First off thanks to all of you that have shared your stories on here. Very nice to know that i'm not alone in all of this.
As for my story, I'm 29 years old. I was diagnosed with IBS following a colonoscopy back in 2003. In about 2006 i started having GERD like symptoms as well, which has only got much worse over the last couple of years. Looking back i know that this all started when i was about 14. Had my first real "attack" when i was 16. Out of no where i got severe stomach cramps and back pain all through out my left flank area followed by painful diarrhea. From that day forward life was never the same. I didn't go to a doctor with any of my symptoms for about 4 years since my first bad attack. I had never even heard of IBS at the time so i just thought what i was going through was normal as it didn't happen all that often over the first 4 years. When i was 19 everything started to get much worse. I was spending hours a day in the washroom sick with Diarrhea and feeling nauscious from the severe pain in my stomach which often brought me a grown man to tears it was so painful. I used to lay down on the bathroom floor instead of going back to bed just so i could be closer to the toilet. I used to get really anxious when an attack would come on. I would pretty much strip off all my clothes while sitting on the toilet. I'd have hot flashes, sweat, terrible stomach pain, every little noise seemed to really aggravate me while i was having an attack. I didn't want anyone to talk to me during an attack. I later was put on a series of meds from anti-spasmotic meds, pain meds, etc. At first the meds made things manageable but now they don't seem to work. I have lost several jobs because of my IBS. I've lost 25 pounds in the last 2 months which i believe could be signs that i have celiac disease so i'm waiting to see gastroenterologist. It has caused me to suffer from severe clinical depression for several years now so i'm also on anti-depressants. IBS has controlled my life and all the decisions i make in life. I have had to make many sacrafices. I know that living a "normal" life is not in the cards for me so all i can do now is try my best to manage the symptoms. Which as all of you know is much easier said than done. I find yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, going to the gym regularly has helped a lot and improved quality of life.
The hardest part for me believe it or not is not the IBS itself and all the pain that comes with it. It is that nobody understands what i'm going through. They don't take me seriously. When i miss several days work due to bad flare ups my friends and family think i'm just skipping work because i don't feel like going or because i'm depressed. It makes me feel so alone. IBS is a very serious life debilitating illness to go through. I just wish there was more i could do to raise awareness so all those who have suffered like i have could finally be taken seriously instead of being looked down upon and constantly questioned and doubted by your peers and family.
Thanks for reading everyone. You are not alone!
The views expressed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Digestive Health Alliance (DHA) or International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD).