Patient experience: Dating with SIBO

Mar 20, 2022 | 0 comments

Let’s talk about something not talked about enough; How hard it is to date when you have stomach issues.

I’ll break the ice and let everyone know I s**t on my partner, the second week we started dating, after going to Bali.

Dating and stomach problems

Spending a lot of time with another individual when you have stomach issues is challenging, particularly in the early days. It can be sometimes really embarrassing and anxiety-inducing.

IBS and SIBO can make dating a nightmare. It can remove you from the moment and make you feel a need to hide your gut issues for as long as humanly possible. It can cause you to withdraw from social situations and even people you once loved.

It can be awkward to say to anyone, let alone a date, “Hey, sorry, can’t eat any of this, or I’ll be in extreme discomfort”. It only gets worse when they ask if you are lactose or gluten intolerant, and you answer, no, just a lot of things intolerant, and I don’t know why…”

People will be polite and pretend not to judge but I have felt that judgment in every fibre of my being. Most of the time, I think we all just shut up, suck up the pain and do our best to hide it. That shouldn’t be the way it is, but it often is when it’s so hard to get answers.

Eating out

We all know how annoying it can be to sit at a table with someone who must put in 20 alterations to their meal. Many of us know how annoying and awkward it is to BE that person. When I had gut issues and SIBO, I would study the menu before going anywhere and see which menu items were least likely to flare up my gut based on pure guesswork. I couldn’t even hide it by claiming lactose or gluten intolerant because the list of exclusions was beyond those two groups.

So instead, I just got to look a bit unhinged. There are still foods I don’t tolerate well, but there are far less, and I have taken the time to find out exactly what they are and why they don’t work for me.

Nearest bathroom

People with SIBO and gut issues can probably understand this. But I felt much better knowing where the nearest bathroom was- at all times.

Another bathroom issue that can make dating hard is it’s not considered socially acceptable to run off to the toilet mid-conversation or stay there for 45 minutes.

Periods and SIBO

Self-confidence and mental state

Your gut health affects many other external elements of your appearance. That shouldn’t matter and make us feel any less worthy, but sometimes it does, coupled with the mental strain gut issues can cause. It can cause skin issues, unexplained rashes, psoriasis, hair loss, muscle loss, or weight gain/loss. All these things may affect your self-confidence. It’s tough to be in a happy and healthy relationship when you are not satisfied within yourself.

The gut is directly linked to your brain. Disturbances in the gut can lead to elevated feelings of anxiety and depression. That can play into romantic relationships and all aspects of your life.

Sex life and IBS

Due to the discomfort, bloating, and often lower self-confidence and sex drive gut issues can cause, your sex life can often take a hit.

Stomach issues tend to be at their worst at night (particularly with SIBO). Do you see a potential problem here?

Bloating at the end of the day is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Painful bloating that makes it hard to move, let alone move with any rigour, is not normal.

How this played out for me

My stomach issues caused issues within my long-term relationship and contributed to our break-up (we got back together years later). I was just very unhappy, malnourished and depressed in general, because your gut health links to so many other things in your life. Our relationship became unhealthy, my body became unhealthy, my mind became unhealthy, and it was just a snowball effect.

My partner has always been very supportive, so I am grateful and lucky in that regard.

If you are currently going through the thick of it right now, I’d like you to know you’re not alone. You can take control of your gut health, and the first step is to get educated.

Love and best wishes on your gut healing journey, FixSIBO x

Dating with SIBO