sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page ten
The tale of...Morgan (31 July 2010)
Ever since I was nine years old I've had IBS. The doctors call it 'severe IBS' which personally I think is total stupidity considering the fact that any IBS is dreadfully painful. I've lost friends, people have accused me of faking, I've had depression and been suicidal and I'm barely allowed to live my life normally. What hurts me the most is when someone tries to tell me it's all in my head, that it's a mental problem and I need to learn to overcome it by tricking my mind. I picture ripping a fire hydrant out of the ground and whamming them over the head with it, because this is not in my mind. The pain is very real.
I'm 14 now, trying to have fun and be a teenager. People say it gets better as they get older, but really it doesn't, you just get better at coping with it. I don't think I'll ever fully outgrow this, but I can hope. Every day can be a challenge, but you get those wonderful periods of time where it's on the down-low and you can enjoy your life. A recent study found IBS can actually mimic the pain of cancer, ulcers and appendicitis. Great news huh? Like we already didn't know we were in terrible pain.
E-mail Morgan: mbrooke941@REMOVETHISPLEASEyahoo.com
The tale of...Nathalie's son (9 January 2011)
My son is 11. He has had acute abdominal pains since the end of August. We have been in the ER eight times whereby morphine had to be administered to calm down his pains. Blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, stool tests, a CT scan and a barium swallow were all negative. GI's final diagnosis is that he suffers from IBS.
We have tried all medications, put him on a high-fiber diet, he has eliminated all danger foods from his diet yet he continues to suffer with acute pains. It is always localized around the belly button area. He now needs to take codeine every four hours to relieve his pains.
Can someone please shed some light - does IBS really cause so much pain? From what I have been reading it is a huge discomfort, a hassle but is anyone suffering from acute ongoing abdominal cramps? We are desperate for help and don't know where to turn anymore...His entire life has been halted, he is a bright social, kind and loving boy who needs his life to be normal again. Please help.
E-mail Nathalie: Bensn@REMOVETHISPLEASEhotmail.com
The tale of...Valerie (29 March 2011)
I have been suffering from IBS since i was in eighth grade. I'm 15 years old and I'm in tenth grade. The students make fun of me at school and now in church. They think that I have gas just because they can hear my stomach making noises. I hate that I think of it a lot especially when I'm nervous, my stomach starts to growl really loudly and yes many people start laughing and think that I have gas. I wish that we didn't suffer from this disorder, and that people would understand and show respect. They also pick on me because I'm a quiet girl and because I'm short.
E-mail Valerie: anguianovalerie@REMOVETHISPLEASEyahoo.com
The tale of...Ashley (10 May 2011)
I have had IBS for about a year now, but I was finally diagnosed with it a few months ago. All my life I've had terrible anxiety, but it seemed to be cured after 7th grade when I started taking medication. I took it for years until I finally decided I no longer needed it. I started having symptoms of IBS during my junior year of high school. I was having anxiety again, along with an upset stomach on most days. I'm not completely sure which problem started first, but they both caused me to miss a lot of school. Little did I know that it really wasn't so bad back then.
After leaving high school and getting my GED in 2010 the stomach problems seemed to be worse. If I was going out somewhere I didn't eat all day. That was the only way for me not to have to go to the bathroom. It wasn't long until even that didn't help. I started having diarrhea a lot. The pain was annoying, and I slowly started losing my social life. It seems like it went from bad to terrible in a couple of days. The pain from having to go got so bad that my anxiety kept me inside.
I told my doctors about it, and they thought it was just anxiety. I made an appointment to get anxiety medication, which somehow made the IBS so much worse. I used the bathroom several times a day. Sometimes I was on the toilet for what seemed to be hours. I went back to the doctors, and they told me to stop taking anxiety medication. I did, and my stomach seemed to go back to how it was...which wasn't too much better.
I am 18 now. I started dating my current boyfriend 10 months ago, and even at my age I know that I can't live without him. He is so understanding with my situation. If we go somewhere, I only have to give him a look, and we're on our way home, or to another place with a bathroom and less people. I've even asked him what the plan would be if we were in the car and I needed to go right now. He said he would pull over and hide me as much as possible so that I could go on the side of the road. Sometimes I'm scared that I won't even make it home. IBS controls me, especially when the pain is unbearable.
One night I woke up out of a deep sleep because I was in so much pain and honestly thought I was dying. If you have IBS, you know how intense the cramps are. When I woke up, I ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and waited for the pain to go away. It didn't. Even after releasing everything I could, I was still in so much pain that I had to force myself up and wobble into my mom's room to wake her up and tell her to take me to the hospital. Then I ran back to the bathroom to try to get the pain to go away. It didn't, and my stomach seemed empty.
I finally got in the car and went to the hospital. I had blood taken, and a few other tests...which all came back normal. The doctor said that I needed to get an 'upper and lower', meaning they put a camera in my...you know, and one down my throat. Weeks later I went back to the hospital for my follow-up and to talk about going to the GI for these procedures. The doctor told me that I wasn't going to get them done because the GI doctor said that it was IBS. That is when I was diagnosed and was given Bentyl for the cramps.
In a way, I feel like I bring the pain on myself. I still drink soda, eat fast food and don't take the Bentyl. But I have honestly tried the healthy diets, no soda, and I have always been one to drink enough water that my pee stays clear. Nobody believes that IBS doesn't always happen because of what you ingest. If I go without food for two days I will still have to go once or twice. I haven't taken the Bentyl because I'm scared of having withdrawals like the warning label says. The only thing that helps my IBS is distraction. When I have to go, I get on the internet on my phone and try to read something interesting. When the pain is so bad that I can't even move, I just think of every other day that I have this problem and I remember that it will go away in a few minutes.
Where I live about half of the girls my age already have a baby or two. Sometimes I would be the only one in the group who didn't have a kid, and I would listen to their labor stories and think that there is no way that the pain could be worse than what I've had to go through. I have even read a story where a woman said her IBS pains are worse than the births of both her kids.
Only people with IBS can truly understand the pain that I go through. It's so extreme that it changes your life. I am so much more of a homebody than I used to be. I now live with my boyfriend, and even though he's happy that I don't party anymore, I still wish I wasn't so nervous to leave the house with some friends. My biggest wish for myself is that my IBS completely goes away, and I feel for anybody that has to deal with this problem.