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My Unfinished IBS Story – Geek Turned Athlete

My Unfinished IBS Story

I have been wanting to start writing this post for months, but new things kept happening at my doctor’s office. Plus, who wants to share details about their BM’s over the internet? It is embarrassing, but so many people have these issues.  We NEED to talk about them.  I’ve been trying to get my digestive health issues under control for YEARS. Thank goodness, I’m seeing a new doctor next week. I’m hoping to share my healing journey with you in the future. :)

After I moved to Tucson in 2006, my IBS-C issues began. I’ve always had a bloated stomach problem, although it was not a daily thing growing up. I mentioned the chronic constipation to my PCM then who prescribed me colace. She told me I wasn’t getting enough fiber and water, so I made sure to bump that up in addition to the colace (even though my BM’s were more like IBS-D). I’ve never been one to take more pills than I really need (besides birth control), but I took them anyway. After taking them for 1 week and feeling worse than before I started taking them, I stopped. I remember being so constipated after 9 days at one time, and being so desperate that I ate an entire bag of prunes and drank a big glass of coffee, and NOTHING happened. The acne also started during this time. I had never broken out or had cystic acne before this so dealing with acne for the first time at 23 years old was rough! I think I must have tried at least 10 different skincare lines that year in an attempt to fix the raging pimples all over my face.

The hubs and I moved to Germany the very beginning of 2008 which is where I saw my first GI doc for my issues. After he performed a colonoscopy (and literally tested me for NOTHING else), he told me nothing was wrong with me besides a few internal hemorrhoids that were “normal” from my constipation. He also sent me to a nutritionist to have my diet analyzed for fiber content. The nutritionist said that I was getting more than enough fiber, and he didn’t understand why I was having problems. Both the nutritionist and the GI doc said that it must be stress. I remember sitting in my GI doc’s office literally crying my eyes out while he told me nothing was wrong with me.

After that experience, I started researching online of what I could do to help myself. I went GF for a week and came out of this mental fog that I had no idea that I had even been in. My headaches and migraines went away for the most part. My BM’s seemed more frequent at first. Slowly but surely the constipation/bloating/ stomach pain reared its ugly head again, and every time I blamed cross-contamination even though I was very meticulous about it.  The stomach pain got so bad sometimes that I would just curl up in a ball in bed, crying, trembling, and trying to breathe the pain out. One night it was particularly bad, and my husband was pleading with me to let him take me to the emergency room. I declined. What were they going to do? Give me more colace?

We moved to Spokane in 2010 where I intentionally didn’t mention my stomach issues that were taking over my life because I didn’t need a doctor to tell me it was “just stress.” I did switch to Yasmin b/c it is the only (at least what I’ve been told) birth control on the market that can treat hormonal related acne. It cleared up my acne within a month.

In 2012 and 2013, I started doing more and more research about diet and anything else that could be causing my IBS symptoms. I even went paleo for 6 months taking all kinds of supplements to heal my gut after I moved to San Antonio last year. The bloating went down just a little, the constipation issues got better, then went back to the same 5-9 day transit time, my energy went up just a little, and I didn’t get colds or the flu during that time.

However, after all of this I was still fatigued more than I thought I should be, and the thought of turning 30 and feeling like I was 80 was unacceptable. I spent every minute of free time researching IBS cures and causes.  I had also developed anxiety about going out to eat at a restaurant or even a friend’s BBQ. Even if I ate 100% Paleo, I would still get bloated, and somedays doubled over in teeth clenching pain. I put my anxiety aside about seeing another doctor for my issues and made an appointment. This was taking over my life, and I couldn’t handle it anymore!!

With my scholarly articles and newfound digestive knowledge in tow, I went to see my PCM with my list of health issues. She proceeded to me it wasn’t possible that I could have SIBO, it was basically my fault that I didn’t have sex drive (yes folks, she said that!), and there was nothing wrong with my thyroid or any other hormones (even though I had hormonal related cystic acne…hmm). She also said that I may never find a cure for my digestive issues, and I should learn to “deal with it.” Nice, huh? At least when she looked over my last GI doc’s notes (from Germany), she recognized that he could have tested me for more issues instead of only doing a colonoscopy. Thankfully, she still referred me to a GI doc.

