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sad tales: women with ibs-c page fourteen

The tale of...Maria (7 December 2006)

Well, where should I start? I've suffered from IBS for eight years now and it all started when I was 16, with a diarrhea episode which seemed to come out of nowhere and was really painful. It was strange because I've always had mild constipation. Anyway, after that and ever since I've been suffering with flatulence. I've had so many embarrassing episodes that I cannot count: at school, in church, at the university.

I've always been a more quiet person, but this problem made me isolate myself to the point that I didn't want to go to school anymore. When in college I always aimed at the last seat, at the bottom of the class, where I somewhat felt more comfortable. I didn't sign up for presentations, didn't get involved in what I really like - literature - just because I was too concerned not to pass too much gas. The irony is that the more I worried, the worse it got, so I was in a vicious circle.

I became depressed, had suicidal thoughts, felt like an outcast of the worst kind: a stinky. I had the feeling that my life was just stolen from me and I was given a mock one instead. I think it was so frustrating also because I didn't know what was going on. Beans, cauliflower, soda, cabbage were excluded for years because of the disastrous effects, but I still felt the same way. My stomach looked flat, everybody was envying me for my weight and I had only one thought: I wish I could have your weight and be healthy.

Anyway, when I finally had the courage to go to a doctor, he laughed at me, explaining that we all have gas and especially if we eat certain foods. I told him that I'm a gas champion; he gave me some gas pills that didn't work and that was it. I've seen five doctors since. Now at least I know that I have IBS (so there's a name for this!), even if the thought that there's no cure for it is not much comfort.

Meanwhile I've tried colon cleansing (which somewhat cleaned my colon but made me go to the bathroom all day long), different seeds, and generally natural products. All gas pills help you eliminate, but I need something to stop producing gas...So here I am, at 24, crying every evening because my body betrays me, finding my only comfort in the tales that I've read on this site. I think you're all heroes and I sincerely wish you restored health. God bless you!

E-mail Maria: [email protected]

The tale of...Lela (February 2007)

I would like to share with you how my IBS is manifested. I start getting tugging in the abdomen, mainly on the right-hand side. It gets stronger later on and I also get a squeezing in the colon. Because of it I start getting constipation and at the same time get a bad low backache. The pain is so severe that I can't walk properly.

I can hardly do anything during those days. If I take Meteospasmyl, after a few days the intestine relaxes and the backache and the constipation go away. I talked to my doctor about it and he says that it is possible to get low backache as a result of IBS but it's rare. My orthopedic surgeon said there was nothing wrong on my low back x-ray.

I am curious if there are other people who have the same symptoms and I would like to hear what works for them. I also suffer from proctalgia fugax. I would love to receive some feedback from fellow sufferers.

E-mail Lela: [email protected]

The tale of...W (4 February 2007)

I've suffered with IBS since I was about 17 or 18. To start with it was an even mix of constipation and diarrhea. I was usually constipated, but once it got going it wouldn't stop! I kept quiet about it for years, suffering silently, until four years on my mother forced me to go to the doctor. He shouted at me, told me to eat more roughage and drink plenty of water.

I tried to explain that nobody could eat more roughage or drink more water than I already did, but he refused to listen and prescribed Normacol and Fybogel. Both of these made me worse, so he then prescribed laxatives (senna). He told me to take these for over a month. I did so thinking the doctor knew best, but of course these made me worse than I had ever been. I now strongly believe his suggestions have made me more ill in the long term.

Eventually I was referred for various tests (endoscopies, ultrasounds etc) eventually being diagnosed with IBS, given Buscopan and more Fybogel despite these not working before. I feel that IBS has ruined my life. Reading Sophie's story was like reading about myself. I identified with everything! I feel I would have done better at university if I actually attended lectures, instead I spent most of my time sat on the toilet.

