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sad tales: women with ibs-c page seventeen

The tale of...LJ (29 April 2008)

I have had IBS for over 10 years now and it gets me down so much. If I go to the toilet I am in pain, if I don't go to the toilet I am in pain. When I have had a meal I have my hot bottle ready because I know my stomach is going to hurt. I don't know how long I can deal with this. I have had depression before because of IBS and I never want to go through it again. I am in pain near enough every day. Is there anyone out there who is going through the same thing as me? I can't even work!

E-mail LJ: [email protected]

The tale of...Rebecca (26 May 2008)

I have been suffering for 10 months now. For the first four months it was nothing more than a small nuisance and a little discomfort, but then it got a lot worse. I have been off work for six months now, and some days I don't even go out of the house because I am in so much pain and feel so unwell.

I used to consider myself quite a healthy, active, professional, well-educated woman, but now I feel like a complete drain on society. I am no longer able to earn money to support myself, I've become an emotional and financial drain on my partner and my family, and I don't know that I can live like this much longer.

And the worst of it all? I'm convinced I don't have IBS! Any IBS sufferer will know that if you pass blood when you open your bowels, or have drastic weight loss when you still eat the same amount, then there is something else causing all your pain and discomfort. I've had test after test after test, I've had hospital consultants tell me to leave their office in tears, and unbelievable pain...it's even got so bad I was admitted to hospital and put on morphine.

In a way I guess I'm lucky, because I have private healthcare, otherwise I would have been waiting at least this long just to see a consultant who would actually carry out some tests...

So, after six months of tests, embarrassment, humiliation, and no end of medication, I'm at a complete loss. Am I the only one out here who has thought 'If I have to live the rest of my life like this, is my life worth living?' Having read a lot of the stories on this website, I know I am not alone in feeling this low and depressed, but no medication seems to work, no lifestyle change has helped, and I'm left feeling useless and a complete drain on everyone I know. I had no idea being ill with a syndrome rather than a disease could be so depressing and difficult.

I am supposed to be bridesmaid at my little sister's wedding in 10 days, and at the moment, I can't even walk to the postbox down the road without wanting to give up and collapse. I feel like I've let everyone down, and I can't figure out a way to bring the 'old Rebecca' out. IBS has taken my life away and left me a complete shell of the person I once was. I'm terrified my partner will leave me, because when you're in this much pain, there is no way sex is even on the agenda. I know I can't be the only one feeling this bad, but I have no-one to talk to who can see it from my point of view.

The tale of...Anny (2 June 2008)

I have been suffering from constipation for my whole life, as long as I can remember. I remember the amount of times my mom would threaten to take me to the hospital to get an enema if I didn't go to the bathroom, particularly when she found out I hadn't been going for two or three days at a time. When I was a baby she used to have to give me Colace or a suppository in order for me to go properly.

As I got older she had to give me laxatives like Agarol and even Exlax on top of an extremely healthy diet because my bowels were lazy. I wouldn't go for four or five days at a time and I would sit on the toilet for about 25 minutes straining and stomping my feet and willing the darn thing to come out. I didn't enjoy having to take laxatives either because of the accompanying stomach cramps and eventually the stubborn thing would slide out.

Particularly the last couple of years, from my 11th grade year, I started getting sick a lot. My stomach always hurt, I always felt nauseous and I started missing a lot of school because of it. I almost got suspended because of it. My mom told the school it was a legitimate reason, that I honestly was sick.

I didn't find out until about a year and a half ago, at age 20 (I'm turning 22 this month), that I am suffering from IBS-C and a gut motility disorder. It explained a lot. The gassy, bloated, sick horrible feelings I always had. Me getting sick more often than everyone else. Spending so much time on the toilet straining. Having to use laxatives and whatnot. It all made sense. The doctor started me on fiber therapy along with a stool softener and it was working for a while.

Now the fiber is no longer working. I've tried changing my diet, cutting things out of it, I've tried eating Activia, I've tried drinking prune juice. It's becoming frustrating because it feels like I am running out of options. I feel fat, sick, bloated, gassy and horrible all the time. I'm five foot nine, 145lbs with a thin body...but a distended stomach that makes me look six months pregnant!

