As long as I can remember I've been plagued with painful upset stomachs that would hit me without warning (at school, at home, while driving). These stomach attacks would have me running to the washroom for several hours at a time, and curled up on the couch in between attacks with a bowl beside me due to nausia. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I started realizing what was happening to me. I used to blame my issues on food allergies or intolerences, yet never went for allergy testing. I try not to run to the doctor for every ailement, but after 16 years of suffering with on-again, off-again issues, I decided to get checked out.
I found a wonderful doctor here who listened to my concerns and wanted to actually help me figure out what was going on. I went through a series of blood tests and she sent me to the hospital for a couple of tests to rule out any underlying intestinal problems. Let me tell you the test was not pleasant. I had to fast the night before and then got to spend about 5 hours at the lab. They made me lie on an xray table and sip through a straw some sort of milkshake that tasted like orange and chalk. As I would take small sips of the substance, the table would move into different position and they would track how the liquid passed through my system. Just when I thought it was all over the nurse gave me another LARGE container full of more milkshake to drink in the waiting room. They would then call me back every 15 minutes or so to take more pictures as it was passing through my bowels. I did learn that my bowels pass my food rather quickly, which is one of the reasons I get these attacks. Lucky for me I was also the proud recipient of a colonoscopy that same day. My doctor called me into her office a few days later to inform me that the tests came back normal, which was good news for me.
My diagnosis? IBS
At least now I had a starting point to try and treat my digestive issues. My doctor sent me to our local healthfood store to pick up some Probiotics and Pancreatic Enzymes. She also referred me to a nutritionist and gave me the names of a few books to buy as I now had to change my entire lifestyle and eating habits.
The hardest discovery I made that I've had to deal with was figuring out that I am also gluten-intolerent and that plays a huge role in my IBS...eating white pasta and white bread and white rice sucks since it contains no nutritional value, but it sure makes a difference on my belly. However, since getting things under control I'm slowly incorporating some whole grains back into my diet, as long as I don't overdo it.
I am happy to report that my stomach attacks are far and few between..they seem to hit when I don't eat well or during times of stress. Obviously I'm doing something right.