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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page two

The tale of...Russell (July 2004)

When I first got IBS it was in the middle of 9th grade year. It just hit me at school out of nowhere, I started having all of this gas, but I was like what the hell man. I dealt with all types of crap that year. I am in great shape, eight-pack, muscular, I don't know why the hell this happened, I work out a lot.

Anyway I have had the a colonoscopy where they stick a camera up in your colon and see what's going on. They also went down my throat to my stomach (which hurt like hell when I woke up) to see if anything was wrong there. They found nothing.

I'm going back to a doctor this Friday. I'm trying Primal Defense but I haven't stayed on the strict diet for it to really do anything. I stay on a strict diet to stay at school though. If I don't I will fail my classes from missing too many days. Those teachers are harsh man.

I need a break from this. I'm in 12th grade now and I'll be graduating. I don't want to put up with this in college so if anybody knows anything out there to help man you can e-mail me whenever. Thank you.

E-mail Russell: [email protected]

The tale of...Jennie (November 2004)

I'm 17 years old and have recently found out that I have irritable bowel syndrome. I have always had a dodgy tummy but it really became a problem when I was 10 or so. I used to get very intense pain in my stomach followed by diarrhea and vomiting, and on occasions I would pass out. I was later told that they were bowel spasms.

The doctors didn't know what was wrong with me, firstly they told me I had endometriosis and that I was infertile, then they said it was all in my head, even my parents started to disbelieve me.

At 14 I was in so much constant pain that I was unable to go to school, and when I was in school and had a spasm the teachers told me that I was faking it and that I had a mental problem (those were their exact words).

At the age of 16 I was so tired of fighting the pain that I couldn't cope, sometimes I was having up to three spasms a day, passing out on the bathroom floor. My 16th birthday was especially bad, I had a spasm that lasted five hours and spent the whole day vomiting and sat on the loo!

The pain was indescribable, and sometimes when it is really bad you pray to die. Eventually I was diagnosed with IBS and given medication. I still get occasional bouts of spasms and pain but thankfully it is better now, touch wood.

I never went back to school, instead I am now at college. They know about my IBS and are very supportive if I have a spasm there or am unable to attend. I was told that I would probably suffer from irritable bowel syndrome for the rest of my life, but now it's better, I cope.

It's very embarrassing when your out somewhere and have a spasm, especially when you pass out. When I do have a spasm though, I take codeine and spend the rest of the day on the loo. Doing breathing exercises helps, and the most important thing is a hot water bottle.

The medication that helped the most was something I was very shocked to be prescribed, antidepressants! The doctors told me that it would help slow down the pain messages to my brain and therefore help the pain; in my eyes though I thought that they thought I was crazy and had a mental problem, or that is was all in my head.

I was only put on a very low dose of the antidepressant amitriptyline, 10mg three times a day, and to my amazement and relief, after a few months, they worked, and I swear by them know.

I still get pain and spasms now and again but not as often as I used to. I can get on with my life know, and even though exercising makes the pain worse, and I get tired a lot, thanks to my family and friends, and the medication and hot water bottle of course, I can cope with the IBS, embarrassing as it may be!

E-mail Jennie: [email protected]

The tale of...Emma (3 March 2005)

Hey. My name is Emma and I've had IBS for about a year and a half. I'm 17 years old now and trying my best to get better and try different medications. I've read many of your stories and I give you all so much credit for trying to fight through this disease. Whenever I complain about it, I will think 'Why am I complaining? There are other people out there with life-threatening diseases and I am complaining?' And that fact is true...IBS isn't life-threatening...but wow does it ever take over.

I feel like my life is on hold. I'm currently working at a grocery store, but I hate the job. I really want to work at this certain restaurant in town but my mind says 'OK I'll apply there...but after I fix my stomach problems'. Everything I want to do revolves around my stomach! I live every day thinking 'OK I'll do that...once my stomach's better'.

But will it get better? Will I be able to live a normal life? I swear, I envy any person who can sit through a class at school and eat a bag of chips and drink a milkshake. I wish for even a day I could be like that. And at this age you shouldn't be wishing to be normal...in fact at any age really! As I read some of your stories I read symptoms that are so much worse than mine...and I'm sorry. I can just imagine.

