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sad tales: women with ibs-c page six

The tale of...Angie (15 August 2005)

I have suffered with IBS for many years. I have had a barium enema etc in the past, numerous blood tests, even went into hospital at one stage, but nothing was found so it was put down to IBS. I have never established what triggers it off. Usually I can go a while without it and then have a bout that goes on for ages.

Am having a bad time at present as I did a lot of decorating, plus using the keyboard at work and ended up with carpal tunnel symptoms. This progressed to morning stiffness in my arms, shoulders and neck, etc. I took ibuprofen to relieve this but it made me feel sick and gave me irritable bowel - went to the doctor who prescribed a drug called Arthrotec - took that for about eight days and realized that was making me feel odd too so stopped it.

I returned to the doc and he put me on a five-day course of steroids. This had a horrendous effect and I have ended up with not only irritable bowel but gastritis! Am now on anti-acid medication to counteract that!

What is troubling me is the fact that when I get what I call and assume is IBS mine is worse at night, and the cramps, sweats and nausea and awful dry mouth wake me up, and even broke through the sleeping tablet the doc had given me! Every article I read states that IBS doesn't happen at night but mine always has.

My sleep pattern is totally disordered now and I wake up all times of the night. Another thing I get when I get attacks is terrible sweats and nausea. My symptoms seem to be different to what I have read and I would like to be reassured that someone has the same!

Another thing I would like to add is that I am convinced my morning stiffness etc is linked to irritable bowel syndrome and wondered if anyone agrees?

E-mail Angie: [email protected]

The tale of...Claire (25 August 2005)

Firstly, thank you all for sharing your stories. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one out there. I've been suffering now for over a year. It took three visits over a space of two months to get my doctor to refer me to the local hospital. I was given Colpermin and Colofac to help ease the spasms, but other than that I was told to just 'eat healthy'. My appointment came through in June this year after a six month wait.

The consultant has referred for a barium x-ray to confirm the diagnosis, but again he thinks that it is IBS. Good news so far? Well, the waiting list for x-ray is nearly 10 months, followed by waiting another six months for a consultant to see me again. Don't you just love the NHS!

In the meantime I am going nuts. It's generally constant, I struggle to go properly and am constantly bloated and huge. I've managed to put on weight rather than lose any, and I feel like I am going mad. I'm tired all the time, I feel exhausted, and it's as if there is a ball of concrete in my stomach. Ooh, I almost forget, the wind, the gas, the farting...pleasant (not!).

The more I stress about it the worse it gets, and I feel like I am in a vicious circle with this illness. Trying to remain positive, it should be this time next year that I officially get diagnosed (which really means nothing from all your stories, but hey at least I'll finally be able to get some life insurance as they currently won't allow me as I'm under investigation at the hospital...) My heart goes out to anyone who feels the same.

The tale of...Samantha (2 September 2005)

First off I just want to thank everyone for sharing their stories. I was first diagnosed with IBS about a year ago. I was prescribed Zelnorm without any testing or blood work. It ended up making me feel worse.

I had gallbladder surgery when I was only 20 years old and was very sick with stones caught in the ducts to my liver. About a year ago I had another surgery on my ovaries which turned out to be nothing. During the surgery the doctor found some endometriosis stage one. I have never thought about IBS being connected to these things until I started reading other stories.

I also never thought about it being related to my depression and battles with my self-esteem. After high school I was very ambitious and now I could care less about what I do, except for my three year-old son. I'm hoping someone can give me some over the counter remedies that are fairly inexpensive. I have no insurance and just want to get back to a normal life. Thanks!

E-mail Samantha: [email protected]

The tale of...Leigh (November 2005)

My name is Leigh and I am 29 years old. My IBS started shortly after the birth of my first child nine years ago. At that time, I only had the diarrhea. By the time my daughter turned one, I was no longer having this problem. However, after my last child was born two years ago, my little bathroom problem, as I call it, has reappeared.

At first it was the diarrhea, now I think I am experiencing the constipation. My family and I went on vacation last week, and this seems to be when the problem started. While on vacation, I only had one episode of diarrhea. After that day, I didn't go again for two more days. Then after I went to the bathroom I felt like I had horrible gas and bloating. Again, it was two days before I went to the bathroom again.

Today I went to see my family doctor. She felt my tummy and did an exam and told me that all looked normal. So, here is my question...For those of you who have the constipation/bloating/gas/painful abdomen, how long does this normally last? I am new to the constipation side of IBS. Any advice or comments will be much appreciated.

E-mail Leigh: [email protected]

The tale of...Stephanie (November 2005)

I am only 22 years old and have been suffering in silence for the last three years. I hate asking for help and I had difficulty telling whether it was all in my head or not. I've gotten used to holding in my breath and 'sucking it in' throughout the entire day in front of people so I could hide the disgusting pregnant-looking tummy that doesn't match the rest of my body's proportions.

My social life depends on my tummy's size that day. I need three days' notice for going out at night with others to parties and at least three weeks' notice before going swimming, that way I can starve myself without panicking and fit into my clothes. It's a nightmare looking in the mirror and seeing this bloated stomach monster that sticks out.

My constipation is extremely severe and I can't have bowel movements until a week or longer has passed between them. And even then it's really disappointing because all that comes out are a few tiny pellet pieces - no relief from the bloating or the fullness I have been looking forward to ridding myself of the entire week.

The excessive straining with no result is extremely frustrating and time-consuming! Enemas, stimulant laxatives, suppositories, stool softeners, fiber laxatives, etc fail to work as well. Correctol laxatives work for me in 18 hours but the result is an entire day and in a half in the bathroom and a burning pain in my stomach that makes me double over wishing I could just die. I swear to myself I'll never take them again but after a week of discomfort I prove myself to be a liar. I take them every Thursday after work so my tummy will be a normal size by the middle of the weekend.

I just had a colonoscopy this June due to large amounts of blood in the toilet, and areas were found torn and bleeding but the biopsies were OK. They aren't sure what it's from. I am now having an endoscopy done in a few days and the GI specialist believes I have IBS with constipation and probably some ulcers.

What angers me the most is that this all started when I was put on extremely high doses of tricyclics for migraine prevention back in high school. I trusted that my doctor would be looking out for my well-being but all the prescriptions throughout the years have completely messed up my body. The tricyclics have pretty much shut down my system's ability to even function on its own.

I went to the neurologists for help and I left in worse shape than I ever would have been not asking for help in the first place. I just weaned myself off the tricyclics two weeks ago and have to wait four more weeks for them to completely get out of my system before I can start the IBS medications. All I want is to feel relief after a bowel movement - to actually have a real bowel movement. It seems like so little to ask for but it would mean the whole world to me.

E-mail Stephanie: [email protected]

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