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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page nine

The tale of...Helen (August 2009)

I'm 15 and I've had IBS for a few months now...and I hate it. At first I thought, well, I'll try to eat healthily, take my meds and everything will be fine. Nope. I was wrong. It just seems like everything is getting worse. IBS has definitely made me so anxious and so depressed, I've thought about killing myself. I also have developed a social phobia.

It's really hard being a teenager and dealing with this, it's like all my friends are going out and having the time of their lives, but I can't. These are supposed to be the best years of our lives, but IBS makes it hell. And I really don't think people understand, because they're just like...well...if you have to go to the bathroom then go...but the pain is very bad, and you can't just get up in the middle of class and go to the bathroom.

And because of all the stress and anxiety of school this will probably be my last year and then I will be home schooled. I don't want to be home schooled I want to go to school with all my friends but I just can't. I want to go out and have a good time with my friends...but I can't. I just wish things were the way they used to be.

E-mail Helen: [email protected]

The tale of...Katie (3 August 2009)

I'm a 19 year-old female and I have recently been diagnosed with what the doctor called 'a case of IBS'. I didn't know much about IBS prior to this, other than that both my nanny and grand aunt are sufferers. The doctor wasn't very helpful, he didn't inform me of any way to control my problem or explain much about it.

I first noticed that something was wrong with my bowel functions when I was in my final year in school. I was sitting my leaving certificate exams at the time and began noticing that my stomach was severely bloating every time I ate. I began to get very self-conscious as it results in very unattractive stretch marks around my belly button and hip areas. Nerves and added stress were what I believed triggered my diarrhea. It was only on a very small scale at this time however so I just put it to the back of my mind and got on with it.

However it's now a year later and I'm sorry to say putting it to the back of my mind is no longer an option! My condition is always my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. I started college last September and I've come to the assumption that major environmental change and the added stress of being away from home is what has caused my condition to spiral out of control. It came to the point where I would think of any excuse not to attend lectures in the fear that I would have an attack. My flat mates began to notice and enquire whether I was OK. I just put it down to me being tired or wanting a break from study.

The second semester of college was even worse and my attendance was at its worst. I was afraid to commit to any teams, to go to the gym, to sit in lecture halls because of the fear of needing to get up in the middle of a lecture and disturb the whole room. I was too embarrassed at the thought of having a diarrhea attack in a bathroom on college grounds. I'm generally a shy person so IBS is a total nightmare to me.

I thought that I was celiac at first and cut wheat out of my diet. Although it did help for a while it didn't take longer than a week or two for the diarrhea attacks to become as bad as ever. My next assumption was lactose intolerance and again I tried a diet without any dairy in it. Unfortunately this attempt failed like the first one.

I eventually gave in and visited my family doctor. I went to him with the assumption that I'd need a food allergy test but he straight away told me all my symptoms were pointing at IBS and that there was no cure for it except to get more regular exercise and to try keeping a food diary to monitor what foods triggered the BMs. He gave me Spasmonal Forte for the pain, which has not helped at all.

Since then IBS has literally been ruling and to my dismay ruining my life. I'm afraid to commit to anything. When my friends ask me to go out with them I always hesitate and I've often turned down offers out of fear of getting an attack. None of my friends know about my illness because I'm too embarrassed to tell them, but I'm finding myself increasingly depressed as a result of IBS.

In the last month my IBS has been a little more relaxed than usual. I've been able to control my need to use the toilet and avoid certain foods, especially ice cream which is a killer! I do however always carry Imodium in my bag just in case. I don't like to rely on it too much though as it makes my stomach worse in the long run.

However today my symptoms have been totally different than before. I have never before in my life experienced constipation but I think from what I have been reading on this site that my symptoms are indeed that of constipation. The pains in my stomach are horrible and I've been bent over for the last few hours on and off in total agony and discomfort. I'm so fed up of having IBS, and I literally do not know what to do anymore. I'm finding it really hard to deal with it all. I've also noticed that my hair is beginning to fall out and I'm getting bad headaches. I've been to the doctor and he reckons it's all apart of IBS but I don't know if it is normal or not?

This site has been a great comfort to me and I'm so glad I found it. It's good to know that others (especially my age) suffer from what I do and any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

E-mail Katie: [email protected]

The tale of...Amy (16 January 2010)

I've had IBS for a year and a half now. I'm almost 17. I get the worst kind of pains in my lower stomach, it feels more like someone is stabbing me in my intestine over and over. I've been to urgent care and doctors and now I'm seeing a stomach specialist. First he prescribed an anti-depressant, but when I took it I woke up in the middle of the night with a high fever. Now I'm on new medication, but it hasn't been helping me. I've probably taken over four different medications but nothing works for me.

I get bad severe stomach, back and rectum pains, and weird unexplained bubbling embarrassing noises. I have a bowel movement two to five times a day. It's ridiculous. Now I'm having anal bleeding, and first I thought it was outer hemorrhoids, which I've had for years, but now it's practically dripping blood. It's either inner hemorrhoids that busted or something I have no clue about.

