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IBS A Personal Journey
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IBS is a very common syndrome, but it usually takes a long time to diagnose, because the symptoms can mimic other diseases. Plus it is diagnosed by exclusion, ie. tests do not prove anything of a physical disorder. It's frustrating to the patient, and the doctor. I know I've been there, my problems started 20 years ago, but I was finally diagnosed 3 summers ago, but my journey to a cure continues.

One morning in my early 20s I got up for work, showered, and had a smoothie for breakfast. I was heading out the door when wham, I was hit but stomach pains so painful that I fell to the floor. It took me 20 minutes to crawl to the phone, to call in sick for work. It was another 1/2 hour before I could get off the floor. When I saw my doctor that afternoon the pain was gone, but she still wanted to do tests. I had an ultra sound and a barium swallow, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I continued to have stomach cramps on and off for the rest of the summer, but then they disappeared.

In my 30s I started bloating on and off for no reason. It actually became a bit off a joke at work. Let's watch Linda's stomach grow!!! I'm glad leggings were in style or I would have had to have 3 sizes of clothes at work depending on my stomach that day. When I went to the doctor this time I was first given a barium enema, yuck, avoid them if you can, then sent to an allergist. He put me on an elimination diet, dairy and wheat seemed to be the culprits. I stayed away from them and everything seemed fine till I hit my 40's.

In my 40s more and more food disappeared from my diet, first beans, all kinds, then gluten, eggs, soy. peanuts and chocolate. When I was 44 I started bloating again no matter what I ate. My doctor sent me off for another barium enema, oh joy!, and to an allergist. The allergist's receptionist called me a week later to happily tell me I was so lucky, I wasn't allergic to anything.! When I asked her why I was still bloating like a balloon she hung up on me. I was so frustrated!!! Sadly a few days later my husband passed away, and strangely so did my bloating.

Three summers ago, the bloating and pain came back with a vengeance. I went to the clinic, where they put me on antacids and told me to come back if the symptoms didn't improve by the next day. I was back the next morning. The doctor I saw this time asked if I had IBS, this was the first time I had heard of the syndrome. I told him I didn't think so, I was put on a liquid diet for 3 days. As soon as I started solid foods again the pain returned, so back to the clinic I went. This time I was told to see my own doctor. When I went a variety of tests were done, a blood test for celiac disease, a hydrogen breath test, stool samples, and yet again, the dreaded barium enema. Everything came back normal, so an appointment with a gastrologist was set up. Eight months later I finally went to see him. He poked at my stomach, looked at my stomach, and told me I had Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). His prescribed treatment was Milk of Magnesia and beano, all that did was give me the runs.I asked my doctor's advice and he didn't really have anything to suggest. So my personal journey to find relief started.

Since then I've been to a Naturopath, tried digestive enzymes, acupuncture, a specialized diet, probiotics, and daily exercise. Some have truly helped for up to six months at a time. I'm currently trying meditation, which appears to be helping. My journey isn't over, but I'm hoping that some of the treatments I have tried will help others as what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. If you have IBS, and you don't know where to turn, try joining a website such as IBS is a pain in the gut. You'd be surprised, at the options that are out there.

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