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sad tales: women with ibs-d page eleven

The tale of...Yvette (26 September 2004)

Hi ladies and everyone out there coping ....if you can call it that, with this disease. I'm a long time sufferer of IBS and still at a loss to tell people where to turn. I was so glad to find this site to know there are other people with the same symptoms as me.

Right now I started another part-time job to make ends meet at home. I had so much cramping and bloating yesterday I thought I was going to die. I made it through the day - thank God, you can go to the bathroom whenever you need to. It's so embarrassing because you never know how you're going to feel.

I just pray I'll make it through the day. I keep talking pain relievers and a little pill called Bentyl to relieve the spasms but it really doesn't get rid of the pain. My legs seem to throb as well when I'm going through a bad bout...does anyone else have that problem? Well I hope we all make it through another day...I'll be praying for one and all.

E-mail Yvette: [email protected]


The tale of...Joan (9 October 2004)

I was diagnosed with IBS many, many years ago. I was given some medication for the terrible cramps all throughout my lower belly, a diet of sorts, some exercises to do and to not be too far from a bathroom if I had the diarrhea which was usually the case. On rare occasions it was just terrible cramps and constipation, so I would drink lots of water which would bloat me up, but eventually after lying down on the bed on one side and then the other, the gurgling would start, followed by the cramps and then the immediate urge to have a bowel movement which left me on the bowl, doubled over with terrible pains, for well over an hour.

At school, in my early years, I had a few accidents either in class due to diarrhea or on the train, and later, driving home from wherever I was. I was given something for the diarrhea as well and eventually, it just stopped, but I will say it was no fun when I had cramps with my period and the IBS was there too. My belly could hardly take it.

I used to walk the floors and massage my poor belly until I could just sit up and cry from the pain of both. Finally my period came and the cramps eased up within a day, but the IBS was still there. My belly was extremely bloated and I tried to rest for my period of which I still was a little bit crampy.

By the second day, the period cramps stopped but the IBS was still growing strong and then the diarrhea started and that was like non-stop for a couple of days with cramps so bad, it felt like someone actually punched me in my belly. I cried and cried. Nothing was helping, but I massaged my belly, walked the floors and had to keep running to the bathroom. That was some 30 years ago.

I have not had an attack for 30 years. Until today. I have been under a lot of stress lately and was having some mild cramps plus I had the flu, so I just figured it was that. The flu is essentially done with after two weeks, but the cramps started really badly yesterday. I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I drank some cola and ginger ale so as not to dehydrate.

This morning I got up and went to the bathroom. Boy did I have cramps in my belly. I took my meds and some more ginger ale and I could hardly walk back to the bed. The entire lower portion of my belly was and still is killing me. I have had diarrhea almost all day and of course with that and the most horrible cramps in my belly, I knew I was having a severe attack of IBS after all these years.

I could hardly touch any food, because everything I ate came right out and my belly is just so bad, I can only pray that I will get some sleep tonight. I took the diarrhea and pain meds but neither helped. As it is Saturday I called the doctor's office and got the PA on the phone and she did agree that it sounds like a full-blown IBS attack.

Her major suggestion was when the diarrhea eased up, to lie on my bed or couch and try and sleep because I might get woken up with the severe cramping again in the night. She also told me to put a hot water bottle on my belly in bed. Not sure it'll work, but anything is worth a try.

I am 55 years old now, living with my dog in PA and very lonely. Anyone that has any suggestions for these awful pains, please write me. Just when I thought I was over it, back it came.

Update on Joan...

Joan here again. I am posting again in the hopes that I get some good replies. Just send directly to me and reference something about IBS in the subject. I am not on every day, but promise to get back to you shortly.

My belly has been acting up quite a bit lately. I have spoken to my doctor on a couple of occasions and he has tried different medications as well as bland foods. However, I wake up in the morning with a bloated belly and the gurgling starts soon. I take all of my medications, not only for the IBS, but this as well.

The doctor told me to drink hot water with a bit of lemon, sipping it slowly. I usually take it to my bedside, so I can sit and massage the cramping that has already started. The doctor has me on calcium with vitamin D and a cranberry tab and other vitamins as well. I basically get really constipated and bad cramps after drinking the hot water with lemon but he says it will flush the system.

I then lie back down on the bed and look at my belly which by now is so totally bloated, it is hard to decide which way to rest. I sometimes massage the intestines but then the gurgling starts up even more and I get up and walk the floors.

I often take my dog out for a walk and just as I am picking up after him, I get such a severe gas pain in my belly, I hurry him along and I put his drippings in the dumpster and by then the cramps are almost unbearable. I wash my hands and sit on the age of the bed rocking and grabbing my belly and doubling over. Sometimes drinking enough fluids, I finally do go.

I had a severe cramp all day, still do, and my fiance doesn't understand, so I would appreciate hearing from someone who does. Blessings to you all.

