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Hi there, thanks for reading this. I am a 20 year old woman who was diagnosed with IBS about three years ago, though I have suffered from it all my life and simply assumed that my weird bowel patterns were normal. As a little girl I’d dread sleepovers, or staying away from home, because the change in diet meant that I was either horribly constipated or had gas. This is still a fear I have now, but fortunately sleepovers aren’t so much the norm as they were ten years ago! I am totally aware that in several ways, I am really fortunate with my IBS because I’m not incontinent, I don’t live in fear of defecating myself, and my main problem is that I have a lot of gas and I bloat SO easily. But those- especially the latter- are two big problems for me, and I’m glad I found this forum where I can openly talk about it.

I’m a slim size 8, I work out every day and I work so so hard to keep a flat stomach. Except my stomach is flat for approximately five minutes per day, because as soon as I wake up I’ll make a drink and BAM- hello bloated tummy. A piece of fruit or some toast later and I’ll look about six months pregnant. By the end of the day, no matter how little I’ve eaten, I’ve gone up three dress sizes and I can’t look at myself in the mirror. It’s making me depressed because I spend my life feeling fat and frumpy.

When I was diagnosed, I was simply given a packet of peppermint pills that would, apparently, reduce the bloating. They did nothing to help, aided the gas problem a little, but the horrible bloated tummy remained and so I stopped taking them. Nothing works- I’ve tried everything- and some days I actually go without eating anything because I’d rather be hungry than want to cry whenever I see myself in the mirror. I’ve actually made myself sick a few times, in a desperate attempt to cut down the bloating (it didn’t work).

Now this is the bit that’s going to make me sound like a vain, narcissistic bimbo, so apologies if it comes across like that. I’m going on holiday next year with my girlfriends, and although I’m trying to be excited, I’m dreading my body in a bikini because I will look hideous. My friends are slim and don’t bloat, and I don’t think they’ll understand me skipping meals for the sake of looking good in a bikini (understandable- they’re my friends and they want the best for me). I’ve actually gone so far as to consider surgery, if there is any such procedure that could cure my abnormal bloating. I wouldn’t ever normally think about something like this, but my bloating is more than the average ‘food baby’- it’s painful, it’s horrible to look at, and it’s affecting my mental health.

Could anyone out there empathise? Or recommend something to beat the bloat?Please help- I’m desperate 🙁 xxx

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