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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page ten

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

Ever since I was nine years old I've had IBS. The doctors call it 'severe IBS' which personally I think is total stupidity considering the fact that any IBS is dreadfully painful. I've lost friends, people have accused me of faking, I've had depression and been suicidal and I'm barely allowed to live my life normally. What hurts me the most is when someone tries to tell me it's all in my head, that it's a mental problem and I need to learn to overcome it by tricking my mind. I picture ripping a fire hydrant out of the ground and whamming them over the head with it, because this is not in my mind. The pain is very real.

I'm 14 now, trying to have fun and be a teenager. People say it gets better as they get older, but really it doesn't, you just get better at coping with it. I don't think I'll ever fully outgrow this, but I can hope. Every day can be a challenge, but you get those wonderful periods of time where it's on the down-low and you can enjoy your life. A recent study found IBS can actually mimic the pain of cancer, ulcers and appendicitis. Great news huh? Like we already didn't know we were in terrible pain.

E-mail Morgan: [email protected]

The tale of...Nathalie's son (9 January 2011)

My son is 11. He has had acute abdominal pains since the end of August. We have been in the ER eight times whereby morphine had to be administered to calm down his pains. Blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, stool tests, a CT scan and a barium swallow were all negative. GI's final diagnosis is that he suffers from IBS.

We have tried all medications, put him on a high-fiber diet, he has eliminated all danger foods from his diet yet he continues to suffer with acute pains. It is always localized around the belly button area. He now needs to take codeine every four hours to relieve his pains.

Can someone please shed some light - does IBS really cause so much pain? From what I have been reading it is a huge discomfort, a hassle but is anyone suffering from acute ongoing abdominal cramps? We are desperate for help and don't know where to turn anymore...His entire life has been halted, he is a bright social, kind and loving boy who needs his life to be normal again. Please help.

E-mail Nathalie: [email protected]

The tale of...Valerie (29 March 2011)

I have been suffering from IBS since i was in eighth grade. I'm 15 years old and I'm in tenth grade. The students make fun of me at school and now in church. They think that I have gas just because they can hear my stomach making noises. I hate that I think of it a lot especially when I'm nervous, my stomach starts to growl really loudly and yes many people start laughing and think that I have gas. I wish that we didn't suffer from this disorder, and that people would understand and show respect. They also pick on me because I'm a quiet girl and because I'm short.

E-mail Valerie: [email protected]

The tale of...Ashley (10 May 2011)

I have had IBS for about a year now, but I was finally diagnosed with it a few months ago. All my life I've had terrible anxiety, but it seemed to be cured after 7th grade when I started taking medication. I took it for years until I finally decided I no longer needed it. I started having symptoms of IBS during my junior year of high school. I was having anxiety again, along with an upset stomach on most days. I'm not completely sure which problem started first, but they both caused me to miss a lot of school. Little did I know that it really wasn't so bad back then.

After leaving high school and getting my GED in 2010 the stomach problems seemed to be worse. If I was going out somewhere I didn't eat all day. That was the only way for me not to have to go to the bathroom. It wasn't long until even that didn't help. I started having diarrhea a lot. The pain was annoying, and I slowly started losing my social life. It seems like it went from bad to terrible in a couple of days. The pain from having to go got so bad that my anxiety kept me inside.

I told my doctors about it, and they thought it was just anxiety. I made an appointment to get anxiety medication, which somehow made the IBS so much worse. I used the bathroom several times a day. Sometimes I was on the toilet for what seemed to be hours. I went back to the doctors, and they told me to stop taking anxiety medication. I did, and my stomach seemed to go back to how it was...which wasn't too much better.

I am 18 now. I started dating my current boyfriend 10 months ago, and even at my age I know that I can't live without him. He is so understanding with my situation. If we go somewhere, I only have to give him a look, and we're on our way home, or to another place with a bathroom and less people. I've even asked him what the plan would be if we were in the car and I needed to go right now. He said he would pull over and hide me as much as possible so that I could go on the side of the road. Sometimes I'm scared that I won't even make it home. IBS controls me, especially when the pain is unbearable.

One night I woke up out of a deep sleep because I was in so much pain and honestly thought I was dying. If you have IBS, you know how intense the cramps are. When I woke up, I ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and waited for the pain to go away. It didn't. Even after releasing everything I could, I was still in so much pain that I had to force myself up and wobble into my mom's room to wake her up and tell her to take me to the hospital. Then I ran back to the bathroom to try to get the pain to go away. It didn't, and my stomach seemed empty.

I finally got in the car and went to the hospital. I had blood taken, and a few other tests...which all came back normal. The doctor said that I needed to get an 'upper and lower', meaning they put a camera in my...you know, and one down my throat. Weeks later I went back to the hospital for my follow-up and to talk about going to the GI for these procedures. The doctor told me that I wasn't going to get them done because the GI doctor said that it was IBS. That is when I was diagnosed and was given Bentyl for the cramps.