The first time I saw my new GI doc, she spent an hour with me. She told me that I wasn’t crazy. She believed me that I was having these issues. It felt so good to talk to a doctor who was willing to help me!! She assured me that she had about 30 different tests/procedures that we could do to figure out my issues. She said that if I continued to see her, I would have to “play by her game.” She even appeased me with hydrogen/methane breath tests for SIBO and fructose malabsorption which both came back positive. Despite the fact that I seemed to know more about these tests than she did, I was still on board with her treatment at least in the beginning. I know that it is not possible for a doctor to know everything! However, she never addressed these tests besides giving me riflaximin and neomycin (10 day supply) for the SIBO. While I was taking the antibiotics for the SIBO, I bought The New IBS Solution and discovered that SIBO is a symptom of a range of other issues. When I asked her about what we would do if I got SIBO again (since I had read that it is often reoccurring if you don’t address the root cause), she said she would just prescribe more antibiotics.

Her “game” included keeping a “poop journal” for 1 week while taking colace and miralax. I felt incredibly ill that week with no poops to write about. My stomach was so bloated and painful that I didn’t even leave the house that week.  She also insisted that I start eating “normally.” She insisted that I should eat gluten because my celiac test came back negative, and she was worried that I would miss out on nutrients and fiber.  After being gluten free for 3 years, I ate gluten approximately 7 times over the course of a couple months. Every single time I ate it, the very next day I had a horrible migraine headache. I experienced brain fog, bloating, and stomach pain. After experiencing my symptoms of a gluten intolerance on several occasions, I decided against eating anymore gluten. I had also added back all the grains and legumes that I had cut out when I went paleo. I felt worse than our first visit together.  Those things are out of my diet now as well.

Her “game” also meant seeing another doctor for an anorectal manometry and a defecography. She said that I may have an issue where my internal sphincter tightens while my external sphincter relaxes when I try to poop. I’ve never had an issue actually pooping when I need to go. This clearly wasn’t the issue, but I’m not a doctor so I went to see the specialty doctor for the initial exam regarding this a few weeks ago. He performed a rectal exam and an anal sigmoidoscopy. It was very painful (this is NOT normal), gave me nausea, and made my anxiety worse regarding seeing any doctor for my issues. The specialty doc said, “You don’t really seem like a candidate for this procedure, but if this is what your GI doc wants, then we will do it.” After getting home that day and experiencing bleeding from my rectum, I was not happy. I had a week until my actual procedures.

During that week, not only was I sore, I started thinking… I am not comfortable with this. My GI doctor has not talked to me about diet at all. I could have a sensitivity to a random food, and not even know it.  She didn’t even address my positive fructose malabsorption test. If the specialty doctor who performs these anal tests all the time doesn’t think I need this somewhat invasive (to me, at least) procedure, why in the hell am I going to get it???? After that, I decided that I would not go forward with the other rectal procedures. In my mind, my GI doc was going through of a list of random tests to try that her computer suggested with no real thought or reason. Logically, I’m sure there was some thought in there.  I’m not mad at her, and I know she is a really intelligent person.  She truly wanted to help me, but it just wasn’t working for me. It was apparent to me that I needed to try another route.

And you know what? I don’t really blame any of them. Relating gut health to the rest of the body is a new thing. If I didn’t take immunology this past semester, I wouldn’t have questioned my treatment so much (delayed IgG sensitivities, etc.). It is impossible to keep up on all the new data as a doctor especially if you are overworked seeing a million patients a day.  I’m interested in treating the cause, and not just the symptoms.  For some reason conventional medicine hasn’t quite caught on yet to that mindset, at least in my experience.  I’m interested in science-based medicine, and at the same time, I want a more holistic approach.  It is worth a try.  I’m kinda sick of military medicine.  I’m not saying all military doctors are horrible.  I just know that I’m not crazy, and it isn’t “just stress.”

