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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, I'm an 18 year old female who just finished her first year of college, and I've only been dealing with IBS-C for about 6 months now, but it's hitting me really hard.

Beginning just back in December, I started to notice I would get constipated kinda a lot, so my mom suggested I take some fiber supplements. I started that, and everything felt normal again, and I felt fine. I thought I just needed a little extra fiber to stay regular, and all was fine as I went back to school mid-January. There were about 3 occasions, where the fiber didn't work and I would be constipated for about 3-4 days each time, and I had to take the liquid magnesium citrate and be miserable for about 10 hours before it worked. After the 3rd time I made a doctors appointment for the recurring constipation. I was given Linzess samples to try, but I had very little response to those and was extremely bloated/tired from them. Then I started seeing a GI doctor, who started me on Miralax once a day, and for quite awhile during school, it seemed to work well about 70% of the time, with the occasional bad days. Then, once the year ended and I moved back, it was like Miralax suddenly lost its effectiveness and I got mixed results from it. Some days, it worked, some days I got really liquidy stools, other days barely anything. After a CT scan to rule out Chron's and IBD (though i could have told my GI doc it wasn't Chron's myself), I'm now trying Amitiza once a day. It's been about 5 days of Amitiza, and I get nausea and a burning/tightness in my chest, but I've had a bit of a response to it, and I was hopeful. But yesterday I had to get an x-ray with contrast, and unfortunately the contrast is extremely dehydrating and can cause constipation. GREAT thing to give to someone with chronic constipation issues, right?! Anyway, after amitiza, miralax, and some mild stimulant laxatives since yesterday, I can't get anything back to normal. I don't know what to do.

Aside from my present issue, in general dealing with this IBS has got me more depressed and suicidal than I've been in over a year, which is really awful because it was hard enough to get out of an almost 2-year long depressive era full of self-harm and wishing I was dead. In fact, right as I was starting to enjoy my life more than I had been able to in a long time, this hit me. I had been eating better and working out before this, so I dropped like 5 pounds and I was able to joke that I was almost too skinny, but now I'll never be able to make that joke again, as I'm perpetually bloated and looking pregnant...

TL;DR; I've only had IBS-C for about 6 months, but it's already ruined my self-image and stolen my short-lasting happiness. I'm more depressed and suicidal than I've ever been before. I used to take out these feelings by self-harming, but I'm not afraid of a relapse cause I know cutting won't make my body work right again. I'm actually more afraid that I've skipped over hurting myself and jumped straight to an intense longing to be dead rather than deal with IBS and constipation for the rest of my life. All I can do anymore is cry. I'm at the end of my rope...
 

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Hey, I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I hope it makes you feel better to know I really know how you feel. I'm 22 and I've dealt with depression/self harm/ and IBS-C since childhood, but all of it got really bad in college. These past six months my IBS has gotten so bad that I've had a lot of suicidal thoughts. It makes it even harder when I look around and see all my other friends who seem to have perfectly normal stomachs. My self-image got really bad too since I feel like I always look fat when really I have a slim frame. And I'm gassy every day, which is just embarrassing. This condition makes you feel like you're the only one in the world, but you're not. I'm dealing with it too, and so are a lot of people. I don't know if it'll get better...like I said, I've been suicidal about this too. But I do know we should try absolutely everything to make it better before completely giving up. Also, if it makes you feel better--you've felt like this for 6 months, and I've felt like this since I was 9 (though my worst period was 18-to now). Even though IBS-C has impacted my life a ton, I've still managed to have great moments and fun times. It hasn't completely defined those years of my life.

Have you tried making any changes in your diet? I'm experimenting with that now. I'd recommend first cutting out wheat, and then maybe eggs or dairy. Also start drinking a lot of water, as often as possible. I think dietary changes might be the best option, and that's what I'm trying too.

Good luck, and remember...you're not alone! I promise.
 

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Hey girl. Where do you go to school?

I'm 24 and have been dealing with IBS D AND C, trying to remedy it with different diets/medicine but new symptoms keep happening and its so frustrating that once I think I know the answer, another question pops up.

Have you had any other tests done since the last one? Colonoscopy, stool samples, endoscopy, etc?

Also what is your current diet? I know it's hard to eat right in college but maybe that's a factor.

Be sure to update! Many of us are in the same boat and don't want you to give up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for replying guys. I know I'm probably being overdramatic about this all, but I'm just finding it impossible to accept that this is now my life, and I can never go back to being normal. It just feels so unfair, but I guess that's life haha.

Anyway, I'm thinking my only option left is to cut pretty much everything from my diet and eat like, low FODMAP or something for the rest of my life. If that even helps at all, that is. I'm tired of taking a bunch of laxatives and medication every day only to get barely any relief half the time. The only problem is I have no idea where to start with my diet, and I don't really want to ask my mom to take me to a dietitian/nutritionist, as I already feel bad enough for all of the doctors appointments and tests.