In a way, I feel like I bring the pain on myself. I still drink soda, eat fast food and don't take the Bentyl. But I have honestly tried the healthy diets, no soda, and I have always been one to drink enough water that my pee stays clear. Nobody believes that IBS doesn't always happen because of what you ingest. If I go without food for two days I will still have to go once or twice. I haven't taken the Bentyl because I'm scared of having withdrawals like the warning label says. The only thing that helps my IBS is distraction. When I have to go, I get on the internet on my phone and try to read something interesting. When the pain is so bad that I can't even move, I just think of every other day that I have this problem and I remember that it will go away in a few minutes.

Where I live about half of the girls my age already have a baby or two. Sometimes I would be the only one in the group who didn't have a kid, and I would listen to their labor stories and think that there is no way that the pain could be worse than what I've had to go through. I have even read a story where a woman said her IBS pains are worse than the births of both her kids.

Only people with IBS can truly understand the pain that I go through. It's so extreme that it changes your life. I am so much more of a homebody than I used to be. I now live with my boyfriend, and even though he's happy that I don't party anymore, I still wish I wasn't so nervous to leave the house with some friends. My biggest wish for myself is that my IBS completely goes away, and I feel for anybody that has to deal with this problem.

The tale of...Abigail (9 December 2013)

It all started in the beginning of 2013. I was going to high school when I had a quick urge to go to the bathroom. I couldn't handle it so I had to go home. I then noticed I kept going to the bathroom constantly and I was getting a pain around my belly button. Then there would be days that I would be in school and I would feel like going to the bathroom every minute but I wouldn't be able to go constantly so I would go home early all the time. I then noticed it was getting worse to the point that I missed two weeks of school and I was feeling very depressed.

I decided to finally go to the doctor they did many x-rays on my stomach, many tests, two ultrasounds and blood work but they found nothing and sent me home. Then I went again and did the same exact thing and they sent me to another hospital. So after going to the second hospital many times I tested positive for H pylori. I got treated for it and I tested negative after three months but my doctor told me I might have IBS because of all the symptoms I was showing. On that same day he discharged me because I had started feeling better so I never got tested for IBS.

I am now 18 and I was 17 when that all happened. I haven't been going to the doctor for more than three months but I still have the urgency to run to the bathroom out of nowhere. I'm still on Miralax as the doctor told me to take it every other week for one time in the morning. I couldn't go to college because of my sudden urges to run to the bathroom which is almost all the time when I'm sitting. And I get pain like crazy!

Since I can't go to college this also means I can't work. My parents don't understand what I'm going through and they want me to do something with my life but I just can't. I don't know what to do, I feel so alone because no-one knows exactly what I'm going through. I have no insurance so I can't go back to the doctors. I don't know how to apply for free medical since I'm not working and my parents don't want to pay for my stuff which I understand because medical expenses are very expensive.

I sometimes wish I didn't live just so I can end my suffering because I'm basically worthless. I sometimes get the smell of food anI i want to throw up as well. I get constipation some days but most of the time it's running to the bathroom no matter where I am. I have been having anxiety because I don't know if I'll end up pooping myself. I have lost all my friends because of this, even my best friend, just because I couldn't go out or go out to eat or go to parties.

E-mail Abigail: [email protected]

The tale of...Allison (9 December 2013)

I'm 16 and I've had IBS for two years. It has ruined my life. I was an actor, singer, dancer, cheerleader, volleyball player...I went out with my friends and my family. Now I can't go anywhere unless I'm willing to take an Imodium beforehand and then starve myself until I'm back home. It's humiliating. I've learned to deal with the pain, I hate it but it is what it is. The part that still upsets me so much is just how little I can do because I'm always worried about bathroom troubles.

I have to go to the hospital all the time for dehydration. I had to have my gallbladder removed a couple months ago from an infection. The worst part is that nobody takes you seriously. The hospitals don't take you seriously, "Oh it's just IBS, take some Pepto, some Imodium...". People at school don't get it, I'm in high school and everyone else is normal and healthy. Good for them. Meanwhile I suffer. I would give anything just to have the stomach I had a few years ago.

E-mail Allison: [email protected]

The tale of...Tyler (2 February 2014)

I have had irritable bowel syndrome ever since the sixth grade. My stomach would hurt so bad. I used to go to the nurse and try to tell her how bad it hurt but she would tell me just to lay down. It finally got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore so I would go to the bathroom and lie about throwing up just so I could go home.

My mother began to get worried and took me to my doctor and I explained to him the pain I was in and how it just kind of started out of nowhere. I didn't have to eat anything, it just started hurting really bad. The pain is indescribable really. He said I had heartburn, but after about a year and several doctor appointments my mom didn't think it was heartburn.

