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sad tales: women with ibs-c page eleven

The tale of...Kellie (April 2006)

To begin with, before I share my sordid story, I am Australian and was hoping that there may be a few others here. If this is the case, wonderful! Let us try to help one another. I am 33, happily married, I have one almost three year-old son and I do not work (due to not being able to). My symptoms began when I was 17 and have gotten progressively worse in the 16 years since. I have seen in excess of 50 doctors and three gastroenterologists. All except for one of the doctors has treated me as if I were a hypochondriac, and one of the gastroenterologist, without even examining me, told me that he could not help, that I should see a psychologist!

The one doctor who has shown some sympathetic belief in my illness also found a brain tumour which had gone undiagnosed for (probably) all of my life. So right now, though I am feeling terribly lucky to have discovered this and receive treatment, including surgery, I am also becoming more and more depressed by the IBS.

Post-surgery I have suffered with a golden staff infection that has been hanging on now for five weeks (surgery was only seven weeks ago) and I have been on penicillin for all of this time. Needless to say, the combination of infection and strong antibiotics is not helping the IBS at all!

My most debilitating symptom with the IBS (which was diagnosed 13 years ago when there was little information about treatment available, and what was available left a lot to be desired) is nausea. It has completely taken over my life and controls my every thought and action. I do also suffer with extreme constipation and alternating explosive, foul diarrhea accompanied by the same agonizing pain that everybody else here has the pleasure of knowing. I too have been hospitalized with it on a couple of occasions.

It usually gets me at about four o'clock in the morning, and I then too spend hours writhing until the movement occurs, at which time I do indeed sometimes feel that it all may end right there on the toilet. But, inevitably, once the bowel is clear, I am exhausted, but OK for a couple of days until the process all begins again. I am also now beginning to experience pain after eating in the upper abdomen and, like many others here, cannot eat past about 6.30pm.

I also can feel OK during the day and then like clockwork, at 4.00pm everything starts to go haywire. The nausea begins and by dinnertime I can barely eat, if at all. I have been trying to force food in and sometimes it helps a little, but it certainly makes for a non-existent social life.

I have also become (seemingly) intolerant to almost all foods and live now on chicken, lettuce, small amounts of bread and potato, carrots and peas. That is IT! After the birth of my son it all became worse, and is always worse during my period. But I lost 35kg in about 14 weeks after my son was born, because not only was I breast-feeding but I also couldn't eat. I have not been able to put any of the weight back on and am therefore also incredibly lethargic.

But it is the nausea that I am finding it most difficult to live with. I now fear leaving the house because it can hit me at any time out of nowhere, and though I do everything in my power not to throw up (have developed an insane phobia of doing so and so live each moment in a state of anxious fear) I never know when I am going to feel like I might.

Sorry all, I really could go on here for pages and pages, but was ultimately hoping that others may have some suggestions and that there may be some Australians here. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share or know more about my long history.

E-mail Kellie: [email protected]

The tale of...Tina (May 2006)

What a big relief it's been finding and reading this website. I've suffered from IBS since I was 14, and I'm now 24. The doctors didn't know what was wrong with me and said it could be Crohn's disease or appendicitis. I've even had my appendix removed which I think was unnecessary as I still suffer all the same symptoms as before.

I'm often very constipated or suffer from diarrhea. It's beginning to really affect my life in a big way. I'm doing teacher training and spend most of my time worrying about what might happen if I need the loo and can't make it. I've had a few accidents, once when I was driving. I'm completely mortified about this and only my mum knows. It's made me feel really paranoid and I put things off like meeting friends for lunch because I worry that the meal might upset my stomach. I tell them I've got flu to get out of it. I'm deceiving my friends and acting irrationally about my IBS.

I don't like being this way. My life revolves around wondering where the nearest loo is. I even phoned up my local supermarket to see if they had public toilets before I would go shopping. I really want to live my life the way I used to and enjoy going out with friends again. All these stories are so reassuring and I can sympathize with everyone. Please let me know if anything has helped you through this as I will try anything.