I made an appointment to see a new doctor in Austin about an hour and fifteen minutes from my house next week. She is an MD, but she practices functional medicine.  She will be running all sorts of urine, blood, and stool tests on me, and she knows her stuff! I’ve watched all of her youtube videos describing the tests, listened to all of her podcasts, and read most of her blog entries. According to her past clients, she is often the “end of the road” for most of them. I guess I wanted to do my research on her before I tried another doctor. I’m trying not to get too excited because everything that I have tried before hasn’t really panned out the way I wanted it to, but I can’t help it!  I want to be optimistic that this will not control my life anymore.

There was a another point to me sharing my story with you besides to just share my journey.  Be your own patient advocate.  If you aren’t comfortable with something, don’t do it!!!!!  If I seriously would have felt in my heart that I needed to have those procedures done, I would have, BUT there are such people as “Scope Happy” docs.  I’ve heard other doctors talk about them.  Get a second opinion.  This is your health.  I’ve been discouraged over the years, but I keep trying new things.  I’m annoyingly persistent which I think comes in handy sometimes. 😉 I hope by me sharing my story with you, you might find some inspiration if you have health issues that need to be adequately addressed. 😉 

Current updates on my IBS Story:

First Visit with a Functional Medicine Doc

Test Results Part 1

Test Results Part 2

{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Alicia June 12, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I am so sorry you are still having all these issues! How frustrating! I definitely agree about being your own advocate, doing research, and following your gut instincts. That’s crazy that the most recent doctor told you to go back on gluten and didn’t follow up on the other tests. I hope this next doctor you see is THE ONE and you are able to get answers and solutions. I had some health issues a few years back and dr after dr just wanted to Rx different things for it. I finally paid completely out of pocket to go see a particular doctor and it was worth every penny. I hope you have the same success. Keep us posted!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 12, 2013, 5:46 pm

      First of all, thank you for commenting!! I’m happy that at least one person commented so I don’t feel so awkward about posting! lol. Your story sounds similar to mine. The new doctor is out of our network which means I’m paying out of pocket!! At this point, it is worth it though if it works!

      Reply
  • Alison June 12, 2013, 6:12 pm

    I’m just curious if anyone you’ve seen has opinions about oral contraception being related? UpToDate has an ominous statement in risks and s/e of oral estrogen/progestin contraceptives, and this is something that has interested me for a while: “Inflammatory bowel disease — The literature is conflicting with regard to a possible role of OCs in predisposing to the development of inflammatory bowel disease [140]. Given the uncertainty, it is reasonable to continue the OC in women with inflammatory bowel disease who are doing well [140]. However, cessation should be considered in those women who remain symptomatic despite conventional drug therapy.” The studies on pubmed that I found were limited to IBD rather than IBS and rather small. I wish there was more info on it.
    Good luck to you!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 12, 2013, 6:20 pm

      I actually brought this up to my last doc since I had heard about oral contraceptives possibly causing those issues in a medically related podcast. She completely dismissed it. I’ve been on them since I was 17. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was one of my issues. I would like to get off yasmin, but I don’t want to have to deal with my acne coming back. I know for a fact that my new doc does not like oral contraceptives. That will definitely be part of my conversation with my new doc next week.

      Reply
  • Tammy June 12, 2013, 6:31 pm

    Good for you for doing what you felt was right and for not letting the docs bully you. I was having throat issues and went to 4 different doctors before I got one that actually listened to me, and he was an allergist! The others all said I just had asthma. My brother had asthma so I know how that affects someone. Once I finally got my allergist to listen and take a look at my throat he was able to see the stenosis and referred me to the specialist. I truly think most doctors try their best but they really should be more open to what the patient is saying. Good luck with your next appointment!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 12, 2013, 6:50 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience. 😉 I can’t help but think that most people would have just settled with the first doctor that they went to. I know I did at first in 2008 because I didn’t know any better. I’m glad you were persistent!

