IBS is making my life hell

I'm only 16 years old. I used to be able to eat what I wanted when I wanted and I've always had a very lean stomach and I'm extremely athletic. I've always had a sensitive stomach and just body in general in every aspect. Before all of this I ate pretty healthy and normally and my eating habits and diet was nothing to worry about especially since I could burn it off fast. Beginning of my sophomore year I started eating extremely healthy all I ate was fruits vegetables and I was intolerant to anything with gluten or anything with dairy so that made my healthy lifestyle easier on me. I went to the doctor about it and they told me to eat prunes and drink prune juice and they gave me this stool softener. It worked once or twice but my body stopped responding. I might add that it's summer now but during school I had to hold my flatulence and would wait her run to the bathroom with diarrhea or trying to go and nothing coming out but i would fart horribly. My stomach would be in so much pain that I couldn't focus on school, would bloat bad. and stopped eating. I lost around 15 pounds during that time. Now, I'm back where I talked about going to a gastrointestinal doctor where I waited a month to get into and he gives me prunes and prune juice and a stool softener and we get tests done like X-rays on my abdominal area and blood tests. I had to wait a month to get those tests back during this summer and I went on vacation and it was hard to enjoy when you feel pregnant and in pain. I had to take a colon cleanser while on vacation because I didn't poop for a week! I just got back from the gastrointestinal doctor after a month of waiting for tests and even getting in and he basically just says I have IBS and gives me this pill that supposed to make me poop. My stomach had gotten abnormally bigger now and it hurts to even push to go and my stomach is sore and I can't even suck my stomach in without feeling pain. I feel so alone and like no one really knows how to help. I looked at the doctor and he looked like he didn't even know what to say to me. I'm becoming obessed with my problem and I feel fat and ugly now. I just don't know how to deal with it and I feel like the doctor isn't even helping me. I have read that doctors who say you have IBS just don't know what to diagnose you as. I'm scared that my intestines are going to tear or rupture and schools going to start and all I've done is workout but I still feel disgusting and the bloating just won't go away and I don't want my junior year to be like last year. If anyone could lead me in the right path and maybe give advice on what to do i would really appreciate asap!!

17 Replies

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  • Hello Morgan_k123,

    I am sorry to hear you feel so on your own with this but you have come to a place where people can share their understanding and knowledge with you and hopefully give you the kind of support you need so that you can feel less isolated and hopefully, manage your IBS so that it is not so damaging to your self-esteem and quality of life.

    It seems to me that you haven't yet found a health professional who really gets the impact IBS is having on your life and also, can help you find a way of managing it to a point it is no longer so disruptive. This is a common concern and hopefully people here will be able to give you some support to get better management. Some people have success with specific diets like FODmap and I am sure there will be others here who can advise on what works for them.

    However, something to think about is whether you can see a professional dietitian who can help you, as it seems from your post that there are some challenging issues arising for you already to do with weight loss and also how you feel about your body. On this site we can share knowledge and experience but we are not medical professionals, so it is going to be important to make sure you have the right kind of dietary advice, not just for your IBS, but for your age and stage in life.

  • Hi thank you so much for replying to me! Yeah I know for sure people can't diagnose me on here but it does feel nice to know that I'm not the only one dealing with this. It is for surely hard at my age because these are supposed to be the best times of my life and it is harder because of how critical and hard Iam on myself with how I look and am. My mom is trying to find a GI that will take a child under 18 because most where I live won't! She's thinking about going out of state to find one. We're looking into an allergist just in case I have more allergies and than a dietician. I'm just kinda scared that an intestine might have of teared or ruptured? Usually when I wake my stomach is flat and you can see some definitions of abs but now I'm bloated when I wake up no matter what and I don't know if that's something that is bad or not because it used to not be this bad?

  • Hi I suffer from the same, I take probiotics, ensure I drink 2 litres of water a day and drunk fresh peppermint with hot water this eases the knot in the tummy. Peppermint capsules colpermin also work well. Thus will help the cycle as stress makes the Ibs worse, so once the symptoms start to ease you will feel psychological better and your mood will be lifted and it will help your symptoms. At the same time as all this omit things from your diet that aggravate your tummy for some time and then one by one slowly introduce them back. This helps some people. Good luck

