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sad tales: women with ibs-d page seventeen

The tale of...Michelle (20 July 2005)

I am 24 years old and was just diagnosed with IBS. I have been suffering off and on for about 10 years now. I had my first barium enema when I was 16 and just recently my first colonoscopy. Neither of which are very fun by the way. It just seemed so ironic that you have to take laxatives and stay in the bathroom all night to see what is making you stay in the bathroom the rest of the time.

Well of course with all of the 'symptoms' and nothing irregular about my colon, IBS is the diagnosis. I just find it so hard to believe that with so many people suffering, there is no cure. I am taking Bentyl, which seems to help somewhat with the pain, but it makes you so damn loopy. I have not had an accident as of yet, but I do have to call in to work a lot. I feel so frustrated because that is not me.

I feel worthless not even being able to help support my family. So with that feeling of knowing you missed work, and won't have a full paycheck, and your boss probably thinks you are insane, comes more worrying which brings on more stress and another attack. It seems like some mornings I just want to die.

I hate using public restrooms. I can't even remember the last time I was able to feel comfortable about going out to eat in a restaurant. I will go with a group of friends, order and kind of rearrange my food, and then ask for a to-go box. I hate to plan to go anywhere, because I don't know how my stomach will react.

My doctor recommends seeing a psychiatrist to see if they can recommend stress-coping techniques. Some days I wonder if I will be able to deal with this for the rest of my life. My husband and I want to have another baby, but I am terrified that I will not be able to eat to keep enough nourishment in my body. Tell me how that is fair?

E-mail Michelle: [email protected]

The tale of...Sue (24 July 2005)

I developed IBS after a particularly bad bout of food poisoning eight years ago. I went to my doctor time and time again with terrible diarrhea and he gave me Imodium, but as I had never had it this bad before I knew it wasn't a normal bad stomach.

I kept going back, and four years later he finally sent me to a consultant who diagnosed IBS, after some unpleasant tests! I wasn't told what to do except she said don't eat too many bananas, and it does seem that whatever I eat can give me an upset tummy. I have already given up caffeine and fizzy drinks and wheat and dairy and most fruits and a few fruit and vegetables, particularly potatoes. I am at the end of my tether.

I have depression also which doesn't help my IBS. Other people get very nasty if I have to cancel going to see them because I need to be near an accessible toilet, as I am also in a wheelchair. Certain people say things like 'Oh you've always got a bad stomach, you are always cancelling on us' not considering for a moment how I am feeling.

E-mail Sue: [email protected]

The tale of...AJ (25 July 2005)

It's such a relief to me to find this site and realize I'm not on my own. Nobody I know has symptoms anything like mine, even those who say they have IBS. I'm lucky in that I have a very understanding husband who would do anything for me if I asked - but at the times I am suffering most I just want him as far away as possible.

My IBS started at the age of 13. I'm now in my 30s. I was too embarrassed to discuss it with my mother and would sit in the toilet for hours on end wanting to die, suffering from gas, bloating and chronic diarrhea with mucous. I got to know the pattern on the floor so well.

I got scared to go away and when I did go to guide camp, I remember spending most of one night, having walked about half a mile from my tent to the toilet block, freezing and shivering in the cubicle rather than risk going back to the tent and getting the pains again.

I eventually went to the doctor who diagnosed appendicitis and had me in for surgery. Needless to say that didn't cure anything. I had all sorts of tests including a barium enema, and at one point was on 12 tablets a day, but nothing ever worked. I ended up stopping taking them.

It has been on and off I suppose really all these years, and nothing in particular seems to aggravate it - stress doesn't seem to make it worse. It has got to the stage where I would not see any symptoms for a while and then out of the blue would suffer a horrendously violent attack of vomiting and diarrhea with cramps, sweating, shivering etc.

I have cut down on these by never eating a big meal on an empty stomach, always eating in an upright seated position (rather than sitting on the floor for example - crushing up my tummy makes it inevitable that I will get an attack), not eating past about 7.30 at night, and remaining upright for at least a couple of hours after eating.

Peppermint tea also helps and I live for a medicine called magnesium trisilicate. You need to get a 'good' batch though - the best are made with a strong peppermint oil base rather than just chalky. It's the only thing that relieves my wind and pain in any way, but it's quite hard to get hold of. If you are in the UK try Moss Chemists - they carry their own brand and do not be fobbed off with a more expensive brand name or branded medicine - this only costs about 90p a bottle and is the most effective thing I have ever tried. I now take a dose nightly and have for the past 15 years with no ill effects that I can see.

I still get incredibly bad attacks once in a while though and it makes me wish I was dead. I have been suffering with serious constipation and bloating for about a year now - I constantly look six months pregnant and hurt all the time. I suffer from almost permanent urinary tract infections which don't seem to clear even after antibiotics - does anyone else have this?