      Reply
  • Maggs June 12, 2013, 8:12 pm

    I’ve had issues with this on and off and sometimes glutenfree helps, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll admit I haven’t seen any doctors because it’s never been persistent enough. Lately I’ve been taking a supplement called triphala powder and while there is very little written about it, what is written suggests it really helps with IBS. It’s a nasty tasting powder (you can get it in a pill, but it’s not as effective) you mix 1/2/-1 tsp with warm water and let it sit a few hours then drink it (morning & night). Just thought I’d pass it along. Hope you figure it out!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 13, 2013, 9:17 am

      Interesting!! Thanks for your suggestion. 😉 I will ask my new doc about it!

      Reply
  • Becky @ RunFunDone June 12, 2013, 11:18 pm

    I agree – this is stuff that we SHOULD be talking about. Or at least, as someone with a healthy living/running blog, I should write about it because it is totally running/health related.

    My problems are certainly not as extreme as yours, and are on the opposite side of the spectrum (loose, frequent BMs), but I went through 2 unhelpful doctors before taking matters into my own hands. One doctor said it was IBS and told me to eat more fiber. The other said it might be a food allergy, and took blood to run a RAST, but then didn’t run the RAST because my insurance wouldn’t cover it! After seeing him, I did an elimination diet. If I avoid sugary foods and gluten, I don’t have the problems. It was great to come up with a solution, but I only saw 2 doctors with no real procedures. I can only imagine how frustrated you are having gone through so much trying to find answers. Good luck!
    Becky @ RunFunDone recently posted..Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright

    Reply
    • Nicole June 13, 2013, 9:44 am

      I swear, if I get one more doctor who tells me to eat more fiber and drink more water, I will literally go insane!!!!!! I hear ya! And that is why the colace and the miralax didn’t work for me. That sucks that your insurance didn’t cover the RAST. I’m in the same boat now having to pay out of pocket. ;(

      Reply
  • Purelytwins June 13, 2013, 10:47 am

    Oh girl!!! HUGS!!

    First of all thinking of you and wishing you the best on this new healing journey. It can be so frustrating that no ones seems to really listen to you and just says your crazy! But you are not. We totally understand what you are going through.
    Keep researching and trying new things, eventually something will work.
    For us we do best with a low fiber diet as eating a lot of fiber did NOTHING for our constipation. Fiber can actually make things worse.
    We are still finding our balance, but things are a lot better! So do not give up.
    Another thing that has helped A LOT with constipation is magnesium!! We take around 700-1000 a day. Break it up, some in the morning, at lunch if needed, and before bed.

    Please contact us if you need anything!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 13, 2013, 12:18 pm

      Thanks girls!!! Yes, I’m finding that out about fiber. So annoying!! The one thing that I haven’t tried has been the magnesium. I’m planning on completely reviewing my whole treatment process at this clinic. Fingers crossed. 😉

      Reply
  • Marcy June 14, 2013, 5:31 am

    Been there with the excruciating cramps and bloating, irregular BMs (though thankfully not the long-lasting constipation). My first set of doc visits resulted in a discussion about gallbladder removal (!), and prescription for proton pump inhibitor antacids….nearly wound up in the hospital with the side effects. After lots of internet research I decided I was probably predisposed to reoccurring SIBO and/or Candida due to low stomach acid and poor digestion. I cut out sugars and glutenous foods, and started drinking a diluted apple cider vinegar solution before every meal. Worked beautifully. I still have to keep up that routine, and have problems within a few days of ‘falling off the wagon’ with the ACV and/or excess sugar. Now my medical/health dilemma is severe anemia. Doctor has no interest in figuring out why, just says take iron. With my history, I feel like a ‘just to be safe’ colonoscopy is in order. Never had one before and I sort about something more serious or chronic. Good luck at your appointment!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 14, 2013, 11:43 am

      Thanks for sharing! Yikes! I hope you get your severe anemia figured out. I haven’t done any research on that so I have no idea! All I know is that there are lots of “moving parts” within the body, and one thing could be affecting another thing and so on. The body is so much more complicated than our compartmentalized medical system seems to treat it sometimes.

      Reply
  • lindsay June 14, 2013, 6:51 am

    You sound EXACTLY like me. And i even had to do therapy on my colon. yes. Been there, done that, ALL OF IT. but my problem was the opposite. too much poop. We talk soon, k?!