E-mail Tina: [email protected]

The tale of...X (May 2006)

I have had IBS for about a year. I am 21 and this is destroying my life. I've tried medications from the doctor but they just made my symptoms worse. The thing I hate about this is I used to be able to eat anything I wanted, then one day it did a 360. My stomach makes strange gurgling noises no matter what I eat. I have so much gas trapped inside my intestines I can feel it, I feel so full my, and stomach looks and feels like I am pregnant I am so bloated.

I am becoming really depressed about the whole thing, and sometimes I want to quit school because of this. My life has been taken away from me. I get mad when I see other people eat, they don't even know what it feels like to have to think about everything you eat.

The tale of...Asuncion (May 2006)

I have had symptoms of IBS for as long as I can remember (50 years!). I was very young when it all started. I had all types of treatments from doctors to herbalists, naturopaths, etc. Sometimes I got better and with others, no change. But since my hysterectomy six months ago, I got worse, and the pain, bloating and constipation have worsened.

For many years I have taken Peritone, a herbal laxative, and usually two tablets worked, but now I have to take four or five and then end up with diarrhea and more pain. I realized that my problem has a lot to do with what I eat, so I decided to see a Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist. He told me that the worst thing I was doing was eating garlic, onions, ginger, peppers, etc, as these are called warm food and cause a lot of harm to the stomach and bowels.

He put me on a very strict diet for three months and gave me a horrible powder to take. I am also having acupuncture, and although I only had my first treatment a week ago, with the diet I have not had any pain or bloating. My constipation has not improved yet and I am still taking Peritone. I am also avoiding gluten, wheat, milk and yeast because I also have celiac disease.

E-mail Asuncion: [email protected]

The tale of...Linda (May 2006)

I am a 50 year-old woman who has suffered from IBS for at least the last 22 years, although I suspect it may have been since early childhood. I say this because the first really bad episode was when I was 28. I was stressed out with a person I worked for and I started to have continual pain and bloating.

Eventually the GP sent me for tests, and to my complete surprise I had to endure a sigmoidoscopy, where a camera is inserted into the rectum to have a look at the bowel. Maybe not so bad if you are forewarned, but it certainly took me by surprise! I left the hospital like a scalded cat. Still, I was not told it was IBS, just that nothing was found. It was not till a number of years later that another GP, looking through my notes said 'Oh yes, that was when you were diagnosed with IBS' - I was so angry that I had not been told this.

For a long while I only had episodes when I was stressed out, and after being put on Paroxetine for panic attacks and depression I had lots of minor discomfort with constipation, trapped wind and bloating, but not major attacks.

That has all changed over the last couple of years. I seem to be constipated all the time, different foods seem to have a really bad effect, including eggs, cheese and bananas. I am always wondering what I can eat. I have recently started looking into food allergies as I am convinced this has a lot to do with what I eat, but as we all know getting advice from conventional GPs is just a laugh. My doctor has told me not to bother with any fad diets.

I have tried for the last 10 days avoiding anything containing lactose, which made me feel better for about four days, then something set me off again. I am still sticking to it as the soya is really helping my hot flushes, but it isn't proving to be a wonder cure. I am now being crystal dowsed for food intolerance, sounds daft I know but a friend swears it helped him and I am willing to try anything. The lady who is doing the dowsing thinks I may have an overgrowth of candida because I have had numerous doses of antibiotics in the last two years, for a stubborn urinary infection and a bacterial infection of a fingernail.

I have relied on Lactulose for the constipation but I am now thinking I shouldn't take it and I don't know how I am going to go to the loo without it. I have also been taking a natural fiber supplement with FOS, but I don't know if this will affect candida (if I have it), and it does not make me go as well as the Lactulose. I am taking acidophilus caps too and have ordered horopito and aniseed to see if it helps.

All this is so confusing, not to mention expensive. I wondered if anyone else on the site can give me any advice. IBS Tales is a Godsend as it makes me realize just how many people out there suffer the same symptoms. My husband is very patient with me, but as he can eat anything he likes I am sure he gets fed up of hearing about my 'bad guts'. By the way my symptoms never include diarrhea only constipation. Here's hoping someone can help me out there.

E-mail Linda: [email protected]

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