It got so bad that I had to drop out of school, I was constantly made fun of and had constant pain in my stomach, and I couldn't pay attention to school. I don't know what I should do. Hopefully the medication I'm on now will help me in the long-run.

E-mail Amy: [email protected]

The tale of...Lottie (28 March 2010)

I have suffered from IBS, diarrhea-predominant, since the age of 16. I am now 19, but it already feels like an eternity. I cannot begin to describe the massive impact it has had on my day-to-day living. At times I wish I could stay curled up in bed, warm and asleep, where I feel safe, protected and (almost) pain-free.

Pain usually comes on, literally, within seconds of me waking up and getting out of bed. In the shower, my guts start to rumble and churn, then for about two hours comes the constant running backwards and forwards to the toilet. On a good day I'll go two or three times before I leave the house; on bad days, like today (which prompted me to look and find this site for support and to know that I am not alone), I will go anywhere between seven and 15 times. I manage my symptoms with Imodium like most other sufferers, but sometimes when I'm really bad they aren't effective enough to stop me going quickly.

When my symptoms first came on three years ago I became a very anxious, nervous person, and couldn't leave the house, as I would have severe panic attacks because of the fear of having to get onto a train (with no toilets) to get to college (45 minutes away). I have had counseling, medications, all the tests under the sun carried out - and yep, it's just IBS. And believe me I am not making light of the situation by saying 'just' IBS - in fact, it's an illness I wouldn't wish upon anyone, but sometimes I think it would be easier if I was diagnosed with some disease and maybe then it could be treated efficiently and managed properly; because I feel like I have no control over IBS. It controls me. It says when I go out, what I do, where I go.

I have stopped being sad that this has happened to me; the feeling of sadness has been replaced with emptiness and the longing for 'normality'. I feel as though I have been stripped of my personality, I feel lonely, blank, isolated and jealous of people who don't even have to think twice about constantly worrying where the closest toilet is.

Some days feel so hopeless, but I am refusing to let this horrible illness take over me, and neither should you all, if you are reading this. I know it is so so so so hard, but knowing I am not alone makes me feel that smallest bit more positive that we can be happy no matter how difficult and restricting our lives are.

E-mail Lottie: [email protected]

The tale of...Tasha (28 May 2010)

On my first day of grade 10 I was 14, and my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to be in the same class for our first period. Unfortunately I had only been in the class for about five minutes when I started getting really bad stomach cramps. I was sat right beside my boyfriend and his two good friends were right in front of us.

My face I remember felt like it was on fire and I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. I thought it was just nerves, it being the first day back at school, but when my stomach started making noises and the horrible cramps got worse I couldn't even let my teacher finish talking before I got up and told her I needed to go because I felt sick. I just didn't go back to school I was so embarrassed.

It was so hard not being able to figure out why the pain wouldn't go away. When I went to my doctor I was way to embarrassed to tell him the truth so I told him I threw up and sometimes had to 'number two'. I think he saw through it and he sent me for blood work. I also have severe anxiety and I am petrified of needles, so you can probably guess how hard it was to go get the blood work done.

When the results came back negative I was confused and so I went to the hospital. The doctor did a full medical exam and told me that if my blood work came back negative by the sounds of my symptoms I had IBS. I was scared because I didn't know what it was, and when she explained it I felt so powerless.

I'm 18 now, my birthday just passed, and everything changed when I found out about my IBS. My best friends never understood why I wouldn't go out or hang out at their houses, so they all hate me and think I'm stuck up or something. Other than my mom my family still doesn't know so they also think I'm stuck up. I know most people's families would understand but my family is different. Even my mother doesn't fully understand why IBS is so hard for me. She just thinks it's frequent visits to the washroom. She doesn't understand how bad the cramps are, or the panic when you're out in public and you can't find a washroom.

My boyfriend and I have been together since a couple months before I knew about my IBS. It took me two years to tell him the truth and up until then he never understood why I would rarely go to his house or why I wouldn't go to dinner. But when I told him it was the best thing I ever did because I was able to talk to him about it and he is kind of my hero.

When I get attacks he takes me home or sits with me (if they are just cramps) and he stays away from the bathroom when it's not just cramps. But a lot of the time I feel guilty because he has cut off a lot of his friends to be with me while I go through this. I feel like I'm holding him back from doing a lot of cool things.

I've tried a pill called Dicetel, I had to take it three times daily with a full cup of water and food. It worked for about two weeks, but then it just made my IBS worse. I've changed my diet, I eat so healthily because I was told chocolate makes it worse. That also doesn't work. I've never had anyone to talk to who has IBS, and reading all these stories is like reading everything I'm feeling too.

It sucks, and yeah it isn't cancer or anything but it still sucks. I also do the not eating before I have to do anything. I know it can't be good but honestly I would rather have the hunger pain than the cramps and bathroom breaks. Does anybody have any good ways to make at least the cramps go away? Something natural not a pill?

E-mail Tasha: [email protected]

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