This is my first post on a forum so sorry that it's long!...
I noticed symptoms around 2 years ago, they worsened around half a year ago and have got progressively worse over the months until now. I suffer with constipation (I go several times a day but only a small amount at a time), I never feel empty, have the constant urge to go to the bathroom, a constant dull pain in lower abdomen on the right side sometimes going down towards my pelvis, this pain occasionally becomes crampy/stabby, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, joint pain. Around my time of the month (or every 2 weeks sometimes because my periods have been all over the place since they came back a couple of years ago), I get more constipated, bloated and my stools go from being small and pellet-like to being soft, dark and more foul smelling for a couple of days before; once my period starts, I get more diarrhoea-like stools as well as pain and cramping in my pelvis and vagina.
My GP has been really good to me - I've have had various tests (blood tests to check for inflammation, anaemia, celiac, etc which, other than low iron, all came back fine) and have tried several medications over the months (senna, Laxido, Fybogel, mebeverin, amitriptyline, milk of magnesia, lactulose, glycerol suppositories, mini enemas and higher doses of laxatives for faecal impaction). After none of these helped me, my GP referred me to a GI specialist.
I had that appointment a couple of weeks ago and he pretty much put it down to being "just IBS" (why do people say that like IBS is nothing??) and told me to try Constella for a month. I'm waiting to hear about a referral to a dietician and he said he'll follow up with me in a few months.
My problem is that it's been interfering with my life (job, university, seeing friends, my confidence, etc) for months now, and my symptoms are constant so I get NO relief which is making me feel really down. I'm also aware that many illnesses can mask themselves as IBS and I worry that there may be something physically wrong inside of me that we're not looking at (via scans and other tests). Possibly my anus or colon somewhere.
I've looked into going to see a specialist privately to see if there are any other options or routes to go down. A consultation and possible rectal examination will cost me around £400-450 but I'm willing to pay for this if I get more help or answers.
EDIT: I have a follow up appointment with the specialist I saw previously in the middle of September and have started trying out Constella.
MY MAIN QUESTIONS ARE:
Has anyone in the UK been in a similar situation feeling that you're getting nowhere with the NHS and have decided to invest in going private?
What was your experience? Was it worth it?