I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) at the age of twenty-seven. I visited a gastroenterologist at George Washington University Hospital after a rough few months of bloating, intestinal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. At an age when IBS peaks in females and during a high stress period in my life writing my PhD thesis, it seemed that all my symptoms, which I used to have from childhood, had worsened and were inhibiting me from having a normal life. I walked into the doctor’s office and, with passion, self-diagnosed that I had IBS. I was convinced garlic was the root of my problem but my theory was not well received.

Raise your hand if you or someone you know has said, “I’m bloated like I’m 3-6-9-months-you-get-the-drill pregnant?” The other day, I even heard from a family member that she felt as bloated as a 10-month pregnant woman. Sometimes, I will say, “I feel and look so bloated,” and others will comment that I’m as flat as I was before, not believing my feeling of fullness and discomfort.