IBS and the long commute – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) sufferers the idea of spending two hours commuting to work and then another two home each day sounds like a pretty horrible state of affairs.

IBS is not a diagnosis of anything, in fact it is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning they test for everything else and when they can’t find what is wrong with you, you get the IBS diagnosis. Each person suffers differently, for me, I have uncomfortable stomach bloating from certain foods as well as the usual needing to go to the toilet urgently and repeatedly at all the most inopportune times. Anxiety and stress can bring on the effects just as easily as eating two kilos of habanero chillies can. Would you be anxious about being on a train for over an hour and a half if you had IBS? Yes, and that worrying about it can actually make it worse, reinforcing in your mind that you can’t do it.

Would you believe distracting yourself can take your mind off the problem but show you that thinking about the problem is one of the contributing factors to it as well! For instance, after the Christmas holidays, going back to work was hard enough add in the stress of the long commute and it became a problem that seemed impossible to beat. It was simply knowing that it wasn’t a problem BEFORE the holidays and that each trip just needed me to get that little bit further. The best idea was to distract myself, so I was working on the laptop on the train as well as writing articles and blog posts (this one in fact). This simple distraction method meant that I wasn’t worrying about what station I was at or trying to figure out the nearest toilet to my current location (the old find-a-loo app was pretty handy let me tell you).

The distraction method can help with pain, when your mind has focus on something else, it can blot out extra things like discomfort or pain.

If you have any tips for IBS yourself, please share them!