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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-c page five

The tale of...Eliza (5 December 2008)

I'm 17 years old and I've been suffering from IBS for as long as I can remember. Constipation is my main symptom, and the agonizing stomach cramps that come with it. I was told by doctors for a long time that I was imagining the pain, and when I was a child people made out that it was a form of attention-seeking (trust me, if I wanted attention I would find a much less embarrassing way to get it!). Only my mum knows about how bad it can be.

That's probably the hardest part, the shame that comes with it. I feel so alone sometimes. I have many friends but even those I've known for years I still feel too embarrassed to tell. A boyfriend is the last thing on my mind. I've had a few but I usually end it after about six weeks (when they want to sleep over and would witness me in all my glory!). So for now that's a no go.

Last week the pain got so bad that I passed out. I was so scared, I've never felt pain like that before. I now know not to trust people with this embarrassing secret after a friend of mine whom I confided in decided that after an argument she would use this as her source of revenge. Never again.

I'm hoping to go to university next year and I want to move away, but some days I think how can I?! Sharing a bathroom with eight people is any IBS sufferer's worst nightmare! But I deserve to enjoy myself and I think why should I let bad luck control my life. I've tried every and any medication available, one laxative is too mild and has no effect and then another gives you diarrhea. You go from one extreme to the other. You just can't win! I'm glad to read other people's stories, it makes you feel less alone. I wanted to share mine so people realize that IBS affects people of all ages and that being young and having an illness like this shouldn't be such a taboo! If anyone has any advice for me I'm happy to try anything! Thank you.

E-mail Eliza: [email protected]

The tale of...Menaka (December 2008)

I'm 18 years old and I feel like my IBS symptoms are taking days away from me. I started college this past year at a high-stress institution that prides itself on breaking its students' spirits. Anyway, I've always been really ambitious, driven, and very stressed. Most things that would be easy for most are hard for me.

I started college out just fine. The first two quarters were hard but I was healthy and for the most part happy. I had just begun my first serious relationship and things were going pretty well. In February I got on birth control and for the first month I was fine. No symptoms really...a smooth transition for the most part. The next month I started to feel weird. I started to get abdominal pain, constipation, abdominal bloating, and after a while a broken spirit. That month I found out that I had hemorrhoids which was completely bizarre to me.

After a trip to the ER for pain they told me I had acid reflux from stress and told me to take Prilosec and sent me on my way. I got a CT before the summer to make sure I didn't have any cysts or anything abnormal. After the CT scan I had a horrible reaction. I was throwing up for eight hours straight. They said I had had an adverse reaction to the dye.

I went back to the ER because I couldn't move...I was really dehydrated. After talking to the nurse she told me I could have IBS. I was pretty familiar with IBS at this point. A friend of mine had suffered from it but it wasn't as bad or seemingly as bad as mine at the time.

I went home in June for two weeks and headed back to school because I was working as a research assistant. I thought I would be fine because I was fine at home. There were nights where I was sitting up thinking I really wish God could just take my life because I can't live this way. I was depressed all the time...I didn't want to eat..I didn't want to go out anymore. The bloating just kept getting worse and worse.

I'm not even sure if I am constipated. I go to the bathroom once or twice a day. My dad is a physician and thinks it's all in my head. This makes me want to throw myself off a roof. At this point I'm looking towards the future and not seeing so much in it anymore. I was so ambitious. I was going to do a JD MBA...get into corporate America...have a family...be happy...and at this point whatever I have has been taken every day from me.

I have had that CT scan done and blood tests, both show nothing abnormal. I have my first appointment with a GI and I'm scared because he is going to tell me for sure I have IBS and there is nothing I can do, and that's layman's terms for...you'll never get your life back...If anyone has any advice or would like to talk (which would be greatly appreciated) please contact me.

