I too suffer with anxiety. Most people do not know what it feels like or how to help you so when I see you openly talking about anxiety it makes me feel somewhat not alone in the struggle. Two years ago I was having terrible anxiety attacks to the point where I could not work for three months. I am getting better but life events that i have been faced with challenge my anxiety and what i have overcome everyday. Thank you for being you!!!!!!!!! You truely seem to be a real and genuine person.

  19. Thanks for posting this Jen. I suffer from tummy/uterine problems, so its nice to read that I am not alone in this journey. I have to try extremely hard not to let it cause any anxiety, because that just makes everything else in the body worse. I’ve also learned just to relax and lie down when it gets uncomfortable and massaging 70% alcohol onto my tummy really helps to cut down on the pain. This also has alleviated the need to take any other meds.

  20. I am so happy reading this as I have IBS to. I got medicine right away from the doctor and I thought that was it. I never realized about the stress portion of it. Which now that I think about it that usually when its the worse. I am so happy to be able to relate to you in many ways and this is one. You are an amazing person to be able to share a personal issue like this. I will be talking to my doctor for sure. If I could get off this medicine and start taking herbal or natural vitamins, well that would be a great day. Thank you for your inspiration!

    Hugs* Kaitlin!

  21. I just want to let you know that I am enjoying your blog very much. I have learned and grown a lot from watching your videos and appreciate the time you take to share your experiences and talents with the world. Please continue to do what you do, you are changing lives. Thank you.

  22. The Meat Fix by John Nicholson is a great book on getting rid of IBS. Well written and full of British Humour, graphic at times.
    Nicholson switched from veganism to low carb high fat paleo. You can find before and after Pictures of him on the net if you are interested. Apart from not beeing in pain any more he has also changed his appearance and mental outlook.
    I now eat like he does and finally have a strong body I can rely on. Happy and calm is now my default position. It is brilliant!

  23. Hi Jen! You are so inspiring and your story of your tummy troubles really was a pick-me-up, as for the past year and a half I’ve been to numerous doctors, including physicians, gynecologists, and gastroenterologists to diagnose an immense pain I feel in my side as well as constant nausea. They’ve found a hernia in my stomach and a cyst on my ovaries that don’t answer the question. I know how tough it is to keep going to doctors and not being able to find the answer. I’m so glad you found a way to help easy your tummy troubles, and I’m hoping someday I will be able to too!
    Always remember that we’re all here for you if you ever need support :] You make me so happy every day and watching your videos and reading your blog posts is such a pick-me-up! Thanks again 😀

  24. Hey Jen, my birthday is March 25 and I was wondering, if you are vlogging on that day could you give me a shout out. I know, it is kind of like asking for a gift (which is rude and I really hope you don’t take it that way 🙁 ). It would make my day! I can understand if you don’t. Don’t worry, I won’t be upset if you don’t. <3 you Jen, Don, and Winnie!!!
    – Bella 🙂

    1. Happy Birthday on March 25! Don’t know if I’ll be filming that day or not, but happy birthday all the same!

  25. Great post! I takes a lot to put yourself out there on topics like this. I’d be very interested to hear more about how you calm / live with your anxiety. I am learning to accept my anxiety and working to hopefully reduce / ‘cure’ my acid reflux. I think a post that is related to the common denominator (anxiety) will start an awesome conversation in the comments section that so many ladies would benefit from. (Just a suggestion..) Best wishes!

    1. I am generally less stressed on vacation & therefore am able to eat richer food with fewer issues. I try to eat small portions & not stuff myself silly of course! Plus I drink EXTRA water when traveling which helps a lot, too.

  26. Hi Jen, I too have IBS and stress is definitely one of my triggers as well. I think we all suffer from some form of social anxiety, those who are chatter boxes can have just as much anxiety as those of us who stay quiet and shy away from interactions. I have found that as we get older we naturally become more confident in who we are as a person, having many life experiences behind us. Jen, you have such a great enthusiasm for life and I know people will be drawn to you because of it. You are one to share your sunshine with everyone but its also important to let a little sunshine in too! Your a sweetheart❤
    xoxo Michelle. (thebashfulnest.blogspot.com)

  27. I’m really glad you posted this! After reading, I realized that I have a lot of the same symptoms as you do…from bloating to “digestive functioning”. I’m definitely go to look into seeing gastroenterologist. I honestly think it has something to do with my diet.

