April was IBS Awareness Month, and this has spurred me on to talk about my personal experience living with the condition a little more.
It is a rather embarrassing problem to talk about – characterized by periods of diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, nausea, tiredness and severe abdominal pains, however it is something that affects 1 in 5 of us in the UK – and surely with so many suffering in silence, it’s worth talking about and breaking down the stigma.
I kept my IBS a secret for 6 years, with only my close family knowing about it – however last year, I decided to stop hiding something that affected me on a daily basis. Just like diabetes, asthma and back pain, it should be something that we can talk about without being met by a furrowed brow or having to trivialise it as ‘stomach problems’.
I’ve kept a number of ‘diaries’ which explain how I cope with my symptoms which you can read here. However this week, I wanted to talk about a new product that I’ve tried recently. Although I am very wary to try out new IBS ‘treatments’ because in the past, this has left me in a much worse off condition (a tablet which I think has now been discontinued and is no longer prescribed) – if something could potentially help, I always think it’s worth a try.
Previously I’ve managed to get pretty good results with a prebiotic, which was really great for taking the edge off the symptoms, however, when I had times of severe flare ups, I needed something a bit stronger to help manage and reduce my pain and discomfort. Something I could take which I knew was going to help immediately and I knew I had beside me for the ‘bad’ days.
I’d spotted Silicolgel before in my local Holland & Barrett store and decided to give it a go. Taken orally, it’s a sort of gloopy liquid solution which treats a number of gastrointestinal disorders, including heartburn, acid reflux and stomach ache, in addition to the symptoms associated with IBS. It works to reduce any excess acidity, it binds and absorbs any toxins which might be irritating the lining and it soothes and coats the intestines and digestive tract.
I find liquid solutions work really well with me in getting to the root of the pain or discomfort pretty quickly – to the extent I can actually feel it working far better than any capsule.
Recommended to take three times a day before meals, I can usually feel in the morning whether it’s going to be a good or bad day (judging by the number of visits to the toilet) and so I tended to take this in its prescribed dosage whenever I had a ‘bad’ day, as a management and precautionary measure. It worked really quickly to ‘bind’ things up and stop the constant urge to visit the toilet again and again – which definitely helped and reassured me I could actually get through the day.
Abdominal pain wise – which is often so bad for me that I can do nothing else other than lie in bed with a hot water bottle and a peppermint tea, this really took the edge off the pain and soothed my insides. Usually, when I have a bad bout of rushing to the toilet in the morning – at night, I suffer with intense stomach pains – of which I can only describe as being like a basketball or melon being pushed through my intestines – following by stabbing pains so hideous that I often keel over in pain. After a day of taking this three times as instructed, I still had minor pain but it didn’t affect my day-to-day activities and I didn’t have to spend the night cooped up in bed with a hot water bottle, which was definitely a bonus!
With no known side affects and all natural ingredients, Silicolgel works for both IBS-D and IBS-C sufferers (I fluctuate between both) because it helps remove irritants and toxins from the body (the ones which can irritate the colon and cause both intermittently). I now have to use this far less regularly because luckily my symptoms have subsided a little however at times in need – it has been an absolute lifesaver – such as when I had an exam I simply couldn’t miss and I needed to actually be able to walk into University and sit in a room for a prolonged period.
If you are at your wits end with your IBS symptoms, I’d definitely recommend trying Silicolgel as a means of helping the worst bouts of it. I don’t want to sit here and profess that it’s a miracle cure (although for me, it’s helped immensely) because as with anything, it may not work the same for any two people however if you’re suffering in silence and eager to try anything that might help – this certainly worked for me in terms of soothing, relaxing and stopping the main issues associated with my IBS. I’m quite funny about taking anything for a long period of time because I like to manage my IBS as naturally and as medication free as possible, however this is the next best thing because the ingredients are natural and the side effects non existent. I’ve still got a little left for any moments I feel I need a helping hand – which is definitely reassuring!
Available from Boots and Holland & Barrett priced £8.29 (200ml) and £18.49 (500ml).
Have you tried Silicolgel – if so, what did you think? Have you tried anything for your IBS that has helped during really bad bouts?