Finding relief for IBS shouldn’t only include treatment for physical symptoms such as diarrhea. Your physical body isn’t the only part of you that suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. Your mind and emotions are also dramatically affected by IBS, and shouldn’t be ignored. For this reason, it is a good idea for an IBS sufferer to join a support group.
An IBS support group is an excellent way for an IBS sufferer to cope, learn and share with others all the difficulties they face in their life because of their condition.
The following are a few reasons why joining an IBS support group can help make a difference in your world -
Make Friends – IBS can cause those who suffer from it to feel isolated, often causing them to stop social activities and confining themselves to their home. Isolation usually results from IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence that can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and debilitating. In addition, some medications for IBS can cause serious side effects that can actually increase isolation feelings.
A support group can help relieve your feelings of isolation when you meet people who understand and truly sympathize with what you are going through, because they suffer the same.
Relieve stress – Many people with IBS have difficulty opening up about their condition to other non-sufferers, including family doctors. The reason is because many people who are unfamiliar with the condition have mixed beliefs about it. In fact, some people don’t even believe IBS exists and think it’s “all in your head”. Thus, not only is it frustrating to live with IBS, it is frustrating to have to explain your condition to those who don’t believe in it or won’t understand. This creates plenty of stress.
Talking to fellow IBS sufferers at a support group about the way you are treated by others and sharing stories, helps to eliminate some of the stress you feel.
Educate yourself – Support groups are a fantastic way to learn about IBS. You can find out about different treatment methods and how a member who has undergone the treatment responded to it. You can learn and discuss latest studies, find out if there are any clinical trials, etc. In addition, support groups can help educate non-sufferers about IBS and provide them with understanding.
How to find an IBS support group
Due to the fact that IBS is a common condition that affects millions of people, there are many support groups available both locally and online. Here is how you can find them –
- Ask your health care provider/gastroenterologist about a local support group
- Call your local hospital and ask about support groups in your area
- Do an online search using your city and “ibs support group” as the keywords.
- Start your own support group by making friends with fellow patients in the waiting room who also see your gastroenterologist
- Do a general search for IBS and see what you come up with
- Search for the keywords “ibs” or “irritable bowel syndrome” and “forum” or “message boards”, or “online support” (IE. “ibs online support group” or “irritable bowel syndrome message board”)
The following are two great online IBS support group sites -
1. ibsgroup.org – The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help Group is the largest online support community for people suffering with IBS.
2. helpforibs.com – This is another excellent online community where you can learn and find support from fellow sufferers.
An estimated 35 million Americans suffer from IBS, proof you’re not alone. Opening up to others is one of the best ways to cope with IBS. Talking and sharing with those who understand you can make a world of difference.
By Susan Reynolds. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally at Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Secrets . On the site you'll also find more about IBS symptoms and information on alternative IBS treatments .