  28. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease first before being diagnosed with IBS. I was on a gluten free diet for a year and a half during which I didn’t notice a big difference and it was the worst diet ever. Then I decided to go through with an endoscopy procedure just to be sure if I have Celiac or not. The results were negative, so then I was diagnosed with IBS and advised to take Metamucil. I couldn’t take it and it didn’t help either. I’ve been feeling better though for the past few years becaus I developed my own recipe for success. I eat whole wheat toast and a banana every single morning and take Tums when I feel that I have acid reflux. Also try to avoid foods that I know that are not good for me. I think IBS is one of those things that when the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with you, they diagnose you with IBS, but it is different for everyone so I think you just have to be your own doctor and figure out what works for you.

  29. since i can remember ive always suffer tummy pain, and all the IBS. The doctors said that was caused by stress and because i was so anxious that i hurt myself so they told me to relax, of course i couldnt. When i was at the university was the worst time for me so i finally decided to go to a gastroenterologist and he gave me PANTOPRAZOL and ive just got really really well, i took the pills every day for 2 or 3 years and then, 1 and half years ago, i finished university and mostly of my pain was gone and ive decided to stop taking pills (i dont like to take pills ) , but now that im starting my own fashion bussiness they are coming back again… i think that if i work and try not to be so anxious i can fix it…but, its hard.. you definitly know what i mean.
    Sorry for my english, my first language is spanish, im from Argentina.
    Hugs and kisses
    Estefi

    1. Also, tomorrow, march 14 is my birthday and im planing 3 birthdays party! lot of cooking and preparation. Im turning 26!
      Can you say happy birthday to me?! love

  30. Jen, is Winnie an emotional support dog for you? I suffer from anxiety also and am looking at having my dog certified as an emotional support dog to help with my anxiety. Just wondering if you have any insight.

    1. Acquiring an ESA certification is a lengthy process that requires you to be under a psychiatrist’s care. A therapist cannot prescribe an ESA for you. That being said, many people with anxiety benefit from having an ESA, especially when traveling. Be advised that most restaurants and stores that sell food will still not allow you to bring an ESA certified dog inside.

  31. Great post, Jen! I adore women like you…this is my passion. I mostly loved when you stated, ” I do believe that western medicine can only get us so far and much of the process of finding relief is to learn about your own body. No one knows you and your body better than you do.” Hang in there. Seek answers. I’m always happy to help:) xo

  32. I have a huge problem with stress and anxiety as well, I always have and I only learn’t how bad it was when I went to see a naturopath last year for some sleeping problems i was having and she had diagnosed me alongside a therapist. I am only 19 years old which makes it tough since I am only beginning to understand my body and it hasn’t finished growing yet!

    I went to visit her again a few days ago and she told me i have to learn to read the signs of my stress and know how to combat them, i think i am going to start doing what you do and making some me time for myself every night 🙂 Thanks Jen, absolutely adore you and your videos.

  33. Hi Jen,

    I’m a first time commenter, though I’ve been watching your YouTube channels for a long while now. I actually just realized you had a blog yesterday!

    I suffer(ed) from anxiety and IBS. It used to be a huge problem, especially because I’d get anxious even going to work, so for the time that I was commuting to my job 30 minutes away, I had a few emergency stops where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the bathroom. I tried counseling, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I’ve also tried CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which helped a little I guess.

    Then this past summer I was at Panera with my daughter, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I felt like I was going to be sick – so I ran into the washroom and started sweating and panicking. It actually turned out they had to call an ambulance because I was feeling like I was going to die. Long story short – it was a panic attack and I had to take weeks off of work just to get comfortable enough to leave my house, and confident enough to drive my car.