    Reply
    • lindsay June 14, 2013, 6:52 am

      p.s. I know all about Dr. Meyers. And i know two nutritionist who worked for her. I’ll tell you the scoop

      Reply
      • Nicole June 14, 2013, 11:40 am

        Excited to see you! I’ll text you Wednesday to see how your afternoon looks. 😉

        Reply
  • Nick June 22, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I have had issues with mental fog, feeling more tired than I should, both when exercising and just day to day when working for a few years. It takes time (and a lot of reading/research on the Internet etc) but slowly I have been making progress and am through the worst of it. A few things I found helped the most (and I have tried a lot) were Adaptogens (TianChi) for balancing hormones, D-Ribose (for energy / recovery / brain fog), and drinking less fluids (mainly water in my case).

    I have experimented with many different diets (low carb, high fat, no gluten, no dairy etc) and felt the changes I made in terms of food helped a bit, but drinking less water which I only just discovered a week ago made a significant difference immediately. Despite spending years trying different diets modifying what I was drinking (and the possibility I was just drinking too much water) never crossed my mind to try until due to diarrhea (from something I was eating) I significantly cut back (simply because every time I tried to drink it came back out even though I was still thirsty). I found my general day to day energy level, brain fog, and energy when running improved quite a bit. I am now generally drinking no water but have something flavoured instead – apple/orange juice, coconut water and even so try to limit them as best I can as well. In terms of water I found this article very interesting http://180degreehealth.com/2012/02/how-much-water-should-you-drink

    Reply
  • D June 24, 2013, 11:13 pm

    Okay, so I’ve followed your blog for a while and amazingly admire your sense of adventure (Germany,…wow!) plus your amazing fitness. Me, I’m prob a lot older (32) and the last few years of my life have been “wasted” on this GI stuff…we sound kinda similar…well, my issues differ,but do appear to be some common threads . Me…anxiety, some depression (cause vs. effect who knows), stress, constipation bigtime (3 days now and nada), doctors had said not eating enough or not eating the right things (possibly so) but I’ve been so stubborn the last few years I haven’t tried…much…my energy is at all time low (orthoexic ups and downs), weight is low (very) yet I ironically emotionally OVEREAT very late at night every night (no joke)…only exercise is slow walks and about 10 mins of half-hearted bodyweight exercises. Joints aches, body fatigue, bony, no energy, look rotten :) And the constipation is NOT cool. I also saw the “purely twins” journey…I have NO idea what to do anymore (paleo, vegan for at least a while, say to heck with it and eat anything and get off this stress train and obsessing/worrying about it, what I don’t know)…was going to go back to a walk-in-clinc for a random doctor and request a) stool sample…just a basic one? , b) check for candida, c) check for SIBO (a previous doctor did a blood test to check for bacteria gut and came negative, but the breath one is better? ) …ugh so much to do and I live in Canada and awaiting a new health care card, so…I dunno…
    I’m kinda lost but want someone to tell me what to eat , ha…I saw on purely twins that they used a “wise diet elimination ” plan? I need solid specific meal plans…but I’m very simple, I tend to get extremely overwhelmed by complicated recipes or trendy ingredients (i’m basic) and need simple and efficient (best for my mind and body). I feel with all the emotional eating I first need to RESET my gut and clean it out (literally) before I could ever get it right…but I don’t want to lose weight and don’t know how to clean it out “right”.
    I KNOW everyone is different — but I’m open to ideas, perspectives, honest thoughts. Please email me. Luv your blog and think u are a champion for living life (unlike me) whilst going through this literal crap :) Seriously hope u will email. Hoping :)

    Reply
    • Nicole June 25, 2013, 10:04 am

      Honestly, it sounds like you need to look up and find a functional med doc in your area: http://www.functionalmedicine.org

      IBS can seriously take over one’s life, and I totally get it. 😉

      Also, if I were you, I would read the New IBS Solution and IBS Free at Last if you can’t get to a functional med doc right away. Those books should really help with a lot of your symptoms. Oh, and Practical Paleo!!! It is a MUST HAVE as far as I am concerned. It will give you straight up meal plans to follow plus supplements. Get that book!!!