We went to another doctor and he freaked my mom out by saying I was going to have a stroke. We were rushed to the hospital where they said I just had a common cold. At this point I was frustrated because there is no way for me to have a dang cold for almost two years. Nobody in my family has any history of IBS whatsoever, it's only me.

So finally one day I was in ninth grade and my stomach was hurting to the point I felt I was literally dying! I called a nurse hotline and explained every single thing and she told me I was most likely bleeding on the inside. My mom rushed me to the hospital and they gave me some shot in the hip that stopped the pain in no time. I wish I could have that medicine all the time!

My hospital doctor came in and said they didn't see any cancer or signs of anything in my blood sample so I most likely had IBS. I was frustrated and I told him that this has been going on for about three years. I was thinking that IBS was a virus that went away after a while like the flu. He then explained it to me and I realized that this is more than likely what I have. After that it all made sense.

I found a GI doctor and he confirmed it. Having IBS is horrible I have an understanding job but it makes it hard being a junior in high school while having IBS. I had to drop out of my advanced placement classes because the stress was causing too many attacks. It sucks when people think I'm lying because I know that I'm not. My family are pretty understanding but I feel they could be more understanding. I miss school a lot, I have been through so much with IBS already and the sad thing is I'm turning 17 on 26 February 26. It's only going to get better or worse; I'm praying for better.

E-mail Tyler: [email protected]

The tale of...Macy (29 August 2014)

I am so thrilled to see that there are so many people with the same problem as me. I was 10 when I was diagnosed with IBS. I am now 15 and a sophomore in high school. I don't know how to deal with it. During school is the worst time I get episodes. I missed so much school because I would have bad anxiety attacks and have to run to the bathroom. I can't be in quiet places. I can't be in a room with too many people. I usually freak out and then I have intense diarrhea.

It's so bad. I have thought about suicide. I've gone into many depressions. No-one I know understands. I don't have anyone to talk to about it. I'm going to try this gluten-free diet. People say it works. I guess I just have to live with it although it's gotten so bad that I don't want to live. If you have any advice, please help me.

E-mail Macy: [email protected]

The tale of...Ally (30 March 2016)

My name is Ally, I'm 16 and I have suffered from IBS since about when I was 12. It was a rough time. I have anxiety which most likely triggered it. I remember getting all these tests done like a cat scan, blood tests, ultrasound and also going to so many different doctors for months.

Finally I found a therapist and was put on meds that really helped and I was doing good for a few years by exercising and eating well and managing my stress. Unfortunately junior year is a big challenge and brought the IBS back and stronger than before. It hurts so bad most of the time, the gas and pain and nausea is dreadful and also embarrassing most of the time.

I'm going back to the doctor tommorow and will hopefully get it fixed again but I would love someone to talk to who really understands what I'm going though and I also love this website!

E-mail Ally: [email protected]

The tale of...Anon (24 October 2016)

I am currently 16 years old and I have had IBS since I was 12. When it first started we thought it was because of growing pains. Pain that would occur every day and hit at random moments. Pain that felt like knives stabbing me in the abdomen. Going through constipation one part of the day to diarrhea the next.

As it got worse my parents took me to the doctor. The first doctor we went to kind of brushed it aside, said it was only stress and that it would get better. Regardless she still did an endoscopy and discovered I had acid in my stomach and prescribed a high dosage of Prilosec. Before that I didn't really get heartburn but after taking the pills I started to get it frequently.

We switched doctors about five times, each one offering a different cause with more pills to take but no solution. The pain gets so bad that I can't leave the house. Anytime there is a special occasion I usually refuse to go because of the fear that my stomach will act up.

I have become better at dealing with it but I still feel like I'm missing out on my childhood. From doctor's appointments at least once a week to doing tests and taking blood and multiple procedures, I have missed a lot of school. Not to mention the pain is horrendous and the pain has gotten worse over the years.

The worst part is that people don't understand. My parents suffer from seeing their child in pain and others think it's all in my head. Teachers are rude and mean because they think I'm ditching school, even though I alway hand my work in on time. Little do they know that I sit in their class pretending to be calm while the pain is eating my alive. I've been too embarrassed to tell them what I'm going through.

Currently, I have stopped all medications, I'm too young for them and it's not like they did anything anyway. I have stopped going from doctor to doctor, none of them have helped either. I have cried countless times when the pain has been too hard to handle and nothing helps. I just have to wait it out. I just wish that I could live without fear of my stomach acting up, without having to run to the bathroom, without having to be careful of what I eat, etc.

The tale of...Matthew (28 May 2017)

This site is an answered prayer. I'm writing about my son, Matthew, who will be turning 16 in a couple of months. Matthew has always had what we call 'poop problems'. Even as a baby he had a very sensitive digestive system. When he was in middle school I noticed that his trips to the restroom increased. He was running to the bathroom after almost every meal. Sometimes he would leave his half-eaten meal to make a dash for the toilet.