    My doctor put me on some medicine. (I hate hate HATE medicine. I don’t even take aspirin because I hate taking any kind of pill). But ever since then, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t realize just how high my base line of anxiety was until I was able to let it all go. AND I haven’t had an IBS episode since! For me, I don’t think it was something that I could have fixed by therapy or meditation, or CBT, etc. I don’t have any side effects on the medicine, so I’m very happy I found something that works for me. I hope you find something that works for you too!

  34. Thanks for sharing Jen! Knowledge is power and your blog might help other people to seek help. You seem to have much under control, but thought I would mention a special diet that might be of interest – I have heard wonderful things about it. It is called The GAPS Diet. I won’t say much about it, you can watch the YouTubes and read about it. There might be something there that will be helpful to you concerning IBS, and social anxiety. It has worked wonderfully for my girlfriend and her son. All the best!

  35. Thanks for sharing Jen!
    Knowledge is power and your blog might help other people to seek help.
    You seem to have much under control, but thought I would mention a special diet that might be of interest – I have heard wonderful things about it. It is called The GAPS Diet.
    I won’t say much about it, you can watch the YouTubes and read about it. There might be something there that will be helpful to you concerning IBS, and social anxiety.
    It has worked wonderfully for my girlfriend and her son.
    All the best!

  36. Jen, you express yourself so well. Thank you for sharing what you’ve went through and how you currently deal with IBS and anxiety. It’s very personal, but so relatable! I was watching some of your videos and was wondering if you can talk about your gratitude journal? I don’t mean the details, but what is it to you and how does writing in it factor into your daily life? Just the name leads me to think it is completely separate from any type of To Do list or calendar.

    1. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about it before somewhere, but I can’t pinpoint which video. I basically keep a daily gratitude diary that I write a few things I’m grateful for each day at the end of the day when I am getting ready for bed. This helps put me in a more positive mindset no matter what might have happened throughout the day. It only takes a few minutes, but is so worthwhile for me!

      1. Jen and @ashley
        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the video that you talked about this was on OLJ and the title is “Organizing Your Time: Reading and Journaling.” from June 30th, 2011.
        Hope this helps 😀

  37. What a beautiful post and great that you are so open and honest!
    I think you are really strong and quite amazing in working so hard at dealing with it. Kuddos to you 🙂

    Just wanted to say that quite often IBS is wrongly diagnosed and can often be Endometriosis, which is a not very well knows disease! So if not many things help and the pain insists, then have them check for Endo as well…
    Just a tip, not saying you might have Endo and not IBS as you seem to have been properly diagnosed by a ‘bowel’ physician…

    Keep up the good work!

  38. i suffer from ibs also and its rough and i don’t know what to eat i need any advice please. i have just been diagnosed with ibs. please any advice, thank you

  39. Thank you so much for talking about your IBS. I personally struggle with telling my close friends of my own IBS, how they can’t just tickle me out of the blue or else I’ll be in pain. I’ve had IBS for about three years now, since I was 14. Junior high is stressful on everyone, what with the hormones setting in and puberty for everyone. I had to go to this gastrointerologist every three weeks for awhile. My symptoms still persist, mainly from stress in high school now, but some of it can be anxiety of being a teenager. Anxiety is a serious issue, so I don’t plan on self-diagnosing it to myself, but I just always feel a heavy weight on my shoulders constantly. I don’t know if that’s stress or anxiety per se, so I’ll leave it at stress. I’ve been trying to find a food regime to follow, but the food in my house all depends on my mom, who has three other people to feed. When my friend attempted suicide, my gastrointerologist wrote down a therapist place, but I denied it. How do you know if you need therapy? I’m in a somewhat stable environment at my home, I’ve got five healthy animals, an amazing sister, and caring parents. Someone else deserves that spot that I would be taking if I got a therapist. I mean, the only things that I would talk about would be how my high school grades haven’t been the best and how that made my parents stop being proud of me, or how much my mom smokes cigarettes, or maybe how few friends I have. But there’s people who have worse problems than I do and deserve therapy, while I can probably get over my current issues. I don’t know if I should take therapy and how I would ask my parents. They would assume that I’m depressed – which I’m not currently. All will tell in due time, I suppose.

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