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sad tales: women with ibs-c page ten

The tale of...Carmenleigh (March 2006)

I am a 25 year-old with a five year-old son. Today is a good day so I am taking advantage of the fact that I am not in my bed clutching my stomach in pain, nor on my way to the hospital yet again throwing my guts up. My IBS story (if that's what this is) started when I was pregnant with my son. I was 21 and had never had any trouble going to the bathroom.

When I reached my sixth month I noticed I was not going for days and when I did it was as hard as rocks and hurt like hell. I did not have a bowel movement for two months before my doctor had me go in for a tap water enema. I, like my GYN, thought that my problems would stop after the birth. One c-section later I had my beautiful boy but no relief from the constipation and knife-stabbing cramps that by this point were ruling my life.

Instead of getting better these problems began to become worse. Instead of just constipation I started to get nausea like I have never known. I would go a week or two taking every stool softener and laxative I could find to no avail, until finally God or gravity would force my unwilling body to expel what could only be termed as bricks and I begin throwing up until I was retching bile, and as of last week, blood.

I have a cabinet full of anti-nausea meds, but when I begin throwing up I can't even keep a sip of water down never mind a pill. So I lie in bed or on the floor feeling as if there is a knife scraping my insides out and retching up foul-tasting fluids until I am completely dehydrated and have to take another trip to the hospital for fluids, pain medication, and Zofram or one of the many anti-nausea medications they feed me through tubes. I have been in and out of the ER more times than I can count - six times since this time last year. All with the same results. 'Sorry, we don't know what it is.'

I have endured awful tests, including a colonoscopy, and I have more violating tests scheduled. It's really sad that every time they say this or that test came back negative that instead of being relived I feel like crying. I just want to know what is wrong. I want everyone around me to know something's wrong and this is not just in my head (as I have been told by more than one person in my life).

This is hurting my son. Yesterday was a bad day, and while I did manage to stay out of the hospital I could not keep my promise to my son to build a pirate town with him. He is a very understanding boy, but I know how much it disappoints him and how upset it makes him to see mama like that. The poor boy has watched ambulances take me away three times already.

I am getting married in March and I am so afraid my fiance is going to be so fed-up of me being sick that he will want to put it off or cancel altogether. I have been living like this for four years. Please God help me I don't want to live my life waiting to see if today is a good day or bad day. Please God help me.

E-mail Carmenleigh: [email protected]

The tale of...Stacey (March 2006)

I am 32 and have suffered with IBS for a couple of years. I didn't know what it was, I just knew I was in pain. They did a hysterectomy on me to try to relieve some of the pain because I had female problems also. Nothing has worked. I am going through my fourth prescribed medicine in the past six months.

With my symptoms I hurt non-stop. The closest thing I have related this to is non-stop labor. My back hurts, my stomach aches and sometimes it is like a knife going straight through. Recently I have been very weak-muscled, but I haven't mentioned it to the doctor yet, but will next week.

I spend most of my work days hurting and sometimes crying. It never seems to end, it almost seems hopeless. My days off are spent sitting and in bed trying to rest curled up in a ball. I have severe constipation and am taking fiber, but even that doesn't help.

I tend to go until even my fat pants won't work and then use a laxative, and then it usually takes two or three before it works. By then I feel like I am going to pass out, the room spins, I get all clammy feeling and sick at the stomach. I just want all the pain to stop but till there is a cure thank you for listening to me whine.

E-mail Stacey: [email protected]

The tale of...Geraldine (March 2006)

My IBS is causing total despair. I've recently been diagnosed. I keep being told 'It's only IBS'. Then why do I feel total despair? I am alternating between diarrhea and constipation. The pain makes me pass out. The pressure of the constipation has caused a prolapse so now I am also suffering with bladder incontinence.

I have no relief with the medication. I am overweight and am told to exercise. At the moment I do not manage to stay awake the whole day. Walking to the end of the garden can exhaust me. I am 37 years old have been off sick for over six months having various tests.

I am now so depressed that the thought of leaving the house fills me with dread. I do not want to talk to friends and colleagues, they have this idea that IBS is a mild upset stomach. So I am more and more isolated. As of next week I go on half pay. This added pressure will drive me crazy I think. I don't know if IBS will allow me to claim disability allowance. I feel the doctors think I am making a terrible fuss about nothing, because nothing shows up on their tests. Will they ever find something that will give me back my life...