My bladder always feels like there is pressure on it. I did have some tests about 10 years ago for this, including an incredibly painful tube up into my bladder, but nothing was discovered. Is it likely to be IBS causing this constant pain/discomfort, does anyone know?

Recently my 'attacks' have been getting worse when I have them, even though they are still far apart and strike without warning. One of the worst was on holiday driving through France. My husband only just managed to pull into a service area before I had to run and find the toilet. Thank God there was one.

I spent about an hour and a half in there thinking I was going to die, having diarrhea and vomiting onto a pile of toilet paper I had managed to throw onto the floor. I was soaked in sweat that literally ran from every area of my body. This happened again fairly recently at a friend's party - I just managed to run into her bathroom where I threw up all over her towel (the only thing I could grab in the panic and put on the floor in front of me while I had diarrhea).

The worst episode ever came this weekend though, which was what prompted me to finally look online for anyone else as I feel so alone and abnormal. In the middle of my family meal with my husband and daughter I experienced the familiar stirrings - gurgling and pain in my lower abdomen, slight nausea and sweat and crampy type wobbly pains in my thighs.

I just made it to the bathroom and grabbed the waste bin. I really genuinely thought I was going to die. If I had been able to move, or to speak, or to even think clearly I would have called my husband to get an ambulance. My heartbeat was so fast I couldn't count it (not that I was in any state to in the first place), I was so dizzy and disoriented I felt like I was hallucinating.

I was sat On the toilet in agony suffering terrible spasms that wouldn't let me straighten up, bent literally double with my hands on the floor, trying to support myself while I vomited into the bin. The sweat ran off me soaking my clothes and pooling onto the floor, I could feel it dripping off me and running up into my eyes and nose as my head was upside down.

I don't know how I managed not to pass out - I was blacking out in-between spasms, my eyes closing and rolling and arms giving way, my body trying to slide onto the floor, not helped by the amount of sweat making me slide off the seat. Thank God I got through it. I don't know how. I didn't even have the strength to wipe off the vomit from my face that I could feel hanging there. There is nothing so disgusting in this life. It was actually worse than giving birth, which I went through with no painkillers at all, not even gas and air.

I'm OKish now, still weak and sore. I haven't had a period in nearly nine weeks, doctor says no idea why, but I constantly feel pressure all around that area. Apparently I am not menopausal, all tests show nothing wrong. Does anyone else have anything like this? Could it be linked? If anyone wants to contact me please do - I would appreciate any support and tip swapping.

E-mail AJ: [email protected]

The tale of...Jennifer (29 July 2005)

Hello everybody. I guess I will try to put into words the agony that IBS has brought into my life. I am 22 years old and have had IBS since I was 15. I can almost remember the exact day that it started. That's weird, huh? Mine alternates between constipation and diarrhea, and no matter which one I am experiencing, horrible pain accompanies it.

I have been forced into isolation early in life. I have no friends that I hang out with, because of the fear of getting sick around them, and I have not dated anyone in almost five years. If I go shopping or something, I constantly worry about having a bad attack. I have lost almost 40 pounds over the last two or three years because of having to give up many foods. (That was extremely hard). But if there is one thing I have learned, it is strict discipline.

Sometimes I will have episodes in my life where I'm OK for a few months, and then, for no apparent reason, the trouble comes back. I know if I get upset or worked up, then I will really suffer. However, sometimes if I am totally calm, just sitting around the house, I will get sick. I cannot understand IBS. All I understand is that it is a horrible disease to have and it is really overlooked by people, doctors especially. I have had all sorts of tests and have taken all sorts of medicines. So far, nothing has worked for long. I still hope and pray for a cure.

I just wanted to say one thing. I just found out about this website, and recently read all of your stories. I want you all to know that I really feel for you, and I know what you're going through. It is so comforting to know that there are others out there just like me. I come from a family of non-sufferers mostly who don't understand.

I would love to talk to any of you about our problem. You all sound like wonderful and kind people who do not deserve this pain. I will pray for all of us, and continue to come to this site because it gives me hope and comfort. If any of you e-mail me, I will certainly write you back. God bless!

E-mail Jennifer: [email protected]

The tale of...Nancy (2 August 2005)

I am up tonight running back to the bathroom and stumbled upon this site. I too suffer from IBS, I have known for about three years. I have really good days, then also really bad days when I can't even leave the house. My husband thinks it's all OK, he wants to go shopping, but before I can make it to the store I need to go.

I am in so much pain, I sweat, spend half the day in the bathroom. I feel like the only relief my doctor can offer is Imodium. I hope that some day there is a way to better manage IBS for all the people who suffer from this condition.

E-mail Nancy: [email protected]

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