Hi there! Welcome!
I think we can all relate to your story. I've been dealing with IBS for over 20 years and I know in the beginning, when I was still in my 20's, I felt the way you do. It's certainly not a "glamorous" disease or disorder, huh? Not one that's very easy to discuss or disclose. Not exactly a "water cooler" conversation starter.
I too have found great comfort through my faith. I believe that all suffering has some redemptive quality to it and that good can come from hardship. This sometimes crippling "syndrome" has forced me to do things I might not have done otherwise and,for the most part, all those things are positive.
Friends that lacked compassion and empathy eventually got weeded out. Jobs that were too stressful were jettisoned for better, more lifestyle friendly, employment. Hopelessness and depression forced me to continue to seek help in alternative treatments which have been quite helpful. Frustration and embarrassment compelled me to talk about my problem and confide in friends who could understand. Necessity forced me to get over my inhibitions about "pooping" in public places.
As a result of all these things I now have a small but wonderful group of friends who always come to me when they have tummy troubles! I have a wonderful job that brings me great joy and zero stress (and complete access to private toilets!). I have a great naturopathic doctor who not only spends inordinate amounts of time with me discussing my tummy, but really "gets it" as well. I found these message boards where I can come for support and encouragement, as well as info on all the new "remedies" people have discovered.
You have to try and change the way you view everything when you have IBS. I know how difficult this can be, especially when you are young and trying to make a good life for yourself. I pray constantly for the strength to accept this gracefully. I try to focus on all the many blessings in my life. I try to spend time with people who are much, much worse off. And when I am really down in the dumps and feeling like I can't go on, I curl up on the couch with my heating pad and cry! But now, after all this time, I know that the bad days will pass and the good will return.
Post Edited (jtaurus) : 9/27/2007 4:03:05 PM (GMT-6)
I am a medical student and am 28 years old. I have had diarrhea usually 10+ times a day for the past several years. Also an abdominal surgery, a visit to the Mayo Clinic, etc. I was discouraged a lot of the time because I was told that my innards were "abnormal" (i.e., things were there that shouldn't have been, like white blood cells, occult blood, etc.) but no one could tell me what "exactly" was wrong.
All I can say is this: your doctors have worked their TAILS off and they are not idiots no matter what anyone else says. You definitely have to be critical, so if you don't like your doctor's style, by all means find another doctor. But even just SIX weeks into my first (of four) years of medical school, I can tell you that I feel completely overwhelmed, completely helpless, like a lunatic. Depressed and moronic. Still having diarrhea just as much as usual, despite my constant proximity to any doctor imagineable. I hope you don't feel alone in this.
I am almost 50 so it's been a few decades that I've been dealing with this. I could tell you were young because I remember the concerns I had in my twenties regarding IBS and they almost always had to do with "embarrassment" and relationship issues. I don't worry about those things anymore but that may have more to do with the aging process than IBS!
I agree with Sarita about the docs. I believe in my heart that they are trying to do all they can to help those of us who struggle with this "syndrome". The more I learn and read about the complexities of the digestive system, the more I am amazed that anyone "works" properly! So many things can go wrong! I worked with doctors for decades and many of the treatments that work for others did not work for me. There could be many reasons why but honestly, some cases are just treatment resistant. It's really no different than any other disease or disorder. Chemotherapy may cure some people's cancer and not others. Why should IBS be any different?
I've seen many people helped with conventional medicine and I would encourage you to continue to seek medical help until you find a doc who is willing to listen and understand how this is impacting your life. A GI specialist is the way to go, in my opinion, as they are very familiar with our complaints and more knowledgeable about the current treatments.
There are many threads on here that detail treatments that have been effective for people with all different symptoms. I work with a naturopathic doctor because I have exhausted all the medical doctors and GI specialists in my area and have had no success. But there are treatments available today that I haven't tried (Amitiza, for one) that some folks have had good results from.