E-mail Menaka: [email protected]

The tale of...Brandy (August 2009)

I'm 17 years old and I have been suffering from IBS my whole life. I can honestly say that it is something I would never wish upon my enemy. These last few years have been really hard to cope with. I feel like no-one understands what I'm going through. Most of the time I feel very depressed because I can never go out to hang with my friends or even just go out shopping. I even have to make up excuses to not hang with my friends.

I feel like a prisoner in my own home because I feel I can never go outside without getting cramps. I'm always hungry but I never eat because every time I eat I feel like vomiting or I get severe cramping. I've even gone to my doctor numerous times for medications to help but nothing seems to work. And on top of all that I'm lactose intolerant, and I have stress issues as well.

Some days it gets so tough that I feel like giving up, I can't take it anymore. Sometimes I just want to be alone, I feel I can cope with it a bit better when no-one is around. For me, I've found that this condition has ruined my life pretty badly. I've missed out on all my childhood and high school experiences that I can never get back. Some nights I'll cry myself to sleep just because it gets too overwhelming for me. I have no social life, it's embarrassing to explain the problem to your people or friends.

And on top of all this I've missed a lot of school days and now I have to stay behind for another year to get my credits. The school tells me that I need to get over my little problem, but it's not just some little problem it controls and affects your entire life. My school even wanted me to see a psychiatrist.

I know I'm complaining a lot, but it's just nice to know that I'm not the only one who has this problem. Every day is a battle to get through. Anyways, thanks for reading my story, and listening to what I have to say.

E-mail Brandy: [email protected]

The tale of...Michael (August 2009)

Hi, my name is Michael. I am 13. I have had stomach problems for a while, and recently my doctor says he is pretty sure I have IBS. I almost always have constipation, and it hurts really bad. I also have it so frequently that sometimes I can wipe up blood.

It is also taking me away from my 7th grade class at school sometimes, when I have problems. I really hate this, it makes me moan and scream, it's just horrible. I have tried several medicines and I hope I get better.

E-mail Michael: [email protected]

The tale of...Kelsey (8 August 2009)

I'm 19 years old and I have been dealing with IBS since I was 17. It started out with panic attacks that I was diagnosed with around the same time. I had my first panic attack and a huge storm in southern Ontario came barreling in and collapsed a huge party tent I was at, engulfing nearly 800 people underneath it. Shortly after that, I couldn't have a BM. I would get stomach aches from anything I ate, was robbed of all energy, and would go to bed at 7pm every day because I just couldn't deal with the pain anymore. I lost about 20 pounds, which is pretty bad considering I am only five foot two and 108lbs to start.

I started going to the doctor about twice a week, and he thought it was all in my head of course. He had me on two anti-depressants for panic attacks and stress, which I later became addicted to (Lorazapam), as well as three acid reflux pills, and I was instructed to take multivitamins every day and stool softeners. At this point I was wondering how the heck I went from a normal teenager to this pillhead. I was so depressed I would never go out, I just sat in my room and watched TV, and this all started in the summer time. I couldn't do anything without being toast at around 10 o'clock.

Come May of 2008 I started dating this new guy, and all the pain and BM problems went away for about two months. I was so happy, I thought it was over with. Then it came back. I have been suffering now for two years, coming up on three. I have the constipation part of IBS, and it is the worst. I have gone up to 14 days without a bowel movement, and the straining and pushing is driving me nuts. I sometimes get headaches from it, and incredibly bad nausea and abdominal pain, especially after I eat something.

I can always tell if I'm going to have a good night out, if I've had a bowel movement earlier that day. If I haven't I'm doomed. My boyfriend thinks I'm selfish sometimes because I always want to leave our friends early and go home and just sleep, but he doesn't understand. It's too embarrassing to talk about. My parents are the ones who truly know what's going on, but they get annoyed too, as soon as I say 'Oh I don't feel good' it's like 'Ugh...again?!' But really it's not my fault. I guess I will just have to keep on dealing with it.