E-mail Joan: [email protected]


The tale of...Ashley (23 October 2004)

I am 21 and have only recently (the last month or two) discovered that I have IBS. I do find stress aggravates my symptoms and no particular food makes it better or worse. Although my symptoms are not overly severe, I get diarrhea once or twice a week usually and a lot of abdominal pain. I fear it will get worse and since there is no actual known cure, my fear is heightened. I also suffer from emetephobia (fear of vomiting) which makes all this harder.

I find depression is starting to become a part of my everyday life as well, due to IBS and my social anxiety disorder. I do hope that one day a cure, or at least something that will improve IBS symptoms dramatically, is discovered so we can all rest and enjoy life.

E-mail Ashley: [email protected]


The tale of...Diana (28 December 2004)

Hello, I'm Diana, I'm 20 and I study music at university in London. My symptoms started off quite mildly. I simply remember not a day passing as a child where I didn't have a stomach cramp. These were dismissed by teachers as attention seeking or exaggeration. However, at that time I never had any problems with my stools.

When I got to around the age of 12, I noticed that passing wind would help relieve the pain, which at that time could get so bad it made me feel nauseous. But for a child that spends all their time at school with friends, passing wind was not always welcome, and I had one or two embarrassing moments where my colon would make itself heard! I also began to get constipated sometimes.

This carried on for the next few years, until about last year, when the pain was always accompanied by diarrhea. I thought this was a passing phase, and I thought it would stop if I discontinued to eat dairy products. A mistake I have learned many people have made.

In my gap year, I worked in a cafe which had one staff toilet which was also used by customers, but which had no ventilation whatsoever. I developed horribly painful stomach cramps and diarrhea at work, and would lock myself in the bathroom but refuse to go to the toilet, and wait for the pain to go away (only for it to come back again in 20 minutes!).

However, in the end, I felt that I was being so poisoned by what was in my bowel that I didn't care anymore, I just sat on the toilet and went for ages. Eventually I had to tell the owner, who was incredibly understanding and would let me have a timeout when I was having an attack.

I had cut out most of the dairy food in my diet, but my IBS was getting worse, so by this time I was afraid to eat. I was gassy, in pain, nauseous, had headaches, frequent loose stools and general fear to go out! The only thing I could bring myself to eat at that point was lettuce and water.

Around this time, I also had my pianoforte auditions to get into London conservatoires. You can imagine what the stress and nervousness did to my bowel. Performing, I was in so much pain, and was just relieved when it was over because I could finally go to the toilet and let it all out! Needless to say, I didn't get accepted to the conservatoires.

Today, I found this website, read the story on the front page and cried. It is such a relief to know that other people feel this too, and that I have it good compared to some. The fear I feel is indescribable when I know I need to get to the toilet, and I know what is in store. Sometimes, when I'm in pain, I wonder if childbirth will be as bad as this.

Nothing seems to help, but saying that I haven't tried many remedies yet. I just shut up and go, and hope no-one can hear me crying in the toilet. I have to mention I live with my boyfriend in shared accommodation with six other people, and there are only two toilets, so it is imperative I don't draw attention to myself when I am having a bad attack, which now seems to be every weekend without fail.

When I tell university friends, they just say 'Oh Diana, I didn't want to know that, that's disgusting!', but how else do I answer why I wasn't in the day before, or why I am sitting there looking miserable? What would they have preferred to hear? That I couldn't be bothered, like them, to come in? I'm not going to lie just because they are too disgusted to hear the truth.

Thankfully, I get relief in the form of my mother. She has suffered from IBS since childhood, and she helps me, and understands, and doesn't say 'yuck' when I describe my recent stool to her. My boyfriend also makes excuses for me at restaurants when I have disappeared to the bathroom for an unacceptable period of time.

To be honest, I have never experienced sympathy from others when I tell them what's wrong (apart, of course, from my amazing mother), only the presumption that it's purely psychological, or, more frequently, reactions of discomfort tinged with disgust, like how dare you mention your bowels to us.

Anyway, it was a relief to get that off my chest! I don't think my condition is severe, although I do feel constantly bloated, like I want to fart all the time, and just the thought of coffee or dairy makes me want to open my bowels there and then, even if my stomach isn't cramping! I keep hoping for a miracle cure, or anything to feel normal again. And I think I always will.

E-mail Diana: [email protected]


The tale of...Kimberly (December 2004)

I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am to have found this website. I always thought I was the only person in the world who wasn't 'normal', the only one who has been driven into isolation, who has had their life ruined by this miserable disorder.

I have had practically every known test there is and no doctor has been able to find out what is wrong with me. They think I'm just a hypochondriac and a nuisance. Sometimes I am so desperate that I wish I would just die and get it over with. After reading the stories here, I feel a little bit better, not so much like a freak. I want to wish all my fellow sufferers all the best and the strength to deal with this disease.

E-mail Kimberly: [email protected]

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