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Hi, I'm new here and I just wanted to reach out to others with similar conditions to mine for general education and opinions.

My symptoms generally include possibly having to go up to 8 times a day (this changes from time to time) with diarrhea and urgency.

I'm a 19 year old male that is currently attending a large college as a sophomore. I've had IBS- D since middle school (at least) and only told my G.P. the full extent of my symptoms last year before going into my first year of college. He said then that it was most likely just IBS- D and that it was not a life threatening condition. So I went to college and got by with the use of a private bathroom down the hall from my room. To be completely honest, I hate public bathrooms with stalls, especially busy ones because I get really nervous when I have to go and someone is around. I didn't have much of a social life during my first year (I'm personally not into partying, but I didn't even really make anything more than acquaintances anyway).

When I got home for the summer, I was ecstatic because I missed my family and felt a lot more comfortable around people who cared for me and understood my condition. I even had a 2 week-long period of having completely solid bowel movements at some point, although that feels like forever ago now. I don't necessarily remember if I was eating anything in particular or avoiding a certain allergen during that time either, so I'm not sure why my symptoms went away.

About a month before I came back to college (which was 5 days ago), I felt like I had some sort of stomach bug and had to go more often than what I was used to. I also felt generally sick to my stomach, but I didn't think much of it since I thought it would go away. I had a few accidents during this time, which is something that has never happened to me before, even when I was more apt to leave the house to get some coffee with my family. After I went one day and noticed some redness, I went to the doctor because I thought I was going to die. He did some blood work and stool tests, and nothing came back peculiar, so he prescribed me some anti-depressant to help me deal with the panic attacks I've been having and suggested it might be stress-related since I wasn't looking forward to going back to college.

So I tried to relax, and am continuing to do so, but my symptoms haven't changed much from the end of the summer. I've also started trying to hold to a low-FODMAP, allergen-free diet at school, but that is difficult since cross contamination in a buffet scene is pretty common. Anyway, I'll keep doing that and see if find my solution.

Anyway, now that I'm in college and I'm doing what I can right now to control my symptoms, I still fear public bathrooms (mostly the ones in my dorm). I live in a "pod" now and am not particularly close to the bathroom I used last year (albeit in the same building). I feel like a freak around others in the bathroom and fear that someone will make fun of me for my condition (although I shouldn't care because I don't really talk to those around me much, but still). I didn't choose to be like this, and I hate having to live with the constant fear of having an accident or being seen as a freak around my peers. I actually like learning, and want to make my family proud and get a good job, but I just want to know if anyone has any suggestions on limiting anxiety in the bathroom and not feeling so down about myself.

Sorry for the longer post, but thank you for getting this far if you did
 

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Hello,

I know exactly what you are going through and this is the very tough road ahead of you. I was the same as you in college, I felt scared and I felt shame that may be brought upon me if my peers find about it - obviously they eventually did and you know what? It's not nearly as bad as you think it would be. Everybody knows that people have issues, everyone has some - you just have those and well people in college are still kids mentally and they don't realize that therefore you are afraid to be an object of shame and laugh, but I can ensure you that it won't happen and even if it will it won't be as bad as you think it will be. Not many people has courage to tell you something face-to-face, especially not to laugh at you directly. You have to develop this kind of mentality that allows you not give a f***. It takes a lot of time to develop it and I only developed it long after college, but this is what you will need if you don't want your life to be empty later, you have to have your self-confidence and don't be bothered with small things like having an IBS. I know it's not small thing, but there are a lot of worse things that could happen to you - that what's I keep telling to myself :)
 
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