By Dr. Donna Powell & Dr. Renee M. Marchioni Beery at Gastro MD
Dating can be nerve-wracking, and it becomes increasingly more so when you have a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Living with IBS means constantly fearing flare-ups, especially in public. You have to avoid trigger foods, making it seem like you’re a picky eater. And even the anxiety of wanting the date to go well can trigger uncomfortable symptoms.
Discussing your gastrointestinal health isn’t exactly something you want to disclose to a potential new lover on your first date. And so you will likely hide it – which can put you in an uncomfortable position when your date suggests a restaurant or a dish that you know will likely trigger symptoms like gas, bloating, cramping, or diarrhea. Even after you’ve been on a few dates and gotten to know one another better, having a conversation about your condition doesn’t get much easier.
Because of the challenges and unpredictability of IBS, dating can be daunting. While these are the realities many people with IBS live with, we’re here to tell you that having IBS doesn’t mean giving up. Here’s how to deal with IBS:
Allow Yourself To Be “Picky”
There’s nothing wrong with being picky about your food, especially if it means saving yourself from the pain and discomfort of an IBS flare-up. Change the narrative on what it means to be picky from someone difficult to please or fussy to someone who is intentionally careful and selective.
Do Your Homework
As much as possible, agree on a restaurant before you go on your date so that you can look over the menu. They may recommend their favorite spot, or you can make a suggestion. Knowing where you will dine before the date allows you to research so you know what you can order and call ahead to see if they can make changes to the dish. You may even want to learn about how the establishment is laid out, so you know where the bathrooms are. Whether it’s going to the movies, an art museum, or a park – do your homework!
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