And I denied getting a colonoscopy since my CT scan showed that my intestines and stuff are normal (of course), and my symptoms don't really match anything more serious like Chron's or IBD. I've basically known it was IBS since the start, but seeing everything else ruled out just makes it that much more real I guess. All I have left that I'm waiting on are some blood tests for my thyroid again and for celiac's. My first blood test showed that my thyroid numbers were slightly low, but the second blood test showed that they were normal, so my GI doctor wanted to see it again since he said it shouldn't change like that. The numbers will probably be normal again, I'm assuming.

And bambina912, I go to ASU!
 

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ASU! Arizona yes? Nice weather? Better than New Jersey?

I hear the low FODMAP diet can be tricky because there's a lot of debate as to what actually falls under the FODMAP guidelines. I almost tried it but it made my head spin, but I am considering trying it again. However, now I can pretty much predict what bothers me and what doesn't. Ever keep a food diary? I kind of kept one for a while but got lazy.

Also, are there any dietitians in your student health center? I don't know if they had one when I was in college but maybe you can look into that.

A word of warning: my friend is a registered dietician and she says that pretty much anyone can call themselves a "nutritionist". Dietitians have actual medical training and are better suited for these kinds of things... nutritionists might have their own weird opinion and tell you to switch to a raw vegan hemp diet or something stupid. So go to an RD if you're taking that route.

I'm very jealous that you've had so many tests done! I haven't had all those (yet) but I would at the very least take it as a good sign that they are mostly normal. There are some things that a colonoscopy can show that a CT can't, but I haven't had one yet either. I'm regretting that, cause I had the opportunity to get one about a year ago and turned it down cause i didnt think it was necessary. I'd like to have at least THAT piece of mind. I did have an endoscopy though (normal, sigh.). I could have SWORN it was celiac, too. What an easy diagnosis to have made.. I tried gluten free anyway and it did nothing.

Keep us updated! It's not overdramatic to feel the way you do, eating and pooping easily is something that people take for granted haha. I never had a single stomach sensitivity/problem until I was 18 years old too, actually.. now I'm 24. I work in advertising, which is stressful, which probably doesn't help. Bleh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice weather until mid-summer, when it's 115+ haha! But it's never very humid, so we have that.

As for low FODMAP, I feel like it's better suited to those with IBS-D, but I don't know what else to try. I imagine I'm going to have to cut out cheese and most dairy, but I don't know about gluten. Wheat products have never bothered me, and I feel like most of the time a gluten intolerance gives people the opposite of my problem haha. As for a food diary, I find it tricky to figure out what causes me problems (aside from obvious offenders like cheese), cause I'm not gonna know until like, the next day or two when I'm having issues going.

I mean, on one hand I guess it's nice that all the tests come back normal, but on the other, it's kind of depressing because it's like "oh, nothing is actually wrong with me, my intestines just literally decided to stop functioning". I still think a colonoscopy would just be invasive and cost my mom more unnecessary money. My only symptoms at this point are bloating and constipation, so the answer is obvious here.

Oh, I'd also like to add that I had been trying some samples of Amitiza that my GI doctor gave me, and I was trying only 1 a day for awhile. It was sort of meh, and obviously the contrast from the upper GI ruined any help it was giving me. But I was hoping that if insurance covered a prescription, I would try it twice a day, however, a 90-day supply of Amitiza would have been $800! Ridiculous. So I'm back to just Miralax everyday, hoping it doesn't decide to stop working on me cause I'll really be screwed then..

But yeah, I wish I could tell my past self to enjoy being able to eat and go to the bathroom like a regular human being, cause now I'm 18 and the amount of attention I have to pay to my bowel habits is just...so stupid haha.
 

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I'm so sorry for everything you've been going through - my heart really goes out to you! The depression is definitely understandable - your world has completely changed, plus your gut issues are also affecting your mood-regulating hormones (which, ironically, are mainly produced in the gut - only a very small percentage of these hormones come from the brain). Don't lose hope! You'd be absolutely amazed at what a difference diet and lifestyle adjustments can make.

I actually work with folks to tackle health issues from the standpoint of inflammation (which is at the root of tons of different conditions/symptoms, including IBS). I know that the last thing you probably want to do right now is to have more testing done, but I'd highly recommend looking into the Mediator Release Test (MRT) - it measures the levels of inflammation that your body has in response to various foods and chemicals (i.e. food sensitivities). It really does take the guesswork out of trying to figure out what to eat (especially since, as you pointed out, you may not notice adverse symptoms until days after eating one of your trigger foods, so it can be super tough and time-consuming to figure all that out on your own). The diet protocol that goes along with MRT (called LEAP) is by no means easy, but it is very effective. IBS-D tends to improve quicker than IBS-C, but the process is still excellent for both.

Let me know if you'd like more info on this!
 

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I'm also IBS-C and frequently suicidal. Which anti-depressants have you tried? They can work wonders for some - both psychologically and with the pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm also IBS-C and frequently suicidal. Which anti-depressants have you tried? They can work wonders for some - both psychologically and with the pain.
My GI doc just started me on 10 mcg citalopram. It's only the second day that I'm on it, but I guess I'll have to wait and see if it does anything for me.

How do you keep your spirits up with something like this? It just makes me miserable and wonder why me, even though I know I shouldn't feel sorry for myself all the time. But ya know, it's pretty terrible.
 

