Friday, August 7, 2009

Parenting with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Long before I had Sarah I was diagnosed with a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This condition is indeed real. Interestingly, my husband has it and so did our late cat Maggie.

When I experience an episode of IBS I refer to it as an "IBS attack." There is no right time for it to happen and it typically tends to happen when I am not close to a bathroom. Lucky me. It's a condition certainly not convenient especially when you are with your child who needs your undivided attention.

During my pregnancy I was rather lucky as far as my IBS goes. There were three ways my condition could have happened during this time: escalating, subsiding or staying the same. I was fortunate, that at this time my IBS stayed relatively at bay. Even under great duress (when my mother had two heart attacks -- she's well now thank goodness) I was able to keep my IBS under control. In that situation there was no room for me to get overwhelmed because I was carrying a baby and needed to be responsible for her and couldn't afford to take any risks emotionally. Boy, did I ever want to cry and lose it completely in these instances.

Flash forward, my mother is healthy and well, yet there are many other stressors including parenting, work, and life in general that continue to get in the way and impact my condition, which can be inconvenient, impromptu and disabling in nature.

Over the years I have learned that my IBS tends to be stress related. The downside, no pun intended here, to this condition is that it does indeed happen in a moment's notice. My body becomes a ticking time bomb waiting to find a bathroom. My intestines tighten up and the only means of comfort is release.

I will say that treatment has been a great benefit for me in helping to manage my condition. Before and after pregnancy, but not during, I often took specific medication on an as needed basis. But, lately, with Sarah, knowing how alert and on the ready I need to be, I have been encouraged to take it regularly as directed by my physician. There have been one or two instances where if it weren't for stickers, being with a friend or family member or at home I might have had an embarassing accident, one I would just have to deal with.

The lesson here for me, and possibly others with this condition, is to be in the mindset, similiar to when I was pregnant, to:
+ try and stay calm (I know much easier said than done) where possible
+ eat healthy
+ reduce caffeine intake
+ embrace treatment (where appropriate and under the guise of your physican)

With this motivation I just have to hope that IBS will not be a deterrent, especially as a parent, that could cause an inconvenient situation but instead enable me to be in better control and able to continue being the active, on the go mommy I am.

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