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Hi everyone,

I would really appreciate some advice/tips/support from anyone out there. A good friend recommended using a forum to help and when we came across this one we thought it would be a really good place to start. I have never used a forum before so fingers crossed I get this right!

I have been suffering with IBS symptoms for just under a decade now and am finding it has been at its worst in recent months. Not only does this actually make me feel very unwell in myself, I am also feeling very low emotionally. I have lost so much confidence and energy and struggle to look at myself in a mirror or work out what to wear some days because I just feel so horrible inside. I do not feel attractive and although my partner is amazingly supportive, my view of myself is impacting on our relationship. I am pretty repulsed by my body and how badly it seems to work. I dread going out with friends or eating at peoples houses because I don't trust my body. I find it hard because there are only so many excuses I can make up before people think I am rude or when I do say anything at all I feel like they think I am just being a fussy eater!

During the last 10 years I have been diagnosed with several food intolerances - lactose, wheat, gluten - and although avoiding these food groups has brought some temporary relief it never seems to solve the problem completely. I have encountered a number of doctors who seem to all have slightly different views and approaches so I have also used a variety of medication - most recently colofac, buscopan and amitriptimine. I have gotten the feeling that they lose interest and I have to keep starting over with different doctors. It feels like 'oh its only IBS, here is a prescription' even if that is not the intention I'm sure. Many of the doctors have dismissed what the last one said so I am left really confused - do I have intolerances? Do I need tablets? None of them seem to agree.

My symptoms are quite aggressive! I can often actually see the spasms rippling across my abdomen and the pain can make it hard to sit down comfortably anywhere. When it is bad I often only get a few seconds notice before I need to go - meaning I don't even get to finish my meal! I find going is very painful and since I have been using the amitripimine this has only been worse. While things are firmer and I don't have to run in the same way, the actual pain of going is awful and I can bleed and hurt for a long time after. I do find that eating seems to trigger a need to go sometimes, its almost as if food goes straight through me. I am not able to go whenever I want to at work because of the nature of my job and although I have not been faced with that situation I am terrified it will happen one day.

I am keen to tackle IBS from a lifestyle perspective and I recognise that there are many things that can help. I find searching for help, whether in books, through the doctor or online, confusing because there are so many ideas and some of them seem to conflict. I would really appreciate any support you can offer to help me reduce my symptoms and hopefully feel better about the person I am.
 

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First of all, IBS will not kill you, only make you want to die sometimes. So although I do not belittle what we go through, it is not the end of the world, literally or figuratively. Plus, you have no choice but to hang in there.

Spend some time looking through the threads in this forum, it is by far the best on the net with awesome moderators to boot.

I take the time that I used to spend feeling sorry for myself (like first thing this morning) and get on this forum to do research.

Be strong and share your experiences with the good folks here!
 
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