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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page one

The tale of...Amanda (October 2003)

I am 19 years old and I have been suffering from IBS for about ten years. It all started when I was in fifth grade. At the end of the school day, I would get these awful stomach pains and have to go to the office. My mom would come pick me up from school just about everyday. One night I started to have worse pains than ever before. I was doubling over in pain. I was very scared, and so were my parents.

They then took me to the emergency room where the doctor told us we would have to consult a special doctor. After having an upper and lower GI and other various tests, they told us I have IBS. To have this problem happen to me at such a young age was just awful. I was and still am taking Levsin, which seems to help.

I would give anything to have a new stomach! I have to revolve my whole life around this. My fiance is so wonderful and understanding. If I say I have a stomach ache, he runs and gets me my 'tummy pills' as he calls them, and tells me to rest and if I want to, he will leave me alone for a while.

I never know when I will get an attack. If I'm at work, I have to go right to the bathroom and eventually go home. I had to quit all sports when I was younger because I would get too stressed out and nervous before practices and games. It has taken over my whole life and I am now learning to cope with it. Anyone who doesn't have this will never understand. Please e-mail me with your comments and/or story. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

E-mail Amanda: [email protected]

The tale of...Alexandria (October 2003)

I was diagnosed last year after many different doctors and many different tests. Now I just turned 19 and in British Columbia Canada (where I live) that is the legal drinking age. But as we all know liquor does not help at all.

The thing that bothers me the most is that my friends don't seem to understand at all what I have to go through all the time. All of them have tried continuously to try and get me to go out to the bars and clubs to drink with them. I always tell them 'I can't drink' but it really doesn't seem to phase them at all.

Also when I really am having 'one of those days' when I don't feel like doing anything because I'm scared to leave my house because I never know when I will have to use the bathroom, all my friends just think I'm making it all up, or as everyone who has IBS has heard before, 'It's all in your head.' Really I don't know how many times I've heard it.

Some days I feel as if I will never be back to normal. Which makes me very depressed. If anyone has any information for me on foods that help and foods that don't or any information at all please contact me via email. Thanks.

E-mail Alexandria: [email protected]

The tale of...Alison (October 2003)

I was recently diagnosed with IBS at the age of 19, through the theory of elimination. When it first began I was extremely ill and was going to sit in the bathroom to pass gas every hour. I went to the doctor and they gave me something to control the diarrhea, thinking I had some kind of bug.

I got better for a few days and then it came back, my doctor ran all sorts of blood tests and because my liver enzyme levels were slightly elevated they thought I might have a virus.

Then came hell, a battery of tests to figure out if perhaps I had hepatitis. Hep A and B tests came back negative right away but I had to endure two weeks of waiting for Hep C to come back negative. I was so weak and the blood tests made me even weaker afterward.

I was so scared that something was horribly wrong with me. It still makes me upset to think about it. My dad was so worried because I don't live at home and my parents were too far away to come and comfort me. My phone bills were astronomical.

Through all this I was trying to go to university and hold down a job as a lifeguard. I wasn't able to work and I missed a lot of classes. Luckily my boss and my profs were very understanding.

Although I have not found total relief and I ask 'why me', I am glad that this syndrome does not usually lead to more life-threatening conditions further down the road. When I am on the toilet and I want do die because it just hurts so bad, I take solace that it will pass sooner or later, even though I am so scared sometimes.

I have found that ginger tea helps with the nausea and I have a cup every morning because I was so sick of being drugged up on Gravol. Peppermint tea also helps soothe my stomach and Japanese tea is just darn comforting. My doctor gave me a medication called Dicetel, which I take when I start to feel those warnings signs. Pepto-Bismol can also help as a last minute aid.

Also cutting out dairy has been a lifesaver, I find that one bite of that stuff will send me in and out of the bathroom for hours. I hope this helps someone, don't hesitate to email if you have any questions or tips.

E-mail Alison: [email protected]

The tale of...Lizzy (June 2004)

I am a 15 year-old female sufferer. That's right just 15 years old. It kind of haunts me every day. No matter what I eat or do I always get sick, I always have pains in my stomach and I always have to watch what I eat. My doctors don't know what to do, they have stopped caring.

I have had it since age 10 but didn't get diagnosed until much later. I live a high-stress life especially with high school. I hope one day they find a cure. Because as a teenager with IBS it is no way to live your life.

I have to make sure I don't get nervous or feel rushed in any way or it's just bad. Let me tell you, I can't even take PE class because if I get nervous or jump around a lot it upsets my stomach, so I have an alternative. I hate this stupid syndrome and I would give my right arm not to have it any more.

None of my friends know about it and I hope that I never have to tell a boyfriend. I have had oh so many embarrassing moments, too many to count. It is hard to conceal especially when you're in class and ask to use the washroom and then everybody realizes you are gone for like 15 minutes, it sucks.

I hope people understand that you may give this syndrome to your kids. Although my mom has it very mild and got it in her later years, I have it very strong and have it now as a teen. It really is no way to live. I accept it and do not mope over it because I know there will be a cure, in the meantime there are always anti-diarrheals.

E-mail Lizzy: [email protected]

The tale of...Nicola (July 2004)

Having IBS has really ruined my life. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I am too much of a nervous person. I often have panic attacks where I shake and feel like being sick. I am only 17 and have had irritable bowel syndrome for a year and a half. I have been to the doctor numerous times but every medication I have been put on has never worked. I get scared of going out to places because I am scared of becoming ill, having a panic attack or being sick.

I try to relax and eat healthy foods but it never seems to work. I just can't be myself any more. I always feel ill and tired and I get hot too easily and feel like fainting. I find it very difficult to sleep and I often look fat or pregnant when my stomach bloats out. I am looking to find some help, I just desperately want to get rid of my IBS and live my normal life again.

E-mail Nicola: [email protected]

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