E-mail Kelsey: [email protected]

The tale of...Karissa (10 May 2010)

Well I'm 14 years old, and I have been suffering from IBS for about two years now. Every day before I go to school I'm so scared because I'm terrified of being heard in the public restrooms and my IBS symptoms happening in class, from constipation to slight diarrhea to every little thing IBS has to offer. Because of this, I now suffer from anxiety. I'm scared to even leave the house because I know something is going to happen. I miss countless days of school, and so many things with friends, family, etc because of my IBS problems.

I have really weird symptoms and I just don't know what to do anymore. One thing that has been very helpful is Miralax. If you have constipation I highly recommend it. Another thing that's helped me is a high fiber diet. But these things haven't solved the problem or helped enough for me to get back a regular careless life. If anyone has any suggestions or just wants to talk about the problems they face themselves, please contact me. I'd be more than happy to talk to anyone.

E-mail Karissa: [email protected]

The tale of...Gabby (13 May 2010)

I am a 15 year-old girl who has recently been diagnosed with IBS. Well it all started this past July when I started to get severe stomach aches. Me and my parents just thought I was nervous about starting high school. The first day of school came and went and my stomach pain was just getting worse and worse. So my mom brought me to the doctor and he ran a few lab tests and then decided to put me on Nexium and Carafate and Bentyl, but nothing helped. He also gave me Zofran for the extreme nausea that I was having.

Well by this time it was mid-September and I was just going downhill so my doctor referred me to a pediatric gastroenterologist. We went to see him and he did lab tests, blood work, stool tests and urine tests. He was looking for celiac disease and a few other things. Everything came back normal. Things seemed to be getting worse so he ordered a cat scan, a barium test, x-rays, and a few other tests. Again everything came back normal!

One day after being in so much pain my mom brought me to the ER where I received four doses of IV morphine, IV fluids and IV phenergan for the nausea and had a urine test and more blood work! Of course, everything came back normal. So I was sent home with Tylenol with codeine and Zofran! I ended up being allergic to the Tylenol with codeine and the ER told us that if I did not come back to the ER they would not give me another medicine. So I decided against that after being in the ER all night. That was not a fun night, I got there at 9pm and left at 4:30am!

Well my gastroenterologist finally decided to do an endoscopy (tube down the throat and into the stomach) and a colonoscopy (up into my colon). As you probably know being 15 and getting a colonoscopy is very embarrassing! This was at the end of October. The procedures went pretty well and they found nothing but they did take a few biopsies which ended up coming back normal as well. They looked for other diseases and even cancer - luckily no cancer!

After coming out of the procedure I was in so much pain I was screaming my head off! They gave me six doses of morphine but I was still in a lot of pain. After being in recovery for three hours I was sent back to my room. My doctor refused to give me more pain meds so the only thing he gave me was a shot in the hip. After still being in a lot of pain they decided that I needed to be admitted and monitored very closely throughout the night.

After being discharged the next day I still was not feeling good. I went back to the doctor and he told me that I had had every test done imaginable! So he continued me on Miralax two times a day, peppermint oil pills three times a day, Fiber One three times a day, and probiotic straws three times a day. None of this helps, so I really don't take it much anymore.

I went back and my doctor said to just keep doing the same thing (trust me this is not what I wanted to hear). From there he finally decided to refer me to a counselor to see once a week and told me to go to yoga to relieve some of my stress! (He thinks this is all caused by stress.) I love going to the counselor it really helps me a lot. I also thought I would hate yoga but I absolutely love it! It really helps relieve stress and I definitely would recommend it to everyone. I have also been put on an anti-anxiety medication which has not really started working yet but I have noticed a few different things.

My doctor did tell me the last thing to do would be to swallow the pill camera or he could do surgery where he goes in with botox and widens the hole of my stomach and that way I can digest my food faster (one of the tests showed that I digest food slower than normal) but he said it would still go slowly through my gut so he doesn't know how much it would help. So we decided against the surgery but it will still always be an option.

