IBS, my gut and travelling

DISCLAIMER: This post is not for the squeamish. There will be discussion of bodily functions and possibly even worse actual human life. If you want to keep your lunch down, I suggest scrolling on.

Now, that’s out of the way, we can begin. I have written here about many things but never about having Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. One of the sexier aspects of being autistic is that there are often other things that come as part of the deal, such as anxiety. Stomach conditions are also fairly common for autistic people and I am no exception. Most of the time my IBS manifests itself by making me, basically, full of shit. Like Venice being flooded, I tend to test the Glaswegian sewerage system most of the month. Plus I am often quite farty and that’s just a cost of doing business. As I like to travel a lot on public transport, I very often end up with trapped wind and invariably need to find a quiet corner to deal with that effectively upon arrival. This I can deal with fine and it doesn’t need medication. What’s a lot harder to deal with is when my stomach is cramping, which is less common than it used to be but happens periodically. It happened while I was in Dublin hence I decided to write about it.

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Dublin

For some reason, my stomach doesn’t like Dublin. The rest of me really does but my gut has a great aversion to the Fair City. I’ve been there four times and for three of them, I was playing through the pain barrier. There were points on Monday when my gut felt properly acidic, like I was about to spew up. I took Buscopan, which is anti-spasmodic, though that felt like it was making things worse. I also partook in some paracetamol, which alleviated things only slightly. The previous day, when I went to the Ulster Transport Museum, my stomach had been dodgy, flaring up about an hour after I ate. The only thing I ate that day that didn’t cause me any bother was a packet of Tayto Smoky Bacon crisps. So I had two. I was fine when I woke up the next morning and for the journey down to Dublin but before lunch and after was bad. But I played on. Why? I was in a place that I like but wouldn’t be in again for a while. I don’t like to give up. I’ve worked many days when my stomach was playing up and carried on. There’s a point you just have to.

The good news is that my stomach has been back to normal since. My stomach tends to be worse when I’m travelling but not always. When I went to Cambridge in October and again in February, I was fine. I think the buildup to travelling, the logistics, the what-ifs and all that, that tends to make me more stressed and hence my stomach decides to join in the fun. Thankfully I am not as stressed as I once was and my stomach does not cause as much grief. When it does, though, it adds another dimension to the travelling experience, one I would gladly avoid.

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