Six years on, I am unable to work full-time and therefore I am unable to earn enough money to save, buy a house, pay rent, and pay bills. I barely earn enough to pay for my special dietary foods, supplements and treatments. I'm lucky that I have parents who allow me to live with them rent-free, but I do not know how long this can go on because they are getting sick of me and they do not understand at all the seriousness of this or the pain I am in. They constantly complain about my excessive toilet paper consumption but refuse to believe that I cannot go unless I wipe first with a warm wet wad of toilet paper, and when I do go it's a stop-start process that makes a lot of mess and therefore requires a lot of toilet paper!

Another thing this is affecting is my relationship with my boyfriend. We have been together for just over a year, and at first I thought he'd understand my problems because he had serious digestive problems when he was about 14 which then disappeared after a year or so. But he does not, and if we go away I worry about my toilet problems. I need to sit on the toilet for about 45 minutes to be comfortable for the rest of the day, but I feel too embarrassed to do this when he's around.

On occasions when he has visited I have been so constipated and in so much pain that we cannot go out or do anything. I cannot go for weekends away with him because I am afraid to upset my routine. I have missed out on a lot; holidays, days out, a career!

The thing that has been most helpful was changing my diet, taking valerian supplements and large doses of fennel. I cut out dairy, wheat, sugar, yeast, caffeine, potatoes, white grapes, green and red peppers, fried foods and alcohol to mention a few. I managed this for about six months but it was impossible to live like this, and although my symptoms were greatly alleviated I was still constipated and had to get up almost four hours before I had to leave the house to fit in my routine. That meant a 5am wake for a job that started at 9am, and even then I would only just make it.

I would then have to rush home before 6pm to eat my dinner - if I ate it any later than this then I'd have to add another hour onto my morning routine. I had no social life and was very depressed. I still am, although now I have a bit more of a social life because I work evenings only, so I can go out to eat with friends and then spend the rest of the day on the toilet before work.

I envy people who can go out, eat pizza, and then go to work the next morning. I envy people who can go on long-haul flights to far-away places I would love to visit. I recently missed my only brother's wedding because it was in Pakistan and I am based in England.

I wish there was a simple tablet or even surgery that could fix this, I am sick of living like this. I want to freely eat pizza, pasta or even just drink something other than warm water without complications. Venting my thoughts on here has been very therapeutic and reading Sophie's story actually made me laugh instead of wanting to scream like other sites, books and people's comments have.

The tale of...Brenda (13 February 2007)

I hope I can find someone who can relate to my story. I am a 42 year-old female who has been battling 10 years with IBS-C. I have tried increasing water intake, fiber, Zelnorm, Amitiza, laxatives by the handful and enemas. I am constantly feeling bloated, over full, and irritable. Currently I am only able to consume clear foods such as jello, flavored water, and broth. I constantly feel weak and sleepy from taking in such small amounts of calories.

Last week I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy. The problem could not be diagnosed as I was not cleaned out, even after taking a bottle of Miralax and the gallon of Golyte. I have no idea how old the images of food were that were seen in my tests (I have the pictures too). The week before my procedures I ate only jello and broth, no solid foods. If anyone out there has any holistic or homeopathic remedies that may work I would love to hear from them.

E-mail Brenda: [email protected]

The tale of...Emma (June 2007)

I am 26 years old and I have had IBS since I was 17. I have a five year-old son who is very healthy. Last year I was rushed into hospital with abdominal pain. I told them I had IBS and they kept me in for two weeks on different medications. I was on morphine straight into my veins for just under two weeks, it was the only thing that would stop the pain.

I came out of hospital with all the tablets - paracetamol, diclofenac, mebeverine, peppermint oil, hyoscine butylbromide and also oramorph. It's now six months later and yes I am really bad again. When in hospital they cut me open and looked for...well I don't know what they did, they did not even put me under a bowel specialist (because there isn't one).

I work full-time, I look after my son, my partner and the house, but I'm bad now and cannot even look after myself. I feel that this IBS is going to ruin my life. I don't know which way to turn. Can I keep my job? I don't know, the pain is so bad and the doctors tell me to take my tablets, but they make me feel different and not in control which is what I like.

E-mail Emma: [email protected]

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