If you needed proof that your stomach is wired to your senses, put a person with IBS in a room full of sweaty, stinky people and see what happens.
I first realized something was “wrong” with me when I would get sick after attending a weekly meeting. There was one person in this group that had THE WORST body odor ever. And I don’t think it was like normal “I-just-went-to-the-gym” odor. I honestly can’t compare the smell to anything else, but I can say it was fetid, repugnant, mephitic, whatever big word you can use to say revolting and offensive, make-your-lunch-come-back-up nauseating.
So after being besieged by this smell, I would start to feel all rumbly in my belly. I’d get hot like someone turned on a furnace in the middle of my chest. And after a few meetings, I knew what would come next — the most excruciating pain, mostly in my left side, but sometimes I felt it all over. I’ve never been stabbed, but this pain is how I imagine being stabbed would feel like.
The time after these meetings would be spent on the floor in the fetal position. I found that passing gas would temporarily alleviate some of the pain, but I had so much trouble passing gas that the times of relief were few and far between. And it would be like this for HOURS. How could a smell possibly create such pain and need for flatulence? Where does the gas come from?
Why, when I Google “bad smells and IBS,” the only results are about foul-smelling farts and stools. Guys, it’s waste, of course it smells like ass. Further delving into the topic produces the ever-so-helpful, “yeah, sometimes smells trigger IBS attacks.” Thanks, fellow IBS sufferers, I figured that one out already. The hard way.
The closest thing I can get to an answer is that it’s caused by problems with brain-gut signals. So I guess now I can point the finger and blame, but I still don’t have a clear answer for how to deal with such an IBS attack when it happens. Just pray to the toilet gods for that one, ahh-relieeeeeeef! fart?
My advice? Stop going to meetings with people who smell bad. Wear lots of deodorant at the gym and hope everyone else does, too. Realize that dating someone with bad B.O. has to go because, let’s face it, smelling bad is a deal-breaker.