IBS signs and symptoms as Millie Mackintosh reveals struggles: ‘It was really disrupting my life’

Millie Mackintosh, pictured, has shared some insight into living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (Getty Images)
Millie Mackintosh has shared some insight into living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (Getty Images)

Millie Macintosh has given an insight into her struggles living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), explaining she is careful about discussing foods around her daughters.

The former Made In Chelsea star, 34, first suffered IBS symptoms while travelling in her late teens after noticing pain and bloating which she says "disrupted her life".

"I'd have to leave social situations and always be complaining of a stomach ache," she told Mirror. "I didn't know I had IBS and candida overgrowth in my gut, which was a result of taking back-to-back antibiotics for tonsillitis."

After getting diagnosed when she was 18, the mum-of-two has now found ways to manage the symptoms of the condition, using diet, exercise and meditation and taking probiotics.

But she found when she started a family with her husband Hugo Taylor, 37, pregnancy made her "more gassy" and it was "unavoidable with the hormones".

Now having lived with IBS, Mackintosh says she is keen to make sure her daughters, Sienna, three, and Aurelia, 20 months, also eat well and have a healthy relationship with food.

"I’m conscious about how we talk about food in front of them, it’s a conversation I had with Hugo quite early on," she says.

"There are no good or bad foods, no shaming. It’s about foods that are going to make them feel strong, help them grow."

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Alexandra Burke on ITV as she reveals she had IBS
Alexandra Burke has revealed she was diagnosed with IBS in her early 20s. (ITV)

Mackintosh isn't the only celebrity to discuss her struggles with the condition, Alexandra Burke also recently shared she has been living with IBS since her early 20s.

The 34-year-old admitted it took her a while to talk to her GP about her symptoms because she thought it was a “taboo” subject.

“I was getting lots of cramps. The constant feeling of wanting to go to the toilet, the pain was the main thing,” she said on This Morning.

“After eating food, the cramping sensation is the biggest sign [of IBS]. That for me was the worst one because I’d be on stage, having to put a smile on my face, and literally be in agony.”

“I just didn’t talk about it. It’s just such a taboo subject which it doesn’t need to be, but I just didn't bring it up."

Steph McGovern also previously revealed she has been forced to turn down the opportunity to appear on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here because of IBS.

The TV presenter, 40, said she's been asked several times to take part in the popular ITV show but living with the health condition has prevented her from agreeing to be a contestant.

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Stock image of Steph McGovern on the red carpet in April 2022. (Getty Images)
Steph McGovern has previously opened up about living with IBS. (Getty Images)

What is IBS?

According to the NHS, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system.

The NHS estimates that around 13 million people are living with the condition in the UK.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Typical symptoms of the condition include stomach pains or cramps after eating, which may be relieved by opening your bowels; bloating; your stomach feeling swollen and you may notice this after certain foods; along with diarrhoea or constipation.

"These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time," the NHS adds.

It is worth noting that the symptoms of IBS can be similar to a number of other conditions, so it is always worth seeking medical advice if you are concerned.

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IBS impacts around 13 million people in the UK. (Getty Images)
IBS impacts around 13 million people in the UK. (Getty Images)

How is IBS treated?

While there is no official cure for IBS, diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms.

"If you’re diagnosed with IBS by your GP, they’re likely to recommend things like exercise, suggest peppermint oil or perhaps offer medicines to help manage symptoms," explains Dr Brian Fisher, GP and clinical director at Evergreen Life.

Dr Fisher has put together some other suggestions for those who have been diagnosed with IBS to try, some of which your GP may help with.

  • Identifying what can help you de-stress. Examples may include mindfulness, breath work, gardening, knitting and talking with friends.

  • Testing for small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, which can cause a variety of digestive and non-digestive symptoms.

  • Comprehensive microbiome stool testing to identify gut microbiome imbalances and help identify if specific strains of probiotics would be helpful.

  • Chewing your food and eating slowly.

  • Trying to avoid: wheat, gluten, grains, sugar, dairy, sugary fruits, legumes – as a trial to see if it helps.

  • Considering if you’re vitamin B12-deficient. SIBO can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12, so if you’re experiencing SIBO symptoms or you’ve been diagnosed with SIBO, you might also have B12 deficiency, so it might be worth getting a test.

  • Taking a blood test to check your vitamin D level, as emerging evidence suggests, for some people, taking vitamin D supplements may help but it isn’t guaranteed as it’ll depend on the root cause of your symptoms.

For further information and help visit:

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