Irritable Bowel Syndrome is often thought of as a minor health concern and, for many, an easy target for a joke - but it can have real substantial effects on lives, especially when treatment eludes those afflicted with it. It's also bound to be difficult to speak openly on the subject, with many choosing to instead keep their struggle with it to themselves.
Australian model Alyce Crawford, however, is looking to buck that trend, as she recently took to Instagram to speak on how she deals with IBS. The long-term digestive condition can have a variety of symptoms, from abdominal pain and constipation to diarrhoea and bloating. After three years dealing with it, Crawford has now spoken on what her day-to-day life with it is like.
"For the last 3 years, I have suffered with IBS," she wrote in the Instagram post. "The symptom I suffer with specifically is severe bloating. It began literally overnight while I was living in America. I woke up one morning, my stomach was extremely bloated & I was experiencing sharp stabbing pains. From that day on, my life was never the same."
Her experience involved a lot of nausea and lethargy, and even when she had multiple appointments with doctors, she struggled to find the right treatment to make her feel better. She provided two photos, one which shows the bloating she had to put up with throughout the last three years, while the other shows what her stomach looks like now that she's found a way to handle it.
Eventually, Alyce was able to find some relief from her symptoms. She had a consultation with her friend's dietician, and was given some strict eating plans that she had to follow. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it for the results - especially given the impact the condition was having on her day-to-day mental health.
"Yes, missing out at times was hard BUT healing my stomach was so important to me. I knew the longer I did the right thing for my health, the faster my stomach would heal and I would therefore be able to enjoy in the long run.
"The repercussions of feeling this way not only effected my mental and physical health, but affected relationships and my work as a model. For those of you reading who suffer from IBS or a similar condition (or know someone suffering) will understand and know exactly what I am talking about."
Alyce is now hoping to study nutrition at university, with the aim to help others who have similar issues to her.
"I do really want to reiterate that my struggles, my journey, finally finding a way to manage my health and my experiences are what have all lead me to where I am today so I can't be angry about my situation because of those positive outcomes alone," she concluded.