Hot Girl Summer: Hot Girl IBS
The past year or two, you may have seen the expression Hot Girl Summer, but what about Hot Girl IBS? On TikTok the hashtag #hotgirlswithibs has gained upwards of 11.8 million views but that is a niche compared to #IBStiktok that’s pulled in more than 62.7 million views. IBS is real but its vague nature makes trying to untangle the causes and treatments as complicated as the large intestine looks. The trending hashtag’s popularity is attributed as a statement about women reclaiming their bodies – an effort to fly in the face of the “girls don’t poop” cultural discomfort placed on women. As part of an increasingly body-acceptance, self-care world, the finicky diagnosis affects 10-15% of Americans and is the most common gastrointestinal disorder. The trouble with IBS is that those who are affected struggle to find a cause and reasonable action to help alleviate it. The tone of many of these posts reflects that it’s incurable, sending these Hot Girl IBS women on extremely restrictive diets and trying the next “thing” and swearing by tricks like celery juice. Causes and triggers for IBS are elusive. The term “gut-brain axis” didn’t exist until 1988. Today there are more studies than ever exploring the gut biome, but it is still a relatively new discipline. The gut has recently been dubbed a “second brain” because it communicates to the brain in a dense network of neurons. The human body has more bacteria than human cells the majority of which are concentrated in the gut.
Gastrointestinal issues can be triggered by foods or bacteria imbalances, but gut-brain axis shows that there could also be a psychological stress component to IBS. Natalie Boyd for The Drift Magazine found: “Among IBS patients, depression and anxiety are found at higher rates than in the general population… Eating more kefir will not do anything for coping in a stressful world environment where many suffer from depression and anxiety… The popular approach to IBS, however, usually begins and ends with diet.” Are hot girls disproportionately affected by IBS? The answer might be yes. There does seem to be a connection between restrictive eating patterns and IBS. IBS symptoms have been observed in a majority of people with anorexia and bulimia. In a study from 2005 by Catherine Boyd, 98% of patients admitted to an eating disorder care unit were found to have at least one gastrointestinal disorder as well.”
Once the spiral begins, disordered eating (not necessarily a full eating disorder) can be enough to offset the gut microbiome. Many of the at-home tests for food sensitivities are misleading, often sending users down an elimination diet plan that makes the disordered eating patterns even worse. According to The Drift, “Disordered eating habits shift from being a reasonable response to an underlying gastrointestinal condition to pathologic behaviors that cause physical or psychosocial impairment.” Does every hot girl with IBS suffer from anorexia? No. But there does seem to be a trend of disordered eating or restrictive eating with IBS. The commonly prescribed diets for IBS can very much increase someone’s proclivity towards disordered eating habits. It actually provides a very intuitive transition for the Hot Girl IBS from, “it’s not that I won’t eat, it’s that I can’t eat.” In the body positivity movement, it seems the conventional problems with glamorizing skinny still come up pretending to be part of the body positivity and reclaiming female freedom. In reality, the Hot Girl IBS publicity may still perpetuate all the old… (cough, cough)… .