As many of you will know, I began suffering from IBS at the age of 14 – however I kept my symptoms largely a secret from all but my parents until May 2014 (post here). I’d had enough of pretending it was just a ‘stomach ache’ and playing it down, when it reality – it seriously affected the way I lived out each day and often acted as a hindrance socially. It was ruling my life almost, yet I rarely told a soul.
The decision to share came after a discussion with Symprove, who actually develop a supplement which restores the good bacteria in your gut (more on that later) in addition to offering one-to-one support over the phone for sufferers. I trialled the supplement for 12 weeks (which they specify is the minimum to see an improvement), in addition to chatting to the lovely Jenny (who is no longer with Symprove, but I thought deserved a mention because she was so fab).
Although initially I was cynical due to the sheer amount of products I’d tried in the past, I can honestly say that I saw a drastic difference even a few weeks into the supplement, regaining control over my life. In addition to minimising the nasty IBS symptoms, my skin also got a whole lot better and my immune system seemed near-on perfect. Coming from a girl who used to catch every cold and flu bug going, it was amazing! This improvement inspired a long-term partnership with Symprove, who you may have seen popping up on my blog from time to time.
I continue to use Symprove whenever I experience a bad bout, however I largely manage my IBS on a daily basis through diet and exercise. Stress is a massive contributor for me – and it’s completely unrealistic to cut this out of your life completely, but I muddle through as best as possible – with the reassurance I’m not alone. A large part of this reassurance is from the active Symprove online community – who are full of advice and kind words when you’re feeling low. However while online support can be helpful, it does have its limits and so when Symprove announced they’d be organising a bloggers lunch (and at none other than the amazing SKYLON venue in London), I was both excited and intrigued to meet others who had gone through the same symptoms and situations I had.
So, a couple of weeks ago – I headed to Waterloo and over to Southbank for an afternoon of toilet talk. Not perhaps everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to topic of conversation, however it was so lovely to be able to talk openly to others who just ‘got it’.
Founder of Symprove Barry headed the table, while the lovely Carol from the team also joined us. Bloggers Jo, Samantha and Vicki completed the group – as we sat down and admired the stunning views. I’d never been to SKYLON before but had heard it was one of London’s finest. It didn’t disappoint.
Wine was poured and menus were handed out as we discussed our blogging beginnings and interests. We did giggle at one point since each of us were on separate diets (dairy free, egg free and FODMAP) in order to manage our symptoms and so the poor waiter had his work cut out individually checking and tailoring each meal to each blogger. They were however, very accommodating – which is reassuring in such a busy and renowned restaurant (definitely intolerance friendly – I can confirm) and I shall certainly be returning!
Eventually I opted for the Stone Bass, which is a little like Sea Bass but larger in size and a little meatier, all while still maintaining that gorgeous flaky, melt-in-the-mouth texture. Teamed with the crunchiest of triple cooked chips, flaked toasted almonds and crispy kale, it made for the most delicious lunch!
I also snapped Carol’s delicious looking dish – since it was too photogenic to ignore!
We whittled away several hours chatting, before snapping one last picture of the group together.
It was so lovely to chat to such a kind group of girls, each who had their own experiences to share and their own advice to give. We discussed how Symprove had helped each of us in our own individual way – with Sam (in the pretty red dress) exclaiming that she’d not only regained her control with regard to IBS but that she’d also lost two dress sizes in the process, something she’d struggled to maintain in the past. Vicki had tried several pro-biotics and supplements before Symprove (each of which actually made her symptoms worse) however she now runs such a helpful blog with GF and intolerance friendly recipes!
And Jo, I didn’t even realise, had only tried Symprove after reading my review on here! Proof that my daily ramblings have actually helped one person in the past, which was so so lovely to hear!
We said our goodbyes and promised to meet again in another intolerance friendly London restaurant or even during an exciting trip to Symprove HQ – so watch this space!
In terms of Symprove itself, it’s definitely worth a try if you suffer from tummy troubles (or even skin problems, as this cleared mine up). I won’t try and explain the science-y bit behind the formula because I’ll completely muller it, however there is so much research that goes into how restoring your good bacteria can completely re-vamp your health and yet it largely goes un-recognised in the medical world and with regard to recommendations from GP. I personally have lost faith in traditional medicines when it comes to my IBS (as you’ll know if you’ve read my previous posts) so I think supplements, diet, exercise and stress management are what helps me more. I wish someone had recommended the above to me sooner, as it would have saved years of suffering in school and throughout University!
Have you tried Symprove – or do you suffer from IBS and think that talking about it to another sufferer could help? Get in touch, as I’d love to hear from you!