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My story starts in 2002 when I was in my last year of graduate school. Brought on by a combination of too much processed food, bad diet (some days I would forget to eat), and agonising over a perfect GPA. I graduated with a perfect GPA of 4.0. But at what cost? Near the end of my final semester I passed out after having about 10 maybe 12 bowel movements in one day. I was dehydrated. I ended up in hospital for a few days because doctors were sure there was nothing wrong with me, yet the wet and constant bowel movements continued. They were explosive, painful, constant, and took all my energy. After many tests (including one for colon cancer) proved negative, I was sent home with a prescription for Metamucil, and probiotics and a recommendation to stop drinking milk.

After connecting with other IBS sufferers I self diagnosed. There was very little literature available. I learnt through each day what didn't work with my gut and what worked slightly better. At the beginning there were very few 'good days'. I bought an IBS cook book, took up running, and continued to agonise over my loss of freedom, and at that age, what felt like a loss of a future that I had spent so much of my resources on.

At my first job out of university there were constant complaints about my body odour. I was ashamed, socially condemned and fighting off major depression. How I got through those days is a testament to my strong determination. Everyday I wanted to quit, not just the job, but also the life that was not worth living.

Because of the school I went to and my performance at the school I began work with a Fortune 500 even before graduation. But my coworkers were snobs, and they were mean. Their whispers and snickers soon developed into face to face insults and childish pranks. I fought back tears throughout the day. I fought the compulsion to quit and just walk out. I fought the pressure to end it all. They gave me one of the empty offices just so that I wouldn't be among everyone else in the cubicles. At last I could relax. I arrived early, left late and was available on weekends. I worked twice, perhaps even three times as hard as everyone else. I had learned the job so quickly and was doing so well that I was asked to train the other intern. But at the end of my trial period I was let go and my trainee given the position.

This experience marked the turning point in my life. For whatever reason I accepted my then boyfriend's marriage proposal. And left the country. I took up volunteer jobs and sitting on committees. That way I would not be among people all day. I also work with children because they can be less mean. This was a good decision because I found out that I was a natural at it. I'm now in the process of studying my phd in early childhood education concentrating on learning disability. It's an online degree, of course.

I've been married 12 years, I have two rambunctious and precocious children, I've lived in five different countries, I've ran three marathons, six half marathons and countless five and ten K races. This is the happiest point of my life. And the best news? No more leaking gas, malodour or fart smell!

Today I signed up for a gym for the first time in twelve years. And get this, my friend took me in her car. Completely unheard of when my IBS first began. I spent this morning going through my emails looking for job vacancies that I had been sent previously, but hadn't responded to. That's when I realised that things have really changed. I don't know for how long I will be 'smell free', but I'm not even going to focus on that right now. Getting back my life is my current focus. Socialising, having lunch meetings, presenting my proposals and heading up projects. I'm delirious with happiness.

So, here is how I did it. Apple Cider Vinegar. I was researching Apple cider vinegar for its acne fighting properties. Apparently you rub it across infected skin or you ingest it and the acid helps to prevent acne (the IBS gave me really bad skin and I was desperate because nothing else worked). As a woman, taking vinegar is also beneficial because it helps to fight off bacteria. So that's already two good reasons to take it. But thirdly, and this was the deciding factor, it is said to get rid of bloating.

I moved to a new country early this summer and the bloating begun on the airplane and never receded. Whether it worked for the acne didn't so much matter at this point. Once I found out that it fights bloating I decided to try it. And after three weeks I noticed that I could be in a crowded elevator and not be self conscious. During the months of June, July and August I used it throughout the day working my way up to about eight doses a day.

In August this country literally shuts down for a month. So my husband took a week off work and we went travelling for ten days. During that period I did not drink any vinegar. I felt free. I ate with wanton abandonment. But on the trip back I suffered an IBS attack. My stomach was so bloated my six year old said I looked pregnant. I could only nibble on food. I was constipated. I was in pain. I was once again smelly. I was disheartened. It remained like that for two days until we got back home.

I immediately stocked up on apple cider vinegar and drank only that. No tea, no coffee, no sports drink, absolutely no soda. Whenever I was thirsty I poured water in a glass, added a few drops of vinegar and that's all I consumed. The bloating finally went down after about two days and I was able to eat. I tried not to agonised over what I was eating. I tried to be as relaxed as possible. I tried not to consider that my previous cure was just a fluke. I tried everyday to remember six to eight glasses. If I would wake up in the middle of the night to pee I would pour myself another glass. As soon I wake up in the morning I would drink my first dose of the day on an empty stomach.

It's been three weeks now. And I've been eagerly awaiting the effects of my apple cider vinegar supplement. And that's why I went for a tour of the gym today. That's why I accepted my friend's offer to drive me there in her car. That's why I booked a consultation with a personal trainer. And it all went smoothly, and scent free.

If you have tried apple cider vinegar please let me know of your experience. Or give it a try and let me know the effects. It's not easy at first but I kept it up for three months and I venture to say that it's a cure (please let it not be a fluke!). Also I'm not in America so didn't try any of that expensive stuff that has been made famous on YouTube. I am using just a simple store brand. Take your time to adjust your taste buds. But be consistent and be resolute.
 

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Given all that you've been through, I wouldn't blame you for ignoring the side effects of ACV. But aren't you concerned by the fact that ACV destroys tooth enamel?
 

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I am happy that you found a cure. I began having IBS more than 20 years ago in my early 40s with painful bloating and leaking gas,and it certainly affected my career with the US government. Despite having a BS degree in math, I worked low level clerical jobs in isolation. I retired in 2009 and took a trip to Ghana to look for a wife, since I didn't think I could find an American woman who would accept my problem. While there, my gas problem and IBS began disappearing after a few days. After about a week, it was completely gone. I believe it was because I was eating natural food with no added sugar, I didn't really like the food taste and I was eating a lot less food. I now can see that back in the US, I was eating a greater volume of food than my body could digest. In the first 6 months, my weight went from 145 to 125 pounds on my 5 ft 7 frame, and I feel great. I found a wife and have a 4 year old little girl, and have never returned to the US. I believe that the added sugar and sweetners in America food is stimulating Americans to eat too much, which is causing more IBS. I wish I had known that earlier. I would have had a better career and more retirement money. But I am happy now.
 
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