This post contains personal information on my initial diagnosis with IBS. My experience and journey are unique and personal. You can join the conversation and share your personal experience at #IBSinAmerica or by visiting the IBS in America website.
During my teen years, I noticed that I had these times when I just felt sick. Functional sick. I could still go to school and work but my stomach just hurt. I had diarrhea, bloating, cramping and just felt miserable. I popped Pepto like it was my best friend. At times I would go months and months feeling horrible and other times I would go months feeling great and forget that I had ever been sick.
Over the years the pattern continued but after each child I noticed the length of time that I felt good got shorter than the times that I didn't got longer. Some days I just had a stomachache, other days I couldn't leave the bathroom. Doctors prescribed everything from antibiotics to other specific stomach medications. I was diagnosed with IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome and given different ideas for helping to stop the symptoms. I tried medication, diets, oils, and every natural remedy on earth to start feeling better. And it would work for a little bit.
However last Thanksgiving after spending months with diarrhea, cramping and stomachaches I found myself in the urgent care after spending almost two days in bed. What followed were months of blood tests, stool tests and eventually ended with a colonoscopy and endoscopy. I was ultimately diagnosed with another illness, but the journey and diagnosis took 15 years. And it will be something that I struggle with my entire life.
Here are some facts about IBS:
- The holidays tend to be a time of overindulgence and you might be more aware of your gut after enjoying a large meal or rich foods. Did you know that 35 million Americans suffer from IBS, and those feelings of abdominal pain and discomfort, including constipation or diarrhea, are often persistent throughout the year?
- Before sufferers saw a doctor, 77 percent of sufferers reported that they tried on average more than three over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, but few reported being “very satisfied” with these products.
- Seven in 10 IBS survey respondents reported suffering from common IBS symptoms at least two to three days per week with recurring symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating or cramping.
- IBS symptoms interfered with the respondents productivity and performance, on average, nine days each month, and caused those respondents to miss school/work two days per month, on average.
IBS is real and the symptoms can be difficult to live with. For more information on IBS click here.
While all experiences and opinions are my own, this post is sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), which commissioned the “IBS in America” survey, the most comprehensive IBS survey of both patients and physicians ever conducted, polling more than 3,200 sufferers and 300 physicians to better understand this condition, with the financial support of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Allergan plc. For full survey results, visit https://bit.ly/1LwtDgp.
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