I try every day to have hope to get better. I feel like I have tried everything! Different eating plans, medications, natural things, and I feel like I'd have to wait months and years to see any changes kick in. It takes enough motivation for me to do all my homework, attend school, work out at the gym and keep a steady job. Never mind adding IBS on top of all this! It makes everything twice as hard of a job.

Anyways, I just wanted to give all my hope to all you out there with this problem...I feel for you all. And I would appreciate any e-mails from you if you need to get thoughts off your chest, have advice on treatments or have any words of motivation for me! Thank you to you all.

E-mail Emma: [email protected]

The tale of...Carrie (22 April 2005)

I am a 15 year-old girl in high school, and I've been suffering from IBS ever since my father died when I was 13. It felt like a curse after all the pain I'd been going through trying to get over him. He died at the very start of summer vacation, and I got loads of visits from my relatives. Unfortunately, I spent half the time they were there in the can, wishing I were dead from all the pain.

I remember when my aunt and uncle from the West took me to see Pirates of the Caribbean not long after the funeral was over, and I was really looking forward to the distraction. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea what was going on with my guts, so I wasn't prepared at all. I bought a bag of Twizzlers, and after eating one, my guts cramped up wildly, and I ran off to the bathroom.

I had terribly painful diarrhea, and I got so frustrated, because even though I still felt like I needed to go, my guts refused to let anything else out. So then I returned to the theater, and only a few moments into the movie, I cramped up again! I had diarrhea two more times, and I was so much in pain, and so embarrassed that I just wanted to curl up in the toilet and die. I told my aunt and uncle that I was just sick, but I was really worried about what was wrong with me.

Three months later when school started, I finally got scoped, tested, and turned inside out only to have them tell me that I had IBS, and that there was no cure. I was devastated. Plus, I have antibodies for celiac disease, and I'm praying with all my heart that I won't get that too.

Currently, I'm still recovering from a bad recurrence that started during Christmas, and still hasn't stopped even though it's been happening for several months. I've lost so much weight, I'm only 102 pounds when I used to be 110. I hardly eat anything, and my mom's worried about my health.

I really hope there'll be some more answers for why you and I have to suffer like this because I really don't know what to do anymore. To anyone else who's reading this, and is feeling just as alone and in pain as I am, I wish you luck, and a long, happy remission.

The tale of...Lindsey (25 April 2005)

Since I was about 12 or 13 I have had horrible stomach problems. At first the pain was because of my menstrual cycle and I'd have to miss school for the whole time I was menstruating because of the pain and extent to which my flow was. I went to the doctor and they put me on the birth control pill to regulate my periods. They said I had endometriosis and that the pill would help. I've gone through several different strengths of the pill now, and am on one that seems to be working just fine.

Shortly after I was put on the pills I'm on now (it's been about two years) I began to have diarrhea constantly instead of just when I was on my period. I noticed that certain foods set it off more than others, but it pretty much happened all the time. It began to get to the point where I would become constipated because I was taking medicine to stop the diarrhea, then I would be bound up for several days.

After becoming frustrated with having to miss school because of the endless cycle, I went to a gynecologist, since to my knowledge this was all because of the endometriosis. She determined that I don't actually have endometriosis and gave me a referral to a GI doctor.

About three or four months ago I went to my GI doctor's appointment where I was diagnosed with IBS with diarrhea. My doctor wanted to try the natural approach of putting me on a high fiber diet with little or no caffeine, sugar, or greasy foods in my life.

Let me tell you, as a 17 year-old, this is extremely hard to do. It is hard to go out at all with friends because of the constant need to have a bathroom. Having a social life is nearly impossible, and I actually get nervous or scared when the opportunity comes to do something with friends. I find it hard to have a boyfriend, because I get nervous and my IBS kicks in.

I still continue to miss school and the symptoms have only improved slightly. When I was told I had IBS I felt it was an old person's disease, not something a teenager should have, and was so relieved when I found this site that has other teens going through the same sort of things as me. Please feel free to contact me with any support, questions, concerns, etc.

E-mail Lindsey: [email protected]

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