I am very sad to say that my gastroenterologist is being transferred and will no longer be at the medical center I am treated at. No doctor will be taking his place and there are no hospitals near here with a pediatric gastroenterologist so we will now be driving two and a half hours away from my home to meet my new gastroenterologist over this summer.

Having IBS is very difficult and frustrating and it is very hard to cope with the pain. I have been told that I might grow out of it but they said I could have it for the rest of my life! The weird thing is I am a twin and my twin sister does not have IBS. Having IBS has caused me to miss a lot of school due to hospital stays, ER visits, doctor visits and tests being run. Some days I would even get up crying and begging my mom to let me stay home because I was in so much pain. I have missed over 115 classes this year!

I'm at the doctor one or two times a week and sometimes even three. And trust me it's not fun having to make up work, because it stresses me out even more. I continue to have daily symptoms of IBS with mostly the extreme stomach pains and severe nausea. (I'm not allowed to take nausea meds because my doctor said it could be dangerous taking it every day at my age.) So the journey continues! Well I hope I helped you some. This site is very nice to have and to read about other people's symptoms. I hope we all will be cured from this terrible disease one day!

Update on Gabby...

Over the summer, around July, I was doing amazingly well. So much so that I stopped yoga for a while, stopped seeing my counselor for a while. Well, a lot of stress was caused at the beginning of the school year (August), I'm not going to say what happened (too personal) but it was extremely hard. This amount of stress lasted about five months! The amazing thing was my IBS was behaving itself! After the five months my stress was relieved (good news came). During these five months I was seeing my counselor.

Well in January my IBS came back and in full force! It is very depressing, because I was doing so well and I thought I finally had it under control. Guess not. I am now back to dealing with the daily struggles with my IBS and it's really hard. Some days I cry, beg and plead with my mom to just let me stay home from school. I haven't been eating very much at all. I am too scared to eat, thinking it's going to make my pain even worse...I'm falling behind in school and that's not helping my stress level at all. It is hard missing so much when you're a sophomore in high school. Luckily, all my teachers know about my IBS and are very supportive and helpful.

My daily symptoms are severe stomach pain (some days better than others) and extreme nausea. Being nauseous is something very hard to deal with. I have been taking oral Phenergan for the nausea when it gets too bad but for the most part I take dramamine for the nausea. I eat them like candy! I have been taking an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication for a year and two months. I do think it is helping some. My counselor does believe I am in a state of depression. She is going to have a meeting with my other doctor to see about upping my dosage.

I have been in one of those weird moods...it's like I'm not happy or sad, I'm just existing! My family has been asking me what's wrong and I just tell them nothing because honestly I don't know what is wrong. But you know, the worst thing of all is going to the doctor and he or she telling you there's nothing they can do! I have been very emotional lately and cry for the stupidest things. I think I'm just frustrated with my stupid IBS. It's been very hard...I'm hoping to get my IBS back under control very soon. So my story continues...damn IBS!

My daily medicine regime: twice a day - enteric-coated peppermint oil (does nothing). Once a day - Miralax (I hate doing this, it gets to be too much). Twice a day - probiotic straw (does nothing either). Once a day - Celexa (anti-depressant/anti-anxiety med). Yoga two times a week (if I'm feeling OK, recommend this to everyone!). Every two weeks - counseling sessions (definitely helpful).

PS: For all the girl IBS sufferers, does your IBS get worse during your period? I know mine does! It almost feels like being pregnant and having contractions and the pain is 10 times worse! Not fun!

E-mail Gabby: [email protected]

The tale of...Kristen (31 July 2010)

I'm 19, and I was diagnosed with 'slight' IBS about three years ago. What made the doctor say 'slight', I have no idea, because what I've felt and been through is everything but slight. I've had stomach cramps and problems keeping me in the bathroom since I was 12 (when I can remember it at its worst). I used to have to get up in the middle of the night to have insanely bad cramps (consisting of chills and hot flashes) and rock back and forth until the diarrhea would just let itself all out. My mom had to hold my hand the pain was so bad.