  • Hey I'm really sorry to hear about your problems Morgan_k123 and how unsupportive the doctors are. Have you see any mucus or blood in your stool at all? (I know it would be difficult for you to see if it is diahorrea). It could be an IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) as apposed to IBS (they asked me if I get mucus incase my IBS is more IBD). They tend to be found in younger people and sometimes affect woman more than men. I would maybe read up about Crohns and Ulcerative colitis (UC) to see if you have any other symptoms so that you can go to your GP and say you have concerns about these areas. Not telling you this to worry you further, just to make sure they aren't missing anything, the doctors I have seen have been pretty switched on, and in my line of work I see young people affected by these conditions as apposed to IBS. The X-rays won't show anything unless your gas pattern shows there is a blockage in your bowel or that you have UC, so they are more to rule out than diagnose and should be considering something more like a colonoscopy for your age to reduce radiation to your body. That would also tell them what is going on inside. Instead of being given stool softener and prunes to make you go, maybe fybogel would be better (not endorsing a product I just know a friend who uses this and it helps her). I've never tried it, I tend to stick to drinking peppermint tea. I was told to follow the FODMAP diet to help me. Since I've stopped eating onions and garlic it certainly helps. Hope this helps you and makes you feel less alone, I seriously know what you are going through (I've been like this the last 6-7 years, worst when I graduated and started my career).

  • I haven't had mucus that I know of? I don't drink anything but water and tea and only green tea with no sweetener and a tea for bloating and gas from whole foods. I have gone to naturalist and she has tested me for what I'm deficient in so I have many supplements for all of that. Those worked for awhile but you have to go back and get them stronger since your body changes over time so I'm still doing that. I take probiotics and magnesium and potassium and two other pills that intake before I eat and after I eat for bloating and digestion.

  • It's all very unknowing when you are first diagnosed. I hope you get some answers from here.

    As a newly diagnosed person I would really recommend you keep a diary. I would not try too many meds or products yet as your episodes could be caused by something very simple. Over the few months you keep it, check to see if there are any common denominators I.e. Foods you have eaten, amount of water you've drunk and where you are in your period cycle.

    Personally, my IBS c is caused by not drinking enough on certain days and when I've eaten too much rubbish and not enough veg. Sounds incredibly boring but that's how it is for me. Bloating wise, bread of any kind (brown, white, seeded and even pizza base!) are my enemy. IBS d is usually food or period related. I hope by telling you this, you can see why I've recommended keeping a diary.

    Good luck trying to bottom it all out (no pun intended!).

  • Yeah I basically eat all raw food, mainly fruits and vegetables and yes meat because I just can't give up meat when I can't eat other foods as is. all I drink is water and tea but I drink about 2 gallons or so a day

  • First of all. I'm so sorry that you're suffering like this. It's so hard on all of us but bless your heart you're only 16 years old. I hope we can all help a little, and maybe a lot together!

    There could be a key to the exacerbation of your problems in one of your posts wherein you say that you eat mostly fruits and vegetables.

    MANY fruits and veggies are high in FODMAPs and will create exactly the symptoms from which you're suffering.

    I suggest you Google low fodmap veggies and fruits (warning: there aren't that many!), and begin by eliminating all high fodmap foods from your diet immediately.

    You may also suffer from fructose malabsorption which would cause you to suffer anytime you consume fruits.

    I truly believe that restricting your diet to low fodmap foods ONLY for the time being will help you. Get started on this immediately, and you may have a new helpful diet by the time school begins!

    You will be able to eat meat, by the way. FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate, and meats , poultry and fish do not contain carbohydrate.

    Google low FODMAP and high FODMAP foods right now. Stay absolutely unfailingly away from high FODMAP foods for now, and fully embrace the list of the lowest FODMAP foods. I believe you will see a change.

    That may be a new beginning for you. And then we'll go from there!

  • That was really helpful! I'm going to start prepping my meals for school using the low fodmaps as a guide, thank you so much. I do think I may have a fructose issue because if I eat too much sugar in a day I feel horrible and my body bloats and I feel like throwing up! So sad that I can't eat many fruits tho:( it's my favorite food group!

  • Also, it says bananas and melons are low but if I even take a bit of a banana or melon my body will bloat especially bananas.

  • It does sound like you might have a fructose mal-absorbency issue. I would take all fruits out of your diet immediately. This will just be for a trial period, but it could be very very important to you. This includes all fruit juices by the way. Again, just for the trial period.

    Also, something you said reminded me that I wanted to mention that you must avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup. That is the kiss of death. (HIGH FRUCTOSE - makes sense, no?)

    Read labels at the grocery store very, very carefully. Start with only the safest foods in your diet and see if you get some relief from your symptoms. For example, if you tolerate eggs, you could eat a couple of eggs in the morning. No fruit, no vegetables. You could even throw a few walnuts in and some maple syrup for a change now and then. (Maple syrup, by the way, is among the safe sugars.)

    At lunch you could eat another very low carbohydrate meal, and the same at dinner. Your snacks should also be considered.

