A place I´d rather not be

This might make you feel flushed

No one likes to talk about what happens when they are sitting on the toilet, or worse, does not happen. We are ashamed or embarrassed. I'm ashamed and embarrassed too! The other night on Ladies Night, a comedy show, one of the entertainers said, a man told her: "I have trouble with my bowels." She made a face and obviously didn't want to talk about it. As an afterthought, she said, "Well, have a smooth run." And the audience laughed. If it doesn't run or runs all the time, there's definitely nothing to laugh about. Problems with bowel movement - Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a complaint that many fibromyalgia sufferers have to deal with. This taboo subject has what it takes to thoroughly ruin your day.

  • Will I be done with my business on the toilet before I have to go to an appointment?
  • Where can I go to the bathroom/toilet when I am out?
  • Do I want to go to a public bathroom/toilet having these complaints?

These are just some of the questions I ask myself every day.

"Potty trained"

I don't want to go to the throne room! I am British. No, I'm not 199th in line to the throne. Although, who knows? No, it's not about that throne, it's the other seat where even kings or queens go alone. Where bowel movement takes place.

For me, it started at an early age. As a child of the 60's I was probably potty trained and clean before my first birthday. Indeed I was not though. 

Going to the toilet meant pain and torment for me. So I always pushed "the poo" back until it got hard, I had bad constipation and even more pain. A vicious circle developed. I also seemed to suffer from gastritis frequently, the intense urge to defecate with very soft stool or diarrhea. The other end of the spectrum.

Food intolerances

I suspect that I already had food intolerances as a child. My mother was constantly scolding me for having to pass wind so often. My underpants were often not clean, which drove her crazy because she was OCD about hygiene and cleanliness. I honestly can't imagine how she managed to change nappies.


As a child I was given a lot of penicillin, which, as we now know, is not so good for our gut.


When I was fifteen I had anorexia and very often no bowel movement at all. During this time I gave my bowels a really hard time eating next to nothing. Not long after that, at 18, I came to Germany to the household of a pediatrician who desperately tried to help me. I was given dried fruit cubes and other nice things to eat every day, and regular enemas. Hey ho. It did not help. I took laxatives in small doses every day. I became addicted to them, so to speak. Again, not good for my bowels.


How I envied people who could go to the toilet comfortably every day after breakfast and have no problems at all. There were repeated colonoscopies, which revealed my enlarged intestine but no further findings in the early days. There were warnings from the doctors not to take laxatives regularly. I tried everything that the market and my research yielded.

Side effects

Various oils and powders, all kinds of diets. Nothing brought improvement. After I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was given painkillers. Painkillers have a lot of side effects. I got a lot of them. Just the pain didn't get any better. One of the side effects that really bothered me a lot was constipation. Hospital treatments almost always resulted in massive constipation.

Envy and Pain

Someone who can go to the toilet every day after breakfast without any worries probably cannot imagine what it is like to dread the ordeal.

Every day I did some kind of sports: walking, cycling, gymnastics. Nowadays I can no longer do all of these, so I had to look for other ways of keeping in motion. Movement

In addition, I sometimes produced such a quantity when I was successful that the toilet was clogged. There is nothing more embarrassing than having to get help for that.

"Don't stop me now"

Sometimes I could be heard screaming loudly in the bathroom, like when I gave birth, and it hurt almost as much. I have also tried many methods from the pregnancy preparation course. Breathing techniques, relaxation methods, etc. I even sang on the toilet: "Don't stop me now ...", when the process started and I tended to tense up because it hurt so much. ...I didn´t go on to sing: "cos I'm having such a good time!"  You can't tense up when you sing. My husband opened the bathroom door and found me bitterly weeping in despair and exhaustion after I hadn't finished after an hour.

Change of diet

I followed all kinds of nutritional recommendations. Without improvement. For some time now I have been studying nutrition myself, and I have finally found options that mostly work for me. Due to Lichen Sclerosus, Diverticula, etc. my loo experience is never carefree, but my intestines and I have kind of become friends. This is a good thing because my bowel does not only influence my bowel movement but so much more.

Too much information?

Some people might think, "Whoa, I didn't want to know that.

I'm not the only one who has these problems. According to survey studies, roughly 20% of the American population and 17% of the UK population suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The complaints spark noticeably into my everyday life. Not only do I have to think about where I can go to the toilet every day, the subject often keeps me from visiting people because I don't want to go to the toilet in their house. It keeps me from going to rehab because the clinics won´t meet my nutritional needs. I can't imagine sharing a room with anyone. It's also very difficult when my husband wants to go away for a few days to relax with me, as hotel room bathrooms are not so private. By the way, it was he who told me to write about this topic.

What came first hen or egg?

Previously it has often been said that stress and the psyche cause irritable bowel syndrome, but recent studies suggest that intestinal bacteria can affect the psyche. It is possible that a disturbed intestinal flora could be recognized as the cause of psychological disorders. There are not yet enough study results, in order to prove this clearly.

When you think about fibromyalgia...

When you say fibromyalgia, most people think of pain, but unfortunately, there are so many other ailments associated with this disease that are hardly paid any attention to. Despite the fact that they take up so much of your time.


In the course of the last decade, the intestine has become a real star in research fields. It is no longer regarded as a necessary, even disgusting digestive organ, but as a miracle of our body.

More on this in the next episode.

Where you can find additional information on the topic of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Irritable Bowel Syndrom - What now?

Here you can read which symptoms Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes and what you can do.

IBS Patient Support Group

In this support group there is a lot of useful information, possibilities to participate in studies and information about current studies.


Here you can learn what Fodmaps are and get nutritional suggestions.

"All diseases begin in the intestines"


"What the lungs cannot expel, the intestines must expel. What the intestines can't excrete, the kidneys must excrete. "What the kidney cannot excrete, the skin must excrete. What the skin can't eliminate, leads to death."

Chinese proverb

"The intestines are the gateway to life"

Asian proverb

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Valles Colomer, M. V.-C., Falony, G. F. & Darzi, Y. D. (2019, February 4). The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression. Nature Microbiology. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-018-0337-x

Neue Reizdarm-Studie aus Belgien: Fast 70 Prozent der Bevölkerung leiden an Durchfall, Blähungen & Co. (2019, September 19). Pressportal. https://www.presseportal.de/pm/7139/4379228

Picture: Photo by William Krause on Unsplash