      The thing with me is that I did go Paleo, felt a little better, went low FODMAP (which you will learn about from IBS Free at Last), felt a little better, but it didn’t cure me. I knew something else was up. I would seriously go see a functional med doc to help you with this b/c you could have a thyroid disorder, etc which you cannot cure through the standard Paleo approach. It may need to be tweaked. Good luck with this whole thing. I know how discouraging it can get. It has caused me depression and anxiety as well! I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel now with my new doc. You will find an answer to all of this! :)

      Reply
      • D June 25, 2013, 1:21 pm

        Thanks!! How are you eating now? THAT Is the problem with me…are u eating according to plans in “IBS free at last” or “IBS solution” or “practical paleo” ? I”M UNDERWEIGHT….docs did BASIC thyroid testing and nothing….I hear that “alternative doctors ” are better BUT I’d also have to pay for them and trust me….MONEY is a huge problem that is way too much in the way
        If you have 5-10 tips I can do RIGHT NOW to help the constipation (this constipation oye) then tell me! Meal plans samples? websites with them? practical paleo worries me…isn’t that “complex’…I need to eat simple and COOK simple (like I barely can boil something, ha, no joke),,,,and I cannot cannot lose more weight…other than slow walks, that’s all I do. I feel I need an HONEST cleanse, but can’t bear to do a juice cleanse and not sure what to do…(too scared and cant’ afford colonics)….I know janetha at “meals and moves” deals with constipation for another reason…a “Lazy colon” or something…yes, anxiety, depression, I don’t know if my orthorexia came FIrst OR after cause it causes like a “food anxiety/phobia”…yet I “binge” very late each night :(
        I know “purely raw twins” did stuff to heal their guts, ..not sure…
        I saw “cotter crunch’s” comment above…can you tell me more about that??
        If I can’t see a functional med doc (money) what testing can u suggest off top of head to ask regular doc? Thanks!!

        Reply
        • d June 25, 2013, 1:31 pm

          p.s…like practical paleo will say YES to saturated fat (in coconut oil, ghee, butter) YET “ibs solution” says NO to eggs and saturated fat….”ibs free at last” says yes to rice, etc…see? their all different :(

          – i’ll hopefully see a regular old walk-in doc next week and ask for a “breath test” I guess? maybe a stool sample? not sure? if I get referred to GI doc that could take months

          Reply
  • D June 25, 2013, 7:15 pm

    One other thing…is this Myers? : http://www.austinultrahealth.com/shop/the-myers-way-your-guide-to-ultrahealth-e-book-2-2/ and if so will her e-book help me out A LOT you think???

    I can’t imagine giving up eggs…I haven’t eaten greek yogurt in 5 days and miss it dearly…its hard cause see I’ve no energy, hormones are totally messed up for a long time now, no longer exercise (my gosh, its been years and I used to be awesome runner/athlete), and I’m only 5 feet 2, but VERY low weight (well, not “very”…but …I won’t say out loud unless you didn’t mind …

    I don’t think I can afford yet another ND…thing is that I crave and eat a lot of fruit (now I have no dairy!!! and its hot and i’m so dehydrated that fruit calls my name…i’d love to know what the heck u eat…I’ve always shied away from grains — though I do love rice cakes –and beans out of fear (and no exercise)…I do eat high fat…not vegan at all…i’m trying to find a naturopath that will help me at a VERY reduced rate, but no response yet and even if I DO find one, i’m afraid it won’t be the “right” one you know? like one that isn’t in “this ” area….I live in southern, Ontario, Canada…if your doc knows anyone :)
    in meantime, tell me your thoughts on her e-book if possible ….thanks muchly Nicole. I super admire your strength and for your athletic abilities…I really dont’ know how u do it..truly.

    Reply
    • Nicole June 26, 2013, 1:19 pm

      Honestly, you need to do what is right for you. I took what I needed from all 3 books that I suggested to you and made it fit to what I felt better eating.

      Did you happen to see my post about seeing a functional medicine doc for the first time?

      http://geekturnedathlete.com/2013/06/initial-visit-with-a-functional-medicine-doctor/

      At the bottom, I posted links to videos that Dr. Myers put up regarding the different types of testing that she does. Maybe you can watch those, and talk to your doctors about those same tests.