    Be Very very careful with your diet at the beginning. If you start with a very boring diet (not much variety) and add things only slowly, then you will be able to better tell what is affecting you.

    Remember, though… Absolutely no high fructose corn syrup. Many many things contain HFCS. Check anything you drink, Popsicles, candies, cookies etc.

    Speaking of cookies, try avoiding gluten for a while as well. Breads, cookies, pretzels - those types of carbs.

    Just go very very basic as you start this change in your diet. By the time you have to go back to school you will probably have a nice long list of nutritious foods that you can tolerate, and then you will be able to enjoy your next year of school so much more than you did your last.

    I'm pulling for you!

  • Aw thank you so much! My stomach isn't toned anymore though is that part of everything and the bloating and everything that is messed up? And yeah I'm gluten free I can't tolerate gluten at all! And I'll make sure to stay away from high fructose corn syrup! I'll stop eating prunes as well, thank you for all this advice!

  • Yes, I know exactly what you mean, Morgan. I am a very thin person due to having been sick with gastroparesis for the past six years. I barely eat. Barely enough to sustain myself and it's liquid nutrition mostly. As thin as I am, I sometimes look six months pregnant from the bloating.

    In your case, I am hopeful that if you can sort out some things with your diet, you will find some relief. And when you do, the bloating and the change in the tone around your abdominal area will definitely get better. Start right now being very careful what you eat in terms of FODMAPS

    I wish you the very very best With this trial period, and I really hope and pray that it works well for you!

    Google the name Kate Scarlata. She is a registered dietician here in the states and has a great website on low FODMAPeating.

    Start with a few foods that are safe (even if it's boring!), and add more low FODMAPfoods as you go along.

    Hope it works really well!

  • Hi Morgan. You say you eat all raw food. Personally I find that raw veg tends to make my gas and bloating worse. As someone else said in their post, I would try to get some advice from adietician. Perhaps they could help you with the Fodmaps diet.

  • Your symptoms sound a lot like mine. I wake with the miserable bloating too now. I lift weights 6 days a week & have six pack abs so it's so frustrating having the prego looking bloat! The bacteria in your gut is likely out of balance & maybe candida overgrowth has started too. An elimination diet is helpful & I agree keep a diary so you can record reactions. It sounds like you have some food sensitivities (gluten & dairy you know already). The intestines can become permeable along the way too causing "leaky gut," which needs to heal. Look that up when you can. (Supplementing with L-glutamine is said to help (I take 10 grams 3x a day). Don't eat GMO food & try to eat organic as much as possible. Keep in mind GMOs are everywhere now...sugar & HFC especially. Studies on pigs have shown organ damage especially to the digestive system. Try to eat Paleo also. Reducing the starches that have to ferment in the gut is important to keep the bloat down. Take something for inflammation...I use turmeric paste (it's organic turmeric, black pepper, ginger & cinnamon mixed in unrefined organic coconut oil). Eat fermented veggies like kimchi and fermented sauerkraut along with some good probiotics. Digestive enzymes can be helpful too if you can't digest your veggies well without bloating. Green smoothies are a good option too. Sticking with your healing regimine & getting the right nutrients to heal your body is essential. Stay strong ok...you are not alone!!

  • Morgan! I just re-read your initial post and noticed that your doctor told you to consume prunes and prune juice. No wonder you had excessive flatulence! Prunes and prune juice are extremely high in FODMAPS and are very much discouraged. Keep them out of your diet. Yikes. ;-)

  • Hello Morgan_K123, I feel for you going thru this at such an early age where having I.B.S. can keep you from the fun things young adults should be doing. I am 47, and have recently been diagnosed I.B.S. after having a bacterial infection, and i am going thru the same symptoms and difficulties you are so i understand you there. What i can pass on to you is that i had just tried different foods on my days off to see what i could or couldn't tolerate while keeping a journal of how i did. By doing this i found what foods triggered bad attacks and what made me feel better from eating. Be sure you get all your vitamins and minerals whether thru natural foods of supplementing them if from foods your body can't tolerate. My triggers where dairy(lactose) products similar to you. I then avoided items with dairy which also included flavorings on chips like sour cream or in salad dressings and so on. You'd be suprised how much dairy is used in different products as a flavoring. Anyways i always did this food testing on my off days as to avoid the possible embarrasment we know we go thru at times. Finally once you know what you can tolerate be dilligent as to stick to your diet and find alternatives to the foods that are bad triggers, there are products out there like lactose free cheese and so on. I hope this helps you ,and i hope it helps you to have your young life back on track. Having I.B.S can feel debillitating but it doesn't mean your life is over. Be strong and use it to make you a stronger person." Good luck to you"

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