'Do I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? I prefer bottoming and I'm worried my sex life is over'

2017-06-04
I keep getting stomach cramps and my friend says it might be Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). But I’m worried it’s bowel cancer. I think it’s worse when I’ve eaten wheat but I can’t work it out. Also, I prefer to bottom in the bedroom — does this mean my sex life’s over? - Owen, London.
Dr Ranj: Before you panic, remember that stomach cramps can be caused by lots of different things — not all of them serious. It could be that something in your diet is upsetting you and it may be worth keeping a food diary to see if your symptoms correlate with anything specific. Be careful about cutting out foods from your diet though. You could inadvertently end up causing yourself a nutritional deficiency, so it may be a good idea to speak to a doctor or dietician beforehand. There are a proportion of people who seem to suffer gut symptoms when they eat wheat. Some of these people actually have an underlying medical problem called coeliac disease, where the immune system is triggered by the gluten in wheat and then attacks the lining of the intestines. This results in a range of symptoms including bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and weight loss. For these people it’s extremely important to get tested and diagnosed properly because they need to avoid gluten entirely. IBS is another digestive condition that can be triggered by food and causes nasty cramps and stomach upsets. It affects up to one in every five people, usually between the ages of 20 and 30. It’s a diagnosis of exclusion so all other serious conditions need to be considered first. Bowel cancer is much rarer. The disease can present with abdominal pain, bloating, change in bowel habits and blood in your poo. It tends to affect older people, but it can strike at any age. At the end of the day, if you are worried or your symptoms are persistent, make sure you see your doctor for an examination and tests. As for your other concern, even if you are diagnosed with a gut health problem, your sex life doesn’t have to be over. You can work out ways of managing your symptoms (especially if you have a treatable condition), by knowing how to prepare yourself better for sex, or trying out other pleasurable things. There are lots of people out there who have medical problems and who are still able to enjoy perfectly fulfilling sex lives. So don’t worry. More stories: It’s official – ‘Sense8’ has been officially cancelled by Netflix Britney Spears pens heartwarming love letter to the LGBT community