That continued on for years. I would be constipated and more or less OK, and then every two to three weeks I'd have the dreaded cramps. Those cramps alone made me worry, and I'd fear going out with friends anywhere or being stuck at a new house or somewhere where I didn't know where the bathroom was. I'd worry to death that I was going to get the cramps when I was out. This caused a lot of anxiety and fear about going any place, thus making me stay home. It was always a relief to be able to get out of something, a trip, vacation. I would feel at ease knowing I didn't have to worry about anyone else seeing or finding out about my problem.

A year ago I found out I had a corn allergy, and had to eliminate the corn starch, syrup, flour etc out of my diet, which took everything considered junk food straight out. This really helped my cramping and diarrhea problem, and I had gone the whole time since then without having one of my spells. I had almost forgotten I had IBS except from gas, bloating and occasional mild nausea.

Then last Sunday I 'caught' what I thought was the stomach virus my co-workers had had, until I got some strange symptoms. I was constipated three days before I got the 'virus', then I started having extreme nausea, acid reflux problems, intense hunger pangs, terrible mid-back pain and even worse constipation...which isn't right at all for a stomach virus. Usually diarrhea of the worst kind and vomiting happens, not constipation. I also needed to throw up extremely badly and it just would not happen.

I went to a doctor who told me it must have just been a different form of the virus (and who didn't take time to find out my problem at all) but then I realized later in the week that it was either my IBS full-on or my IBS in reaction to the stomach flu. It's been a whole week and I'm still not able to go to the bathroom, and every symptom is getting worse. For the first time in a year I have the cramps again, and the cramps are a sign that I'll have diarrhea, but nothing's changing, I still cannot go.

My IBS causes me to cancel on friends a lot for fear of it happening at their houses or out when we go to the movies. I also had a chance to go to Myrtle Beach SC and just passed up my first vacation in two years for fear of the drive. My parents don't trust me anymore and say I'm crying wolf. They think it's all in my head and that I'm creating it all, when in fact I do have something wrong. But I will admit the worry and stress make it a vicious cycle. They think I'm a hypochondriac, and don't understand how bad it hurts and how much of your life it ruins.

I also had to pass up a job (my first job) two years ago because of the constant cramps. Just recently I got my first job at a beauty supply store, and it is already starting to ruin this job too. I don't know if I should hang on and keep it and just leave the customer and run to the bathroom when I work weekends alone, or give it up for now, and my parents are guilting me about keeping the job. It's not that I want to bum around, it's that my stomach takes over my life.

I've only had one semi-boyfriend, but that never lasted. I will admit I dream of being presented with the guy I'm 'supposed' to be with all the time, and I hope sometimes that I can find a fellow sufferer (that might sound terrible, but I'd rather have that than someone without) just so I know I'd always have that understanding from someone. I worry that if I meet anyone else, they're not going to understand why I always try to get out of everything, and I'll be as embarrassed as ever to have this problem around them. I have a feeling that that part of my life will never happen and I'll never find anyone.

I'm studying to be a cosmetologist and for the life of me can't figure out what I'll do when I work with clients and have an episode. I'm very afraid of the future, and all the stress and anxiety this causes. I've read a lot of similar cases on here, and you all have no idea how much you've saved me. This is the one place I can get away and feel loved among others, and feel like I'm supported no matter what. I'm terribly sorry for everyone who suffers from this awful syndrome, and I will keep everyone as a whole in my prayers, that we will all do what we can to help ourselves and live as positively as we can through it all.

Please email me if you want to talk or seem to be having the same problem I am. I'm open to meeting new friends and sharing advice. Everyone take care and God bless.

