Hi all! Anyone mind if I join? I was so glad to find this forum and get a feel for what everyone is going through.
This is my story (it's a long one - I apologize in advance!): I was a big fan of asparatame when I got PG with our first miracle. My OB suggested I switch to Splenda during my pregnancy. I did so and continued to use it after our baby girl was born. Out of nowhere, I started having explosive (and I mean explosive!) diarrhea, sometimes up to 10 times a day. I spent more time in the ladies room than I did in my office when I was at work. There were times where my wonderful boss would have to run to the nearest department store to buy new pants and undies for me because the cramping/diarrhea came on so fast I didn't have time to make it to the ladies room. Once the cramping started, I had only seconds.....to get to the nearest restroom. This caused me great anxiety all the time, especially if I went out to a restaurant to eat. I would have to immediately identify the location of the nearest restroom and hope our table was close by. I was never able to enjoy a meal since I spent the entire time worrying about when the cramping/diarrhea would start.
When I finally went to my primary, he went through the usual "what are you eating?" "have you been out of the country recently?", "have you been on any antibiotics?" etc., etc. As he was writing me a script for lab work, I said "I drink a lot of tea...could it be the caffeine?" At that piont he asked me if I was using Splenda and I said yes. I was ordered to stop using it immediately and switch to something else. I did (asparatame/Equal) and within 48 hours, the diarrhea stopped.
Fast forward one year later. The explosive diarrhea is back (and I'm still using asparatame). Another visit to my primary. He orders me to stop ingesting all artificial sweeteners and writes me a script for lab work (stool). At this point he's thinking possibly proctitis. After about a week, the diarrhea stops completely.
The lab results come back. Everything looks normal but I have a high level of yeast in my colon. My primary refers me to a Gastro. and off I go......
My Gastro. is not surprised to hear I am having a reaction to artificial sweeteners; apparently many people do. But because of the elevated yeast level, he wants to make sure there's not something else going on and orders a colonoscopy. The first one I've had. Lord help me! The procedure was a breeze; the prep was an absolute nightmare!!!
My colon was totally clear but the dr. was able to peek into the small instestine during the procedure and it was inflamed. He took 3 biopsies, sent them to the lab and put me on 9mg Entocort per day. When the results came back I received a diagnosis of Ileitis. The inflamation was "new" and there were no "classic" signs of Crohn's. Yet. I will go back for another colonoscopy in one year and if the inflamation is still present, Crohn's will be the new diagnosis.
At my follow up appointment my Entocort dose was lowered to 6mg/day for "maintenance".
I have only had one issue with diarrhea since I stopped ingesting asparatame; I ate a salad with leafy greens last weekend and there was an explosion in my bathroom about 2 hours later. I do have horrible gas and overall discomfort after I eat bread or crackers, especially if they contain wheat. At this point I have to wonder if Celiac Disease is a possibility? (I was not tested for it)
Thanks to all of you on this forum. It's so nice to have a support system and to be surrounded by others who COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND what you're going through.