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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page four

The tale of...Joanne (1 September 2005)

I am a 19 year-old IBS sufferer. I have had IBS since...well birth, I can't remember not having it. I have horrific memories of my mum being called into primary school to hold my hand on the toilet. But right now, I am at the lowest point in my life. I have never experienced pain like this...

I was diagnosed by a homeopath when I was 10 and have avoided wheat, yeast, dairy and sugar ever since (mainly dairy - God, that's a killer!). I have seen an improvement since then.

However, about nine months ago things went from bad to worse...I was constantly getting thrush (does anyone else have this problem? I was wondering if they're linked), bladder infections, agonizing stomach cramps, I couldn't have sex without pain...Through all my years of keeping my IBS silent, I knew this was something big - this was no ordinary IBS attack.

So obviously I got tested for everything I could on the NHS and private health. No STDs, clear colonoscopy, it's just a bladder infection they told me! I have been in and out of every doctor surgery since...nothing. I had an ultrasound scan that showed I had ovarian cysts - hurray, a find! But then I was told they don't cause that much pain? So again, back to the drawing board.

So far I am clear of everything according to the doctors...but how is this normal? I cannot live like this...every day gets a little bit worse. I am so glad I found this website so I can empathize with others - I just can't believe IBS can cause this much pain with no real diagnosis or cure.

Tonight for example has been another random, unexpected night of sheer agony...rolling on the floor, streaming with tears, punching my stomach just hoping this torture will end. Reading others' stories has helped me but I still fear the next attack. I can't live like this and was wondering what I can do? I need support. I fear no-one understands my pain and they think I'm making it up for attention, because as many will know, at stressful times it gets worse - I'm talking 'take me to the ER' worse.

I guess it's nice not to be alone, but I wish I was for the sake of all you sufferers out there, because no-one deserves to go through this and the fear of having it every day. I feel for every one of you and I hope we can lean on each other because I really need support right now.

E-mail Joanne: [email protected]

The tale of...Ashley (19 September 2005)

I've had IBS for the past four years. It's gotten worse every year. I'm in the 12th grade now but last year it was so bad that I quit school. This is the first month of school and I'm already missing time. The doctors have tried no less then 15 medications on me and none of them seem to work! I myself don't think there is a cure at this point!

It's been so long since I've got to feel like a normal teenager! I don't understand why this has happened to me and so that just adds another symptom to my other ones - depression! I'm only 17 and I'm the only person that I know that's my age that is cursed with this! It's just not fair.

E-mail Ashley: [email protected]

The tale of...Simon (16 November 2005)

I have suffered from IBS all my life, but it was masked by the fact that I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance as a baby, and thus I always attributed the symptoms to that. However when I was 14 I took my SATs at high school and ended up not sitting them because I had nausea, crippling abdominal pain and other symptoms. It took me six weeks to get back to school full time!

About a year later the symptoms were still persisting, despite a higher tolerance for dairy produce and the fact that I was controlling the amount I ate very carefully. My mom had been diagnosed with IBS previously and mentioned that my symptoms matched with hers, so I went to the doctor and was like my mom diagnosed with the IBS. From then on I was even more careful about what I ate in the way of dairy produce and I even managed to get through my year 10 exams, mock and proper GCSEs and AS-levels without much trouble.

Despite this, in December of 2004 I was working in a local supermarket and caught a stomach bug from the cafeteria (the staff hygiene was appalling). Following this I fell really ill for about two weeks, but it also triggered my IBS and sent it into overload.

That January I had A-levels to sit and I only just managed to do it; the teachers were very understanding. From then to now I have had non-stop IBS with it flaring up every week and sometimes daily. I lost over a stone in weight on the run-up to my June exams as I cut all dairy produce out and was not eating before exams for fear that I would need the toilet.

I had blood tests and tried a number of remedies, with only Imodium having any impact, but even that doesn't work now. I had to have a provision to sit my exams in a separate room just to get through them, and I only managed that by the skin of my teeth. The result was that my grades dropped from predicted Cs to actual Ds. I am unable to work, I still have not regained the weight I lost and the huge amount of stress I am under is doing nothing to solve it. So what am I left with - not a lot.

E-mail Simon: [email protected]

The tale of...Tess (December 2005)

Hi, I'm 14 years old and suffer from IBS, I think. I'm in ninth grade right now. In seventh grade I began to get stomach aches in the morning but they would go away. Whenever I would have tests or exams, my stomach would get active and upset. I would just sit there in the classroom embarrassed every time my stomach would move and make noises. But now I have more things to worry about.

Anyway, in the summer before eighth grade I got what I thought was the stomach flu. I had frequent trips to the bathroom (not vomiting but the other thing). Then eighth grade began and I felt better, although every morning my stomach was extremely upset.

Then before Christmas I had a test in PE and my stomach was at its worst. In January 2005 I began to take Metamucil, a fiber supplement. Things got worse and I would go to the bathroom two or three times every morning before going to school. Out of the whole eighth grade I probably missed about 20 days of school because of my stomach.

Summer passed and ninth grade began. Beginning school was hard for me because it was when I was most nervous and my stomach reacts, even when I'm excited. In the morning I would go to the bathroom two or three times. By the end of the school I would have gone about seven or eight times. I stopped taking Metamucil. Surprisingly the frequent trips in the morning stopped (my mom thought it was the gluten in the Metamucil that made me sick). Then I switched to Citrucel and began taking Zoloft (an anxiety medication) because my parents thought that I had anxiety.

Ninth grade began and I suffered. My bowel movements decreased to three or four times a day. Still I suffer from anxiety and the worries of school and my social life. Every morning I am so nervous and I can't stand the thought of going to school and having to go to the bathroom. I have A day B day, at school and on my PE day (A day) I have to go to the bathroom way more than B day. A day is my core day so it's worse. I have to go to the bathroom once before PE, and then once in between each class.

Now I am seeing a GI doctor for children. They are not very helpful. They have given me blood tests, stool tests, and now they want to do a biopsy. I don't think so! It sounds so violating. I really don't want to do it. Oh yeah, I am also lactose intolerant, I think. No tests done yet but I am definitely sensitive to chocolate, milk, and cheese. What else could it be?

Well, Christmas break is almost over and 2006 will soon begin. Hopefully it will be a good year for me and my stomach symptoms will decrease. Recently I have been getting horrible painful stomach cramps in the morning, resulting in frequent bathroom trips. When will it stop?

The tale of...Eleanor (13 December 2005)

I live in the UK. I think I have had IBS for about one year, maybe a year and a half. Oh yeah I forgot I'm 13. I hardly ever go to school really, I find it really stressful and I have a lot of expectations to do well. I took my first GCSE about one week ago; it was only a small science biology one but I still felt absolutely crap. Every day I fall ill and get spasm attacks, there's not a day I can not remember not having them.

I hate having spasm attacks in the middle of the night and be in the bathroom crying or be crying myself back to sleep. Most children would wish for money, a car or something, I just wish to be a normal teenager again. The tablets I been put on don't help really and the doctor I think is getting annoyed with me.

My parents are at the end of their tether. They are getting worried about me having so much time off school and never feeling well and say they don't know if I'm putting it on a bit or not.

E-mail Eleanor: [email protected]

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