E-mail Kristen: [email protected]

The tale of...A (5 July 2013)

I read the book Sophie's Story: My 20-Year Battle with IBS, which was excellent, and I tried to get my daughter 'A' to read it but she gave up some time ago. She won't write either. We (mum and dad) can't give up of course. When I say give up I mean exactly that, she has no hope left. I remember, such a long time ago, when she started developing lots of GI symptoms and I trawled through various forums trying to get some kind of handle on this stuff. It was depressing but I would not have thought that 10 years on I would still be groping around looking for some kind of answer. Nothing has been resolved and what was once a bright and bubbly four year-old has been reduced to a shadow of a person devoid of hope and joy.

In many ways it is a not uncommon story except that the signs were clear at a very early age. The problems emerged at school. Sometimes it was manageable and she was functional, sometimes she had bad episodes (these usually lasted six months) and missed a lot of school. She was referred to a specialist (for fecal incontinence and constipation) and also Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) within a few weeks of starting school for selective hearing and inattention. I suspect they wanted her on Ritalin. She was diagnosed with ADD and anxiety but not ADHD. We did manage to reduce her anxiety and help her cope using the usual dietary stuff, anti-spasmodics and relaxation techniques but it only took a relatively minor incident at school to trigger seriously debilitating IBS. It was always there, it stopped her playing and mixing and she really had a crap childhood.

She was diagnosed with acute constipation for four years, then chronic constipation for six months until they diagnosed IBS. Unfortunately all this time we had been having problems with the education welfare people due to absences. They issued a summons for school attendance so the stress levels went through the roof. About this time, because she was getting worse, we told both the school and her specialist that we were considering legal action and as you can imagine all hell broke loose. It went to court, which is another long and complex story.

One of the points we wish to raise here is that, especially with the new stricter rules on school attendance, a reasonably early diagnosis is essential. They are, I'm sure, very reluctant to provide this, but until it is obtained there will be problems with the school authorities. Our social worker pointed out that "IBS is not life-threatening and should not prevent a girl from going to school" and in most cases we would agree, although some degree of compassion and understanding is required. Our judgement was that it was at the extreme end of the clinical spectrum, a view endorsed by an independent medical witness.

Our daughter suffered a lot. There is still a tendency to delay a formal diagnosis and try to get the kid to tough it out, learn to live with it, and early on we went along with this, but its' also a question of degree, of judgement, of compassion. She wasn't trying to dodge school and neither were we but the pain was such as to stop her in her tracks. We felt for her and we could not understand why the professionals didn't.

We (the parents) didn't have a history of IBS. My wife thought that most women, what with all the stuff they have to go through, would have an understanding of IBS and what it feels like and how it affects you, although with some of the 'professionals' this doesn't seem so. I don't have IBS but I do have diverticular disease which did take some time to control. I used to spend hours curled up in a fetal position, unable to think, just wanting it to go away and the world to end but knowing it would be back soon. When I saw A doing the same things I knew she wasn't kidding, she was the same and on the same meds.

A word of explanation, diverticulitis is basically caused by age and over-indulgence, so in a sense you deserve it, but it shouldn't happen to a young kid who has hardly done anything. There is something different about intestinal pain, the brain-gut axis certainly exists. It is sickeningly intense, it makes you confused, it takes over and you know that even when it goes away it will come back. You are afraid to go out in case you have an accident. I understood my predicament, why it happened, what was happening and the steps I had to take to control it, but a kid? They must ask, why me, what have I done?

Pain management sometimes works and she had three periods of relative quiesence, probably something like three years out of 10. She fought it when she could, she tried, but then she gave up and withdrew. She says she has lost her childhood and it's true. We have lost her childhood as well. She hates watching children lead a normal, happy life because it reminds her of what she has lost.

What about the 'professionals'? Good question. A couple of them were OK but it only takes a couple of bad experiences and now she refuses to interact with the doctors or psychologists. That's the thing about traumatic experiences, they are traumatic. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to help her. If there is no relationship with a doctor or therapist then there is no placebo effect. How important is this? The Rome group produced an excellent guide, primarily aimed at doctors, which evaluated a lot of treatments. On one of the more promising ones it produced a graph and it was to emphasis the value of the patient-doctor relationship. The general conclusion was that even with this particular substance it only had 20% effect and the major variable was the patient-doctor relationship that accounted for 60%. A good theuraputic relationship is probably the most important thing, having someone who believes you.