We started monitoring everything he ate and how frequent these attacks were. We could not figure out what would trigger it nor find a pattern to the attacks as it seemed like everything triggered them and they happened randomly. He also had periods when nothing would happen. Sometimes this lasted several weeks, but right when we thought this thing had passed attacks would come on again. I never thought that it could be IBS. I thought IBS was an adult condition.

So we dealt with it for almost two years until he became a high school freshmen in 2016 and that's when the animal turned into a beast. For the first few months of school he was having to get out of most of his classes to go the bathroom. All of his teachers very quickly became aware of Matt's 'poop problems'.

I started to research the symptoms. All it took was one 'diarrhea constipation cramping urgency teen' google search to open my eyes. After reading article after article on IBS, and one trip to the pediatrician to confirm - my son suffers from IBS. We had a name to the beast! I expected a shotgun of meds from the doc to keep this thing at bay, but all we got was a prescription of diet and fiber. Boo! We've tried that already! He's already given up milk and pizza, his two favorite food groups.

This morning Matthew missed first period for the second time this week. He's fed up, I'm fed up, so I prayed and then did one last search, this time with 'Imodium IBS'. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. I've taken Imodium for diarrhea before. So I made a mad dash to the store for Imodium multi-symptom, gave him two and put a couple more in his backpack with instructions on when to take if need be.

I am very hopeful that this is going to be a life changer for Matthew as I've read all of the inspirational stories on how Imodium has improved the lives of all those people that suffer from the same condition my son does. I have tears of joy in my eyes to think that Matthew is going to finally get some relief.

The upside has been that his 'poop problems' have not made Matthew an insecure teen. He is very social and has a great group of friends that know all about his poop. He has never been embarrassed by it nor has it stopped him from joining the basketball team and keeping his 4.0 GPA. I'm very proud of him. He's a cool kid. Thank you everybody for sharing your story.

The tale of...Nicole (25 February 2018)

I am 16 and I have suffered from IBS-D since I was 12. I have also been diagnosed with fructose malabsorption and I likely have something else wrong that isn't diagnosed as I suffer from vomiting which is not a symptom of IBS. When I first got sick nobody believed me, but as time went on I got worse and started missing school.

Finally my mom took me to my doctor who referred me to a GI. I had blood tests, urine tests, stool tests, an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. During the endoscopy they found I had two ulcers so I was put on a medicine that coated my stomach that I had to take before each meal, as well as Prilosec.

This helped for a while but the symptoms came back. This included episodes of intensely painful cramping that got so bad sometimes it was honestly the most painful thing I've felt, diarrhea, nausea and awful hot flashes/cold flashes. Or even worse, when I felt hot but was shivering.

I went back to the doctor and he put me back on the medications and scheduled a follow-up endoscopy. This endoscopy showed that my ulcers were healed but this doctor just kept me on the same medications. At this point I was almost 14. People still didn't believe that I was sick. My IBS symptoms were so painful that I didn't even feel the pain from the ulcers when I had them.

Finally I was fed up and asked my doctor to refer me to someone else. This doctor was amazing. She got me in much quicker and listened when I told her I had already tried something. She scheduled another endoscopy and colonoscopy, more blood tests, urine tests, stool tests, parasite tests and hydrogen breath tests. That's when we found out I had fructose malabsorption.

After no other results and a no fructose diet reducing my symptoms, but not getting rid of them, she said she believed that I had IBS. She thought I had acid reflux as well but I can tell you I don't. She put me on a low fodmap diet but that didn't help.

Needless to say I still have my symptoms and am currently getting through a bad flare-up. However I am learning ways to make myself as comfortable as possible when having an attack. I always have a washcloth in the bathroom for when I get hot flashes as I can get it wet with cool water to help cool down without leaving the bathroom or even getting up.

I always have Zofran to help ease nausea and diluted peppermint essential oil in a little bottle to help with spasms and nausea. I know to drink warm liquids during a flare-up because cold water makes cramping worse and sip on chicken broth or peppermint tea instead of plain water when it's really bad. I am getting spectacular at deep breathing exercises and imagery. Hardest of all is getting myself to believe that people aren't going to judge me for getting sick while out.

Everyone has had a bad tummy ache or food poisoning before and no it isn't the same thing at all, but that's what most people will think is going on and they aren't going to be judging you for it. Nine out of ten people if they see what's going on will try to help in any way they can.

The embarrassment of it was one of the biggest things I suffered with mentally. The huge anxiety it causes, that on a bad anxiety day it still causes, but anxiety won't help it at all and being able to relax will make the situation ten times easier. I hope this helped someone.

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