Be a part of the comfortable revolution!
I’d like to use this blog to not only tell you about Maia, but to share my own experiences over the years with IBS and the stories that come with this disorder. I will start by telling you about how IBS became such an integral part of my life, and how this has influenced me to create my own business from the ground up. This is all based on an idea I had a couple of years ago after a search for bloat friendly jeans resulted in me wearing jeans which didn’t fit properly or failing that – wearing leggings or gym clothes every day.
How it started
I was roughly around 16 when I first started noticing symptoms, it would be constant stomach cramps, aches and pains, and plenty of tears. It took me a while to realise that all these pains I’d been experiencing were not just random outbursts, but they were a reaction to stress. Bear in mind this was all before the concept of mindfulness and self-care became popular and it didn’t even occur to me that I would need to take care of myself during these spells. I just seemed to turn against my stomach, hating it for causing me all the unexplained cramps and stabbing pains, rather than learning how to deal with them effectively. This was a constant cycle of pain, stress and anxiety for a very long time while experimenting with other methods of treatment which I will cover below.
One of the main diets which is recommended by health professionals is the Low FODMAP diet, which involves restricting items out of your diet for four weeks and re-introducing slowly in order to identify whether you have any food triggers. FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols which are scientific terms for classifying groups of foods which can cause a reaction in the gut. I know there are a lot of people who have had success following this diet, however I have tried it twice and it didn’t help me at all unfortunately. Personally, I found the diet to be incredibly restrictive, and I really struggled to eat anything without being obsessive over labels and stressing about accidentally eating something I shouldn’t have (onion and garlic – I’m looking at you! Seriously, it’s in almost everything.) Over the years I’ve discovered that generally food is not a trigger for me. That is with a few exceptions that I think apply to most people anyway regardless of whether you have IBS or not, and those are fried foods, overeating, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
I’m not going to tell you that you should or shouldn’t take medication as it’s entirely up to you and your medical professional, but what I will say is that it’s so much better to try and get your IBS under control without the use of medication if you can. Easier said than done though, right? Over the years I’ve tried so many from mild anti-depressants, peppermint capsules, acid reflux tablets and so many more. At the moment I don’t take any medication apart from the occasional acid reflux tablet and ibuprofen when I’m having a flare-up. (Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory so tends to work better than paracetamol.) I do try and eat healthier, drink more water and keep exercising on a regular basis, and keeping my mental health in check – all of which keep it mostly under control. But it’s taken me over ten years to get there!
I cannot even count the amount of doctor’s appointments and hospitals trips I’ve had because of my bowels. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you explain your symptoms, it was a never-ending cycle of appointments, medications, invasive procedures all to be told:
‘There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re fine.’
Which is bittersweet as it’s the best and the worst news you could receive. On the one hand, it’s a huge relief there’s nothing seriously wrong. And on the other hand there’s disappointment that nothing had been found as I knew that something wasn’t quite right but nobody could tell me what this thing was that was causing me all this pain. One procedure did reveal that I have a hiatus hernia which explains some of the symptoms, but the elusiveness of IBS means that often doctor’s are at a loss of what advice to give a lot of the time. Please try not to get upset at doctor’s if they seem unhelpful – a lot of the time symptoms are on a patient by patient basis and what works for one will not work for another and it takes a lot of experimentation to get it right.
Keeping it under control
These days I tend not to think about it so much, whereas in the past I’ve spent so much time thinking about how I can make my symptoms and causing unnecessary stress which in turn makes my flare-ups worse. I’m much kinder to my body nowadays and would like to encourage everyone else to try it too, as difficult as it can be some days, it’s the best thing for recovery. As IBS is so unpredictable and can flare up at the most inconvenient times it’s almost impossible to know how to adjust and cope without learning how your body works. I know that if I’m having a bad day, that it will pass and somehow that keeps me going. For me I find a good, long sleep, lots of tea, a fluffy blanket, cuddles with my cats and a Netflix binge fixes it most of the time! But that’s just me, and this could be the worst thing to do for someone else, so take the time to learn how your body works and what self-care option is best for you.
So, why Maia?
How does all of this relate to a pair of jeans, you might be wondering. It’s such a simple piece of clothing and a staple of many people’s wardrobes but why take a classic piece of clothing and change it? For years I have been searching for comfortable trousers, ones that won’t dig in at the waistband and actually cause a flare-up from becoming too tight throughout the day. And for years I’ve not been able to find anything suitable. That’s why I’ve taken a leap and decided to do it for myself, and I’m hoping there are lots of other women out there who all feel the same as I do. But these jeans aren’t just for women who struggle with IBS, maybe you just want to have a comfortable, eco-friendly pair of jeans or maybe you’re just fed up of the cheap jeans which fall apart at the crotch from the inevitable chub rub.
The struggle is real, ladies, and I plan to fix it for you.
So you can eat to your heart’s content without worrying your jeans won’t fit in an hour.
So you can smash that client meeting you’ve been stressing about for weeks in comfortable, stylish clothing.
So you can get rid of those five year old leggings which are about to fall apart at the seams.
So you can brag to all your friends how comfy you are on a night out, while still looking amazing.
I’m starting a comfortable revolution, and I hope you will join me!
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