      Reply
  • Diane August 29, 2013, 1:24 am

    :( be strong, wishing you all the best.
    I had plenty of medical issues over the years, all managed to get better, but reuires so much fighting, i sometimes wonder if it’s worth it. Then my husband and kids remind me that YES it does :) Keep fighting!!
    Diane recently posted..Contraceptive Pill: the guide

    Reply
  • Chris September 12, 2013, 1:03 am

    Nice to see your info about IBS, it’s nice to know other people go through this too!

    I’ve had acid reflux since 21 (stuffed up nose since ~14 from bashing it into the side of a pool), but when I hit 29, my acid reflux went crazy, and I was getting sick all the time. I tried a bunch of different things- prilosec got rid of it, but then I started getting heart palpitations… Tried “natural” stuff – hydrochloric acid pills (to increase stomach acid), enzymes, mastic gum (if candida), and then wound up feeling like I was having a heart attack anytime I ate for 2 weeks. Then it became IBS… and the acid reflux went down, but I could no longer digest food…

    So I’ve again tried everything since then- the IBS dr. did do a colonoscopy+endoscopy, nothing definite, but have trouble swallowing…

    Haven’t really figured out much, aside from it seems to change constantly. One natural dr had a good “hypothesis”, that when the intestine lining was/ is inflamed, some of the food particles get through, and the white blood cells attack them, making you sensitive to those foods.

    Mine changes all the time- before it turned to full blown IBS, a year before I lost the ability to digest avocados. Then eggs, so I thought it might be a fat digestion problem (+fatty foods made acid reflux go crazy). After I got IBS- everything gave me ‘D’- even dry toast. Milk was about the only thing that would bring things back to somewhat solid.

    I read about a lady that actually has lyme disease, with symptoms very similar to IBS (brain fog, stomach cramps, feeling weak), and had “cured” herself with raw milk – and if you think about it, milk is probably the most basic thing to digest- since when you’re a baby it’s the only thing you can, so drinking primarily that, you might be able to “baby” your digestive system. Also, pro-biotics are supposed to help, and almost all of them are milk derived.

    So drinking primarily milk got me to the point where some digestion was going on, but after awhile it stopped working. I tried no carbs/ gluten, but didn’t make a difference. I cannot digest legumes anymore, salad, ect. My stomach has gotten a little less fickle, and I can actually have some food routine that doesn’t give me straight ‘D’ with every meal.

    I now eat asparagus and eggs in the morning (which I can now digest again), and basically green beans and some kind of meat other times, and even though nothing ever looks “sausage shaped”… ever :/, it’s a lot more manageable, though every couple weeks it goes to heck, with no change in diet.

    I’ve gone through 100’s of probiotics, and they do seem to help- but some do nothing, and some help a noticable amount. “Digestive Advantage, Intensive Bowel Support” seems to be helping the most right now, and if I take one after every meal, I don’t get stomach cramps (but still doesn’t come out right).

    The other thing seems to be (for me) metamucil- with sugar in the morning. I tried a bunch of different fibers (GI reccomended benefiber, which did nothing, but citricul, helped a teeny amount, metamucil sugar free was even worse, and sugar full seems to average things out the best).

    But I’ve always eaten healthy, and never had a digestive issue. I could eat terrible, and would never have a problem. So it seems pretty fishy that my intestines are now screwed up for life, and I can never really enjoy food again.

    There has got to be a solution – if it can break, it can be fixed. But I had never even known IBS existed before getting it- so I don’t think anyone that doesn’t have it cares enough to look for a solution.

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  • Rob B April 13, 2014, 7:35 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    I’ve had similar issues with having digestive problems properly diagnosed by doctors including expensive stool samples for tapeworms (came up negative).

    The best they could offer me was adjusting my diet and avoiding foods that cause discomfort.

    Still on the journey to figure out my fickle digestive system. Thanks for sharing your experiences!
    Rob B recently posted..The One Thing You Need To Know About Decaf Coffee and Your Health

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