new to the forum....desperate

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/16/2008 9:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi All,
I was first conflicted with what I would later discover to be IBS when I was in grade 7...we were having a garage sale, in the midst of selling our home, and I was hit with what at the time was the most severe attack I had ever known. It felt like my bowels were being twisted and pulled...I couldn't move, couldn't breath, and had to wait for what felt like an eternity for the feeling to pass...generally when these attacks hit me I'll throw whatever I can find just as some means of trying to deal with the pain....
I had numerous attacks throughout highschool, but always sporadic and never constant....rotating between diarrea and constipation...
After I completed University I went over to Korea for a year to teach English...I have been home since mid December. When I was in Korea, I became very ill. Obviously a spicier diet and environmental factors...I was diagnosed with gastritis in korea after everything I consumed would run right out of me in whole form...I lost ten pounds between May and Sept and would constantly be running to the washroom in the midst of trying to teach classes....different issues with being overseas and there are communication barriers and I had numerous injections and pills that made my situation much worse (and I have no idea what it was I was taking)..It has now been almost one year of constant has really affected the quality of my life...with my partner (I rarely feel the desire to be intimate because I'm in constant discomfort)...I never use to have such bad nerves but it seems with worsening of IBS my nerves have become shot...I get sweaty cold palms, shake, my face will twitch...anxious....I wake up every morning in pain and have to run to the bathroom...
when I do manage to have a more solid movement I have noticed it has a predominate hook to it and not sure if this is from my bowel being contorted...
I turn 25 next month and am currently working towards a career as a healing arts therapist....I've always been motivated and ambitious but find I have become increasingly reluctant and excited about things...sometimes I feel, however dramatic it seems, that my body is beyond repair...
I am a vegetarian and have always been particular about what I consume, but my ability to self-regulate was compromised when i went overseas...
I know my father has a wheat allergy and I'm not sure if this could be a factor with me...i have an ultrasound and an upper gi with a small bowel follow through at the end of the month...I had a stomach endoscopy in korea and was disganosed with acid reflux and ibs...
My doctor percsribed celexa yesterday...and antidepressant...
I found this site informative
but am really at odds with taking them. I am in no way saying they are wrong to take, or that it isn't the right treatment method for someone else, but I'm not a fan of taking drugs period because they always seem to make things worse. I asked my doctor, if antidepressants help your brain produce seretonin, wouldn't the body no longer see a need to produce it itself? he said this wasn't the case, that they help regulate how fast the bpdy breaks it down as oppossed to create it..
but some sites on the internet claim otherwise so not sure which information is viable...
I contacted a naturopathic doctor today...and have been reading a book called EATING ALIVE II which I highly recommend..
it's just....sometimes certain foods really hurt me and other times they don't affect me at all...
I guess I feel like a bit of a head case since the major health issues I have had in my life always seem to be deemed psychological....I just wish there were a way for me to feel normal again without the aid of more drugs...
I just started taking it today and I already want to stop...

does anyone have any suggestions about what I should do?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 4/16/2008 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   

Welcome to the forums!  You will find great suggestions here and lots of support!

I understand your reluctance to take mediciations, especially the psychotropic drugs.  Many folks who have found these drugs helpful need only take a very small dose so the effect on the patient is not as extreme as if you were being treated for depression.  I don't think I buy the theory that, by taking these drugs, you will render the body incapable of producing them on it's own.  As it stands, the theory is that your body is CURRENTLY not producing what it needs.  Either way, it seems like you wind up in the same dilema - no seretonin.  It reminds me of the argument about laxatives.  For the many who can not have a bm on their own, taking a laxative is going to be a necessity, even if that means it may render the bowel incompetent on it's own. If the gut isn't working, what choice does one have?

After 3 decades of dealing with IBS, I can testify that ALL treatment options only last temporarily.  I have tried them all.  Some provide relief for a time and then quit.  Same goes for diet.  I might find something that "works" for me, incorporate it into my daily meal plan, and find that after one week, it is no longer effective.  It is the nature of IBS.  It is not "curable", only "treatable". 

I completely empathize with this statement:

I guess I feel like a bit of a head case since the major health issues I have had in my life always seem to be deemed psychological
Please understand that your IBS did not originate "in your head".  You did not cause your condition.  I'll give you some examples.
I have IBS
I have chronic arrhythmia, PVC variety
I have psoriasis
I used to have panic attacks
All these "disorders" have physical roots which are exacerbated by stress and anxiety.  I could argue (and have!) that most of my stress and anxiety are the RESULT of these disorders!  After all, if I didn't have to worry about bowel explosions or sudden heart attack, I would probably have less stress!  One of the best things we can do for ourselves is find ways to relax about our symptoms.  And, of course, that is the hardest thing to do!  I have found these message boards enormously beneficial.  They don't eliminate my symptoms, but they do make me feel less anxious about them.
Hope that helps!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 4/17/2008 6:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Im really sorry... you went through so much stuff in the past couple years! I am only 16 and I just have pain everyday and blahblah, but You seem very detirmined to do what you want to do, and that is so great. I try everyday to be detirmined to go to dance and school and I hvae so much I want to do in the future, so I hope I get better or something.
The tests you are taking soon are good ones.. i had them, and it proved negative, but they can tell you alot, liek if you have psyealiac disease and all that.
If you think wheat could be a problem, go on a gluten/wheat free diet for a while and see if there are any changes.
Good luck and i hope you get better, and feel better! Maybe a psycologist would help you, instead of the antidepressents.. i have been on them also and I also went to a psycologist which helped:)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 4/17/2008 9:33 AM (GMT -7)   
It is interesting what you say about foods not really helping or exacerbating the symptoms. I have noticed, having kept a log for a while, that some days I can eat certain foods (grapes are a prime example - love 'em!) and have no difficulty at all and other days a very similar if not virtually identical diet seems to be far less well tolerated by the prima donna gut.

I also am vegetarian and intend to remain so but don't know if this is the best diet for an IBS sufferer.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1451
   Posted 4/17/2008 2:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I assume you have been tested for bacterial infections by stool sample. Even though you had some problem before you went to Korea you could have been more prone to pick up something over there.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/17/2008 5:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I would suggest that you have the tests re-run in the US. The problem is not the quality of health care oversees but rather that most Asian countries do not have digestive disorders such as crohns and colitis. They may not know what they are looking for. Here you stand a better chance of getting the correct diagnosis if you have IBD.
26 Year old married female law student.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid.  For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn.  I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13.  I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium.  Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I alos take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 4/18/2008 11:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm glad you are getting an ultrasound and small bowel follow-through, but like Fitzy said, it might be a good idea to get the tests re-run in the U.S. Your GI may want to anyway - sometimes they like to see things for themselves with the scopes!

It is believed that most SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) work not by altering the amount of serotonin that your body produces, but making the serotonin that IS produced more "available," so to speak. I have been on anti-depressants for five years and am not sure where I would be without them. It might - just might - be worth a shot.
Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Please always remember to consult your medical professional regarding your medical questions; this forum is intended to provide patient-to-patient support. Although some of us have healthcare backgrounds, we cannot diagnose or treat patients on the board.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1451
   Posted 4/19/2008 1:21 PM (GMT -7)   
FitzyK23 said...
I would suggest that you have the tests re-run in the US. The problem is not the quality of health care oversees but rather that most Asian countries do not have digestive disorders such as crohns and colitis. They may not know what they are looking for. Here you stand a better chance of getting the correct diagnosis if you have IBD.

I though that was very interesting about the Asian countries as they have the highest incidence of stomach cancer in the world. You would think they would know all about intestinal problems.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/24/2008 5:48 PM (GMT -7)   
wow. Thank you so much for all of the responses.
I actually had an appointment with a naturopath...had some blood work done to test for food allergies...Based on her deductions from everything I informed her of (which was virtually everything) she thinks I have some serious food allergies and parasites...I an on a strict gluten, eggs, increased dose of walnut to kill the parasites, and biogest to help digestion...The blood work won't actually verify or disregard anything for another 4 weeks but in the mean time I'll follow any orders for some relief...I've only changed my diet for a few days now but I already feel so much better and for the first time in ages I haven't had to run to the washroom during a meal....
So...there is hope that after I get everything balanced within my digestive tract again I can reincorporate some foods but that still can't be attempted for at least six months and even then some things may not work...there's also a chance the results will come back and I won't have any allergies..I still have tests at the beginning of next month....
and least as far as Koreans are concerned they deal with a lot of stomach cancers and digestive tract issues...gastritis etc...
has a lot to do with spice intake and soju :) gah!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1451
   Posted 4/25/2008 7:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I also understand the MSG which is used quite extensively can be very harmful for people regarding circulatory problems. I don't know that for a fact but a neighbor that spent a long time there told me that.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/3/2008 5:12 PM (GMT -7)   
My naturopath informed me that the reason certain foods affect you one day and not another is because it can take up to several days for the body to show the you could eat a veggie burger with wheat bun on tuesday night and not feel the effects from it until thursday morning....
I wasn't aware how serious celiac disease can be....
I wasn't aware gluten was in msg until last night and I happened to have a stir fry for dinner and used some...needless to say today hasn't been pleasant...
most sites say testing isn't always accurate and chances are if you think you have a gluten intolerance...then you do....and more so chances are most people have the same issues and don't portray any symptoms..
The wheat used originally had a much lower content of gluten....gluten content has been increased immensely to make fluffier bread...
Must be good for you!
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