My husband is being very supportive despite the fact that I have been sick and cranky a lot. He tries to help me through this ordeal. He does not know the amount of trouble this disorder has caused, but he understands and sympathizes. He has tried to help me with any medications or needs I have. I feel so guilty.

My doctor does not seem to take me seriously enough. When she saw that my stomach was distended she dismissed it as 'gas'. She has me try out a variety of pills and none work. The only thing that seems to slightly work is Colace stool softeners. Even then, it's not enough to bring down my swollen stomach. Even after a BM I don't feel empty. I don't feel like I'm finished, that there's tons more in there.

I am too embarrassed to admit to my friends why I'm always 'sick'. Why I don't want to go out a lot. I've been going through this for a good amount of time, and I honestly sympathize with anyone who suffers from this awful disorder. I want my life, and my health back!

E-mail Anny: [email protected]

The tale of...Kelly (17 June 2008)

I've had IBS constipation since my late teens and I'm in my mid-20s now. At first it started out mild for first two years and then by the third year it was severe and it's been like that ever since. When it was mild I had no idea why I was sick and went to doc after doc. Every doc didn't know what I had and they were very rude. Then by the the third year I was finally diagnosed by a doc after going through many, many tests. After I found it was IBS, I was floored that no doc I went to had any information for IBS. They would give me a horrible look and say 'just eat fiber' or 'I don't know how to help you' and walk out of the room. As you can imagine I was livid.

I have been struggling for years trying to get it under control by changing my lifestyle. I have done lots of research online since no-one where I live will help me. I have tried many drugs but most of them made my symptoms worse and some only worked for a short period of time. I drink six to seven cups of herbal teas like mint, ginger, fennel, and chamomile. I also do many abdomen exercise involving pilates and follow the diet at Help for IBS, except I don't eat animals or animal by-products since they make my symptoms flare up. Also I'm a huge animal lover. I have found these things to be helpful to a certain degree.

My symptoms interfere with my life a lot; I hardly go outside. It's extremely depressing. I have had to move back home since I can no longer work. I am struggling to get disability but sadly so far I have been denied which is not surprising. People really don't take IBS seriously. I haven't found anyone who really understands the impact it can have on one's life. I will continue to apply for disability until I receive it. It's unfair and sad that many people are denied it when they qualify for it.

E-mail Kelly: [email protected]

The tale of...Charlotte (20 June 2008)

I was diagnosed with IBS today. As my doctor told me: IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, and the tests we've run have ruled out everything else. This started rather suddenly for me on the evening of March 23rd. We had celebrated Easter with my in-laws. Though stomach upset after eating my mother-in-law's cooking is not unheard of, I had diarrhea that night, and it lasted for three full days. Then I became very constipated for several more days. I had a couple of days of feeling relatively normal, then that all ended for good on April 6th.

I am an avid runner and duathlete, and I was prepping for an April 13th marathon. I was doing my last long run before the marathon. Four miles in I suddenly had intense abdominal cramping followed by an even more intense need to defecate, now. I wasn't far from a McDonald's at all, less than half a mile. I turned and ran for it at top speed. Unfortunately, I had to wait for traffic to cross the main road, and that was just too long. I had to stop my marathon long before the midway point and ask to be taken back to the event site, because the first porta-potties were just too far away.

I have been dealing with alternating days of diarrhea and days of painful constipation since. Also terrible bloating and sometimes scarily painful gas. Oddly, I now also suffer from heartburn and gastric reflux, which I never did before. I had to call my mom and ask her what heartburn and gastric reflux felt like.

My doctor did a range of blood work and stool cultures, all normal. He then referred me to a gastroenterologist who did a gastroscopy and colonoscopy (normal). Then an abdominal ultrasound, an abdominal CT scan, and, when those came out normal, a pelvic ultrasound (which showed two small ovarian cysts which require monitoring). I just got the results of the CT scan and the pelvic ultrasound today, and from these things the gastro determined IBS. I want my normal, once very active and non-painful and non-uncomfortable life back.

E-mail Charlotte: [email protected]

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