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sad tales: women with ibs-d page twelve

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

Hi, my name is Sarah and I have IBS. I was diagnosed with this disease at 18, on new year's day of 2004. For a while no one knew what it was and everyone just thought it was stress. I had to have all the horrible tests done, colonoscopies, etc. And after being handed no real answers it was pretty much thought that I have IBS.

I decided to quit smoking and this really does help. I take vitamin B for energy, and this works also. I do take Imodium sometimes but I have to be careful, because if I take it too often it stops working or works too well to the point where I actually bleed a lot when trying to go to the toilet. I also take Buscopan for the pain.

I find it very hard to deal with that feeling of 'I won't make it to the toilet in time.' And the anxiety and panic attacks. Before I got this disease I never realized how common and horrible IBS really is and unfortunately how much I took normal life for granted.

I hate feeling like this. I find it very hard to feel that it is impossible to do things that I used to enjoy, ie I'm going to the hairdresser on Thursday and I worry so much that I could lay down and die.

I miss seeing my friends but like so many of you say, no-one really understands and pretty much thinks I should just get over it. But it is comforting to know that there are other people out there like me and I'm not that crazy after all!

At the moment I am starting to find it hard to deal with the depression that is associated with IBS, I miss the person I used to be. I would really like to hear from anyone else with IBS, it would be nice to converse with someone that also understands the pain physically and emotionally experienced by having IBS. I just hope one day I wake up and the disease is gone. (I know it will never happen.)

E-mail Sarah: [email protected]

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

I have just been diagnosed with IBS. Until recently the worst it got was cramps and some minor leakage occasionally. Although this obviously wasn't ideal I could cope with it. But in the last three months, whilst waiting for a consultant's appointment, I have had 10 accidents. They are becoming more and more frequent and I am scared to go anywhere in case I cannot get to a toilet.

Yesterday was the worst ever. About an hour after I got to work I developed severe stomach cramps and bloating. I wrestled with it for half an hour but knew it wouldn't go away. I spent about half an hour on the toilet at work doubled up in pain. In the end I told my boss I was unwell and went to the train station.

I only have a five minute journey home but had to wait 20 minutes for the train to arrive. I was in agony for those 20 minutes, either pacing up and down or sitting on the bench doubled up. When the train arrived I got on and walked along trying to find the toilet.

By this time I was coming out in cold sweats and felt very ill. I got to the point where I just had to sit down because of the pain. A few seconds after I did this I had a diarrhea explosion, then another and then another.

Luckily I was wearing a long coat but the diarrhea was trickling down my trousers. I made it out to the corridor and went in the toilet to finish off. As I was doing so we got to my station and I had to get out of the carriage.

I walked the five minute journey home praying I wouldn't meet anyone I knew and that no-one could see the mess. When I got home I spent the next eight hours on and off the toilet. I then woke up this morning to find I'd been badly incontinent in the night.

I'm off work today with cramps and a painful, bloated stomach. I've just come to the conclusion that I need to wear some protection and have just ordered some pants. Hopefully, this will mean I don't have to worry so much about toilets. I just hope the doctor can help me. I'm only 25 and don't want to spend the rest of my life like this.

E-mail Sadie: [email protected]

The tale of...Natasha (29 December 2004)

After reading all of the messages here I feel relieved to hear that I am not the only one whose life has been disrupted by IBS. IBS is no laughing matter; it clearly has driven many to feel isolated, depressed and suicidal. It has prevented people from living out their dreams and ambitions, and even day-to-day simple tasks. I have been truly shocked and saddened by some of the stories of those with really severe symptoms. I just cannot believe that there is no real cure or treatment for this.

I am 21 and have suffered the 'usual' symptoms of stomach cramps, discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea for about four months now. Since the problems began I have lost about a stone in weight, my confidence is severely dented and I have suffered anxiety attacks.

I can completely relate to all of those people who have mental maps of all the nearest toilets; my paranoia is also due to a constant feeling of the need to urinate, which I think might be an associated problem!

The big problem that I am having at the moment is that I am a recent graduate, but have had to leave my potentially fulfilling and successful career because I was unable to do the job properly...meetings, liaising, and working in the office all became impossible due to the constant discomfort and embarrassment. I am consequently feeling like a bit of a leper and a failure!

I am now trying to find a job that is less stressful and allows me to cope better with the symptoms, but am finding it really tough and it looks like I might not get much use out of my degree. If anyone has any ideas about jobs that are flexible enough to do with IBS then please post a message on the site, as this seems to be a recurring issue...as there isn't sick pay available, and there isn't even recognition of this debilitating condition in the medical profession! Jobs anyone, any ideas, I'm very bright and going to waste here!

E-mail Natasha: [email protected]

The tale of...Gemma (16 January 2005)

Hi there, I would just like to say about how much I hate IBS. I was diagnosed as of yesterday and have suffered for over two years before this diagnosis. I just hate the fact that it is not really a serious illness as people think you are making it up and that I make myself go to the toilet, it really infuriates me.

I am a 20 year-old girl who feels like a recluse, who cannot step outside the house for fear of the dreaded diarrhea hitting while I am out. I feel really disheartened at the moment with the medical profession who just comment that 'It's IBS' or comment that there are no answers as it's just one of those things which contribute to our lifestyle, stress and daily diet.

Also, it annoys me with the fact that many doctors are handing out the diagnosis of IBS to people who may not have it and I feel annoyed as these people do not seem to suffer as much as I have (quite selfish I know).

I have not found any relief for my symptoms of chronic diarrhea and stomach pains as of yet. I take Imodium but I feel that starts a cycle of constipation and diarrhea for me. I am really interested in alternative remedies as I have read many success stories of this.

If people would like to contact me with any advice for me or simply tell me their story I would welcome them gladly and will reply to you. I live in the UK and am 20 years old. Looking forward to some well-needed support from hearing about others!

E-mail Gemma: [email protected]

The tale of...Lindsey (26 January 2005)

It is my belief that I have always suffered from IBS, although it took long enough to find out as I was told by my doctor constantly that I was suffering from stress, probably as I have a history of depression. I suffer with abdominal pain (spasms, shooting pain) that is so severe that when it starts I end up going to curl up in bed. When I feel this way I can't bare to have anyone near me. The pain travels round to my back sometimes, I have headaches, aching pains all over my body (apparently fibromyalgia), and I feel exhausted most of the day.

I have gradually lost most of my appetite and if I do eat I have three bites and I'm full. I suffer greatly with nausea and have times when I'm sick within half an hour of eating. I currently take three Colpermin tablets a day, but since I started taking them I've gone from two to five toilet trips a day to being constipated most of the time. I feel better after going to the toilet so not going is worse.

I think my recurring depression is tied in with my IBS, and I have a very poor sick record at work as some days I can't explain why but I feel like death. I'm currently only 23.

E-mail Lindsey: [email protected]

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