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yes, be sure to be as patient as you can, anti-depressants can take weeks (or even months) to kick in. And if this one doesn't work out, keep trying different ones. No-one knows which one you will respond to (if any) so keep trying.

How do you keep your spirits up with something like this?
I don't! I really struggle with my mood when I'm in pain or when the horrible sensations are strong for extended periods. I simply am unable to have a positive thought when it's bad. Conversely if the pain/sensations are mild for a while, my mood and cognition can be quite good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
yes, be sure to be as patient as you can, anti-depressants can take weeks (or even months) to kick in. And if this one doesn't work out, keep trying different ones. No-one knows which one you will respond to (if any) so keep trying.

I don't! I really struggle with my mood when I'm in pain or when the horrible sensations are strong for extended periods. I simply am unable to have a positive thought when it's bad. Conversely if the pain/sensations are mild for a while, my mood and cognition can be quite good.
What exactly are the anti-depressants supposed to help with? My doctor wasn't entirely clear, but I didn't feel like asking him for whatever reason. The C itself, the bloating, the pain?

And I get that. When I have a good day, and I'm able to go I feel like a semi-normal person again and I feel like just doing everything. Then, on a bad day, I don't even wanna leave the house cause I just feel like crap, mentally and physically.
 

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the right AD can help with both the pain and depression. It seems that for some folk AD's can have a generally calming effect on their GI system, taking the edge off the pain and sensations.

On the downside they almost all have the potential to increase your C :/

For example my PDoc just prescribed me Nortriptyline which apparently is among the most effective AD's for pain. So far it hasn't helped but I'm still titrating up (increasing dose gradually).
 

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i was on pristiq once.. unrelated to the IBS thing. didn't cause any other gastro problems but it did make me VERY VERY tired.

how i felt on pristiq was literally neither here nor there. didn't get too happy, didn't get too sad... kinda numb. but it did help me get through a rough patch and when i felt i didnt need it anymore, i stopped taking it. so it may not be a long term solution but a stepping stone.

is there a particular part of the whole ordeal that makes you depressed? for me i get depressed and really upset when i feel like i don't know whats wrong with me (which is most of the time).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If this AD makes my C worse, I don't think I'll even be able to handle it lol...

The particular part that makes me depressed is I guess just knowing that this is now what the rest of my life is gonna be like; constantly fighting my body to do what it's SUPPOSED to do...
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It exhausts me thinking about having to deal with this forever.
 

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it looks to me like you're making some very common "logic errors" which CBT is good at revising. For example, you don't know it will be forever - plenty of people find a working diet/med/technique/whatever that really helps them out. Also, IBS can go away, just the same way as it started.

Do yourself a favour and learn the hell out of these: http://glasgowspcmh.org.uk/self-help/depression/questions

If these don't help after a few weeks, hit me up for more suggestions.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, I know my thinking is very flawed, and I know people figure out what works for them to keep their symptoms at bay. I was good about 70% of the time while I was still in school, but now I can't seem to get my C under control at all, so it's a really frustrating time. I can only hope that I'll be able to get things under control again, but I would never entertain the idea that my IBS will ever go away. It just doesn't seem likely, and that's too much false hope for me.

Thanks for your help regardless. I appreciate everyone's responses, and obviously just knowing that other people live with this too, some even worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't know if anyone who replied will see this, but just a small update. I'm still on the antidepressant, but I'm now only taking Miralax every other day and it's going pretty decently. I've been able to go at least a little every day for about a week, so I'd call that good anyway. I'm continuously trying to drink tons of water every day, as well as eat fruit and veggies. I still get bloated and all that, but obviously the symptom that caused me the most discomfort was the C.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone again for replying. It's nice talking to other people who know exactly how I feel.
 

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really glad to hear it!! do you think that any reduction in stress from the medicine is helping your symptoms..? i don't drink enough water for sure so i'm gonna start trying to up my intake as well..

also, in regards to your last post -- your thinking is not flawed!! your digestive tract may be lol, but your thinking is not. we are not doctors or psychologists (unless anyone is, correct me if i'm wrong lol) so we can only do so much with the knowledge we can obtain, often on our own. there is no fault for being depressed -- not for you or anyone else. so just keep doing what you're doing, maybe keep a food/BM diary, and remember that all this bad stuff is temporary!!
 

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I don't know if anyone who replied will see this, but just a small update. I'm still on the antidepressant, but I'm now only taking Miralax every other day and it's going pretty decently. I've been able to go at least a little every day for about a week, so I'd call that good anyway. I'm continuously trying to drink tons of water every day, as well as eat fruit and veggies. I still get bloated and all that, but obviously the symptom that caused me the most discomfort was the C.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone again for replying. It's nice talking to other people who know exactly how I feel.
nice one! glad to hear it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well I guess I spoke too soon in saying that everything was going kinda decently haha. After a 5 day flare of C (starting right before my birthday of course), I had to take a bottle of magnesium citrate a couple days ago, and am now constipated again. Even after taking my miralax today. I don't know if it was because I made the mistake of eating pizza or what, but boy is it hard to stay positive at all when my life now revolves around "Will I be able to poop today or not?" :/ This sucks.
 
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