E-mail Geraldine: [email protected]

The tale of...Kim (April 2006)

I am a 46 year-old woman, wife and mother of two wonderful boys. I was diagnosed with IBS in 2000 (had barium enema test - would rather give birth to triplets) after several years of suffering from constant constipation, anxiety and depression. I had a hysterectomy in 1997 after having repeated problems with pre-cancerous conditions on my cervix and I also had a condition called adnomiosis, which is endometriosis in your uterus. I had my uterus and cervix removed during the surgery, but since my ovaries were OK, my doctor left those alone.

My IBS has been relatively dormant for the past four years. As long as I take extra fiber, watch my diet, don't drink alcohol, watch my caffeine, etc I have some episodes, but nothing like many people have described on this site - heart-wrenching stories - especially the young girls, my heart really goes out to you brave women.

Two years ago I started going through early menopause. I had no idea I would long for the days when I just felt crappy and exhausted all the time. I have had every possible symptom associated with menopause and was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Thousands of dollars, trips to the ER, trips to endocrinologists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, anti-depressants, you name it, and two years later my menopausal symptoms and my thyroid symptoms are somewhat better, but guess what's back with a vengeance?

The constipation, bloating, gas, then sometimes (if I am lucky) alternating diarrhea is totally unmanageable. Nothing that worked in the past is helping. My doctor put me on Zelnorm - that is just nothing more than a laxative and made my anxiety flare up. I just tried peppermint oil, that has helped slightly and I've upped my probiotics temporarily just trying to get stabilized so I can go out in public. I also just started on primrose oil, which is supposed to help menopause as well. I can't really go to my yoga classes right now and I depend on those to manage my stress level.

I was just wondering if there are any other women out there that are experiencing an increase or return of IBS symptoms and are in menopause or know of other hormonal links - I know there have been documented issues with menstrual cycles and pregnancy. Could it be any fluctuation in hormones? I haven't found any other sites that have discussed any connection with an increase in IBS symptoms and menopause. Most references state that symptoms are better after menopause.

E-mail Kim: [email protected]

The tale of...Suzanne (April 2006)

Ever since I suffered from glandular fever I just haven't felt right. I came down with glandular fever when I was 14 and finally got over it when I was about 16 or 17. Ever since then I never felt right, I had random attacks I guess you could call them. I can't really place myself in either the diarrhea section or the constipation section as I suffer from both really.

One day I may have diarrhea and need to go many times in one day and have cramps and feel awful for at least a few hours once I've passed my last movement. Then it may be days or a week and I'll need to pass and I'm now constipated, I end up sweating and cursing and praying please just let me pass. Once I have actually managed to pass a movement I will then feel extremely tired and nauseous for hours (generally four to five hour recovery time), I have no energy to do anything and all I can feel is my stomach.

I haven't been able to keep a job as this really interferes: how can I possibly concentrate when feeling sick for hours at a time, I'm sure no employer would like that. I am now 25 and still suffer from these symptoms, and the last doctor I spoke to told me that it sounds like IBS and it's all in my head and I just need to change my eating habits and think I'm healthy and it will all go away.

Some days I'll have good days, but most days I feel awful. My stomach bloats out, and I can't stand up for long periods of time as it tires me. I have to find a seat or I think I will pass out (thankfully I haven't discovered what will happen if I don't find a seat).

When my stomach bloats out the pain is quite low in my abdomen and is fairly constant, how can I make this go away...it's embarrassing and I really hate feeling like this. A lot of people don't believe I even feel this way, they believe I'm making it up. What they don't know is I'm a fairly good actor and just make them think I'm feeling OK, but they have no idea how I really feel and what I really put up with all day every day, as I'm sure a lot of others do the same.

It is embarrassing trying to talk to someone about these problems. How do you tell them that you need at least 10 minutes to half an hour in the toilet, and while I'm in there taking that long I'm thinking, 'Do they notice I've been gone for this long? What are they thinking when I'm gone that long?'

I along with hundreds/thousands of other people I'm sure look forward to a miraculous cure for this as I'm sure many like I would like to live a normal life without the pain, bloating and embarrassment. Thanks for listening!

E-mail Suzanne: [email protected]

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