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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page eight

The tale of...Ben (4 March 2008)

I'm 16 and I was diagnosed with IBS about four months ago now, and I'm finding it very hard to deal with. When I went to the doctor I told him that I was getting diarrhea, constipation, pain and discomfort. He then diagnosed me with IBS. I was still unsure about the syndrome so when I got home I looked on the internet to find out some info about it, and I then found out that IBS can be stress-induced. This is where I got quite upset.

About six to eight months before I was diagnosed with IBS I had been going through a very bad stage of stress. This lasted for from six to eight months before I was diagnosed until about a month after I was diagnosed. I had just found the best girlfriend and we were getting on amazingly. I lived at boarding school so my parents were not around. My mum rang me one night and said that we were moving to Germany. It all started from there as I was going through my GCSEs at this point also, and things got really bad. I thought the world was going to end.

I am still struggling a lot not being with my girlfriend, and having IBS really doesn't help, it gets me really upset and down. Even when I go back to the UK to see my girlfriend I am constantly going to the toilet and a lot of the time I'm in a lot of discomfort. That is the wort thing about it as I want to be fine and happy while I'm with my girlfriend and I just really struggle because I feel so ill all of the time.

The doctor gave me mebeverine which didn't seem to do anything at all. The doctor then gave me Fybogel which I have just started taking. I am unsure whether it is doing much at the moment, I'm not running to the loo as much but still getting all the symptoms of IBS.

I really want to try to deal with IBS and hope that I can eventually deal with it so it isn't on my mind as much, and that I can try to lead a normal life and not worry about going somewhere because there might not be a toilet.

I hope that we all can deal with IBS and I hope that this website lets people know how horrible IBS can be, yet there are many other diseases and syndromes that are a lot worse and I am grateful I only have IBS and not cancer or anything really life-threatening.

E-mail Ben: [email protected]

The tale of...Heather (14 March 2008)

I am 20 years old, and like many of you, I have no friends that suffer from IBS. It is so nice to know that other people my age understand what I am going through. I have suffered with IBS for a long time, and it has changed a lot. In high school I was always so bloated that I looked pregnant. Since I've started college, the bloating is better, but instead I often get terrible diarrhea every time I get my period. Sometimes I'll miss classes for days because I feel too sick.

Not only do I have diarrhea, but I get light-headed a lot, and I'm always tired. I've had bad anxiety disorder and panic attacks, and I even have insomnia and get heart palpitations. I was surprised to learn that these are all symptoms of IBS. I do go through different periods though, where my IBS quiets down, and it goes back and forth between constipation and diarrhea.

I take Aciphex and Zegerid for my acid reflux disease, and I take OTC Axid all day long, almost every time I eat in order to counteract my IBS. People make fun of me because my diet consists mainly of carbs. I eat a lot of bland crackers and cereals, as well as bread, mac and cheese, and turkey. These are the foods that seem to be the best on my stomach. I do eat some steamed vegetables, but I can't remember the last time I ate a piece of fruit. Fruits and vegetables are killers on IBS, at least for me.

It was also nice to hear someone mention that their friends don't understand why they can't drink. Mine always say, once you get used to it you'll be fine. They don't understand that if I even had one drink I'd probably spend the rest of the night in the bathroom. IBS sucks, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there, and I'm thankful that while this disease feels terrible, at least it's not life-threatening, and somehow the bad times always pass.

E-mail Heather: [email protected]

The tale of...Emma (October 2008)

I'm 14 years old. I was diagnosed with IBS in September this year but I had suffered from it for over a year beforehand. It started a week after I had turned 13 and I was on a school trip to France. I became ill and had diarrhea and I had to keep rushing to the bathroom. I pretended I was vomiting. It was so embarrassing especially as we were traveling and in a different country.

It has traumatized me and ever since then I have suffered from IBS. I have also gained many other lovely disorders relating to my IBS and anxiety such as social phobia, OCD, depression, panic attacks and various others (all of which make my IBS worse). I went to cognitive therapy this winter and they managed to help with my depression and panic attacks but they couldn't help with the rest because I have an 'underlying fear' and 'I need to sort out my IBS first'.

I also came very close to an eating disorder, I lost a stone in weight in just over a month as I used to eat very little in the fear of having an attack. I thought that if my body was empty there would be nothing to cause the diarrhea/constipation, but no it just made my cramps all the more unbearable and made me feel nauseous.

I am always so embarrassed and very self-conscious about my condition. I am very shy now because of it and I have very low self-esteem. I am constantly missing school because of terrible cramps and diarrhea attacks. I rarely go out with friends and stuff just in case I have an attack and I'm too afraid to date a boy I like in case he doesn't understand.

Sadly it seems IBS is winning my battle, but I shall keep fighting. I am going to hospital in May where they will do tests, so fingers crossed they will help and find a way to control it. I am also trying in vain to convince my mother to let me try hypnotherapy as I think it would help my anxiety disorders as well as my IBS.

Every day is a battle for me and I am taking a variety of medication to try and help. I just wish more people knew about it and were aware of it and that I didn't have to be embarrassed because of it. I have had many humiliating experiences and can only look forward to more in the future.

The tale of...Sally (19 March 2009)

I have not officially been diagnosed with IBS but the doctors have run out of diagnoses. I have been having symptoms (diarrhea and chronic pain) for five years now. When it started off in fifth grade (I'm a sophomore now) my pain was pretty irregular, occurring every four to six weeks for two or three days. It was manageable, not fun, but I could deal with it.

However, this year my pain has become impossible to deal with. Beginning in October I have not made it to a full week of school (usually missing three days). The stress of making up all the work is horrible, but the worst part is not getting to see my friends. They are quite possibly the best friends in the world. Although they don't understand what it feels like, they support me 100% and try to protect me. When I'm well enough to go out we do lots of fun stuff and when I'm sick they call and check in.

But I'm sick of being 'the sick friend'. I want to be normal and not have to worry about if I'm going to have to rush home and risk ruining their time. I hate having to cancel at the last minute or spend all my time in the bathroom. And as for guys, there is no way I could tell them exactly what happens when my 'tummy is bad'. Telling them that I have so much diarrhea that I literally lose pounds in water and waste is just not an option.

Last year, before it was this unmanageable, I ran track. I ran varsity as a freshman which was fun and I got a lot better throughout the season. I have not run in months. I miss it, but if I'm not too sick I'm too weak. And this lack of activity is making me gain weight. Weird right? Because I feel like I'm pooping out all my food as it is.

I try not to get too hopeful that I will be diagnosed and have relief because then it just gets disappointing. So I guess for now I will continue to scout out bathrooms wherever I can and try to lead a normal life.

E-mail Sally: [email protected]

The tale of...Michael's son (August 2009)

My son is an 18 year-old senior in high school. He has had IBS for years, and this year has been the worst of all. He is being home-schooled most of the time. If he is not sleeping he is on the computer. He is afraid to drive or go out because he might have to go to the bathroom, and sometimes he sits in the bathroom for hours at a time.

We have taken him to all doctors, a dietician and even acupuncture but nothing seems to help. He is going to college in September, a county college in NJ. I am praying he is not going to be afraid to go. Can you please help me and my family with this illness?

E-mail Michael: [email protected]

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