As for strategies and treatment, lots of little things can work and they are worth trying. I certainly agree with magnesium, relaxation therapy, probiotics, fiber, exercise, yoga, but most of all, support, which is one thing A never had from the 'professionals' or her peer group (she never felt safe at school). It was the ability to form relationships and survive the 'rough and tumble' of school life that was beyond her.

With respect to medication there is a glimmer of hope for people with IBS-C as one of the few things that seemed to have any real efficacy was Zelnorm. Even now people still talk about it and some even try to get it from India. There was a group of 5-HT4 agonists that seemed to have some benefit but there were problems and most of them were withdrawn. Whether they were actaully ever approved in the UK I don't know. However, second generation prokinetics are more selective and one, prucalopride, has been approved in Europe and the UK. Has anyone been prescribed this? I've seen the reviews of linaclotide and lubiprostone on IBS Tales and these are really useful. Any feedback from the UK? Regards, Peter and Sally.

Update on A...

This is an update on A and again it is from A's dad, A has still given up so it's still very sad. A met a new consultant and for once she really engaged, it was someone who at last listened and took a fresh look at things. The net result was a more thorough but worrying diagnosis. The IBS is now an FGID no somatoform disorder; ADD becomes ADHD; slow transit constipation, anxiety and chronic abdominal pain are items in their own right but there is an additional element of joint hypermobility syndrome with marfanoid habitus and that is because besides A's rather slender build she had other problems which the psychologists for some reason treated as secondary co-morbidities. They were weakness and fatigue, syncope (passing out or fainting) and visceral pain associated with other organs.

E-mail Peter: [email protected]

The tale of...Ashleigh (27 October 2013)

My symptoms are really bad. I'm 15 and I suffer through chronic IBS and migraines. I went to the doctors but they didn't know what was wrong with me, my blood work was good and they thought I was depressed and trying to skip school. I was constantly vomiting and I had headaches and dizziness. My doctor put me on Amitiza. I'm only a kid so that stuff was too strong for me, I felt like I couldn't breathe.

I'm so sick and nobody can help me. My parents are tired of seeing me at home so helpless and sick. Now I'm on painkillers and they don't really help. I've missed two weeks of school and I'm so behind. Everyone thinks I'm faking it but my mom. I'm in so much pain but it comes and goes whenever it wants. I've stopped eating because it hurts. I feel so weak and dizzy. My mom keeps telling me I'm going to get better but at this rate I do not believe her. I am so sick I need help.

E-mail Ashleigh: [email protected]

The tale of...Carsen (5 December 2014)

First, I would like to thank you for your book Sophie's Story and helping me learn to help my son. Carsen is only 11 and was diagnosed this year with IBS-C. While he has always had to deal with a slow-moving bowel system he has never experienced constant pain until this year. From age four to nine he was on lactulose with no problem. Then he was slow but regular on nothing until February 2014.

After a serious stress issue at school he began to suffer from periodic and then constant abdominal pain. He has been through a lot and has been treated with all sorts of laxatives and anti-spasmodics. He's been cleaned out for a colonoscopy on an outpatient basis and in the hospital. He's had multiple CT scans.

Now he reports severe abdominal pain no matter whether he is constipated or not. No stool softeners or anti-spasmodics take away the pain and the doctors are saying it's all in his head, like a learned reaction, like a phantom pain experienced by amputees. No treatment with anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds have helped either. He's been tested for celiacs and lactose intolerance (both negative).

The only relief I've found for him so far has been acupuncture and all that does is give him some relief from the non-stop pain. We are also increasing his fiber and water and we're going to try a gluten-free lifestyle. Because of your book I am going to see about magnesium tablets.

I'm sorry for your pain. I wish I could help my son and I would gladly step in and take his place if I could. I love my son and I'm very afraid.

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