I've noticed that the large proportion of the IBS sufferers here are female, which I found rather surprising. I'm an 18 year old male, and I've been suffering from IBS for about 6 years.
The first 5 years weren't TOO bad, because it was just diaherra. about 3 or 4 times a week, I'd have an uncontrollable need to go to the toilet with 'projectile' runs. Usually I'll have to go 2 to 4 times, which isn't so bad, although during the first 'movement' I could spend 20+ minutes on the toilet.
However, this problem wasn't huge. It was something I just managed. The 30 minutes bus rides every morning (when my bowels were at their worst) were torture, but I got by. Quite often I had to make a mad dash for the school toilets (ICK!), but I always got there on time. And I performed excellently in my last year of high school.
All that changed when I had a nasty stomach bug/virus in January this year. Projectile vomiting, bad diaherra, fever. Even after I recovered from the bug/virus, it took months from my stomach to revert back to 'normality'. During those months, I suffered constant nausea, and some stomach pain. Even once it was back to normality, I still had the occasional problem. Happily enough, my bowels seemed to settle down as well.
Happy with the way things were going, on got another stomach bug in June. No vomiting, very little diaherra, but extremely bad nausea + stomach discomfort, which while it has 'faded', is still with me constantly, and driving me insane. Sometimes it flares up, and other times it dies down, but is still in the background. The diaherra is also back. The specialists say 'post-infectious irritable bowel', and give me the same lame pills which haven't worked in the past.
Anyway, early this morning (4am) I woke up, and I am quite sure that I have another stomach bug! (Not has bad as the first two, though, thank god. I should be able to kick it in a day or two, although I hate to think of the 'aftershock'). How can I tell the difference between my normal problem, and a bug? Well, I have a fever, more severe nausea, and my diaherra WAS very bad, and has turned to almost clear fluid, something which never happens normally, even when I have those 'telltale' severe cramps. Thankfully it's stopped about about 12 hours. In fact, it reminds me of when I took that horrible 'FLEET' stuff for a colonoscopy. *shudders*. The FLEET packet specifically said it gives you the runs for 3 hours, but I had them for 15 hours. Talk about false advertising!!!
I noticed that quite a few IBS sufferers here suffer from constant nausea. Have you done anything to help treat it?
Also, how many stomach bugs a year do people here get? Three attacks of a gastro bug/virus in a year is quite high in my history. The last time I had a severe attack of gastro before this year was when I was about 7.
These problems have been so frustrating. I'm nervous about what I eat (is it contaminated? OMG, have I heated that up enough to kill the bacteria!?) People show very little understanding, especially specialists. They just give me pills which don't work, and then brush me off saying "You've just got a bit of IBS". I've taken intermission from university after performing well up until June (I stuck my mid-year exams out, and got excellent results). I'm back home now, and feel defeated. My mother is very patient with me, and is one of the few who really seems to empathize and understand what I am going through. I feel like I am a burden on her.
Then I am angry when some people say, "Oh, just a stomach ache is the reason you gave up?" Yeah, just a stomache ache, which is with me 24 hours a day, every day.
"Oh look, there's a paraplegic. And you think that you're sick!" Yeah, wouldn't a paraplegic be flattered if someone pointed at a patient suffering bone cancer and proclaimed in their pious, holier-than-thou voice "And you think you have it bad!". How understanding...
I definitely appreciate that there are people worse off than me, but that shouldn't be used to belittle my problems. They may not be the biggest problems in the world, but they are MY problems, which sort of makes them #1 priority. When I'm crapting my guts out, I'm not thinking about paraplegics!
BTW, intermission does not = giving up, I hope to go back to uni next year.
I have read many posts here, and I really have noticed that many just don't understand what we go through, whether they are the average layperson, or worse, a doctor. We are not talking about one episode of diaherra and nausea. We are talking about day after day, month after month, with no end in sight. It affects your quality of life, and really restricts your freedom (how many IBS sufferers here have gone a long trip? It's just not worth the trouble!) I've had to take a break from uni and leave friends who I will probably never see again (many are overseas students). I'm planning on going back to uni next year, but I just don't know how I'll cope.
I have read people here with similiar conditions on this boards, especially wives who have to go to work, look after the children, the husband, the house, the dog, etc. etc., and I just don't know how they do. I guess if you have to do it, you will, no matter what state you are in. Although I find that men tend to be physically stronger, women tend to be tougher both physically and emotionally. My mother is the dictionary definition of tough!
Sorry if I sound like I'm ranting. I've actually been mulling over this for a while, and just needed to tell someone, even if it is anonymous gals on a forum! In fact, I feel pretty close to you all since quite a few of us suffer from the same symptoms, and are forced to deal with insensitivity, over and over again. The same ineptness from doctors. The same inconveniences.
Oh well, in the end, what can you do? Just stick it out. Suffering is a part of the human condition.