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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 16 years old, and for the past couple of years I've been suffering with IBS, but we didn't get it diagnosed until a month ago. During the time of figuring out my IBS right up until now I've missed a lot of college (in the UK we do college from 16-18). It's gotten to the point where my teachers are constantly getting mad at me about it, and I'm scared I'm going to be kicked off my college course. My attendance is probably at 70% at most, and it's dropping rapidly. Because my college is a 1.5 hour bus journey away, if I feel the attack coming on, I will be too scared to go. But my college and parents force me to go in even if I know it's going to happen, and my buscopan doesn't seem to work once the symptoms have set in.

I've tried explaining all my troubles to my teachers, but they say that unless I give them a letter, they can't do anything. My clinic charges £30 per letter, and I'm so broke (not that I could get a job anyway) that I can't afford it. I'm being put on a study plan and if it drops any lower I'll probably be kicked off. I'm so frustrated because there's 0 understanding, and they think I'm lazy, or skipping college on purpose, or that I'm making it out to be worse than it is. I really just don't know what to do, and I only have one day a week to go to the doctor, and they're usually booked - and I've been told off for having too many doctors appointments too. I'm pretty sure they think I'm lying about having doctors appointments.

My attacks are really painful, and although greasy food/chocolate/etc are very obvious triggers, a lot of other foods trigger me too, so I'm pretty much just living on noodles right now since everything else seems to trigger my stomach. I get so scared to eat that I go a whole day without food until I'm home safe from college. Even then, since the food I've eaten the day before can trigger an attack, I may be too afraid to eat in the evening. I get really bad stomach pains, nausea, pain that radiates to my side/back/chest, accompanied by diarrhea.

When I don't have diarrhea I have extremely bad flatulence and a lot of mucous. The flatulence has a horrible smell and it makes me very anxious because my parents always comment on it when I'm home and I get insecure. I also get a horrible gurgling in my stomach. When I'm having an attack in public e.g. on a bus, I have to hold it in, and it's a horrible sense of urgency - it feels as though it's pushing its way out of me and I can't do anything about it. I cry and scream in pain because it's agonising and I feel as though my stomach might explode. After an attack I'm just knocked out, completely fatigued, dizzy, drowsy. It's horrible. And even when I have these attacks at college, they judge me for spending too long in the bathroom, and make off-handed comments about how I should be in class.

I really just don't know what to do and I need help, because it's ruining my life and I'm so scared for my future.
 

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Hi there,

Firstly you can be proud of yourself for having asked for help. I have 2 teenage daughters and I would like to think that they would have the same courage.

It looks like your parents are not getting the picture - and you need their support. I think you need to sit down with them and really tell them all about it. Pick a time when they can give you all of their attention and make sure they realize it is important for you.

If you don't feel you can tell them, simply write it down so they get the picture. Write it calmly and clearly. tell them that lots of people have this (1 in 5 adults in the US) and that this is not some kind of fad you are going through. It is very hard for anyone who doesn't have IBS to understand it. But you need to get the message through.

Ask them to write you a letter for school. Or ask your doctor to do so (he can contact the clinic if necessary).

Ask your doctor to test you for SIBO and Candida too. For details see: https://sickofibs.com/ibs-symptoms/sibo-for-ibs-sufferers-who-have-tried-everything-part-one/

Maybe you should consider changing school - there must be one closer. Or maybe you want to stay at your current school.

I can understand you are living on noodles because it is what you feel safe with. But you need a more balanced diet. Ask your parents to help you with this.

Google "low Fodmap foods" and try to add in some of those, and see how you go. Staying away from processed foods and sugar as much as possible can help.

You may find your IBS is being fuelled at least in part by stress. https://sickofibs.com/well-being/a-powerful-ibs-stress-hack/

An article about what foods you may be reacting to: https://sickofibs.com/ibs-triggers/food-intolerance-and-ibs-what-are-you-reacting-to/

I hope some of this helps you. Don't get kicked out of college. Your parents' job is to help you. And your job is to help them understand what you need.

Alison:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the help! I'm afraid my doctor wouldn't be able to write me a letter for college because we'd still have to pay money for it. As for changing colleges, we're so far in the year that I can't, and there are no closer colleges that do music, which is what I'm interested in. To be honest, I've come home angry or upset about my teachers so often that I am worried for my parents to talk to my teachers, because they certainly are angry - and really, they don't know what to do, and they've left it in my hands. Meds not working? I need to go get myself in the doctors. IBS playing up badly? Doctors. And I have to do it all myself, and try to get in on my one day off. They haven't helped me change my diet except cutting out unhealthy foods (which has helped, but not enough) and they tried to get me into counselling since I have autism and anxiety too, but counselling really did not help at all.

If I try to sit down with my parents it would usually end up in a fight. I tried to explain why I was scared to go to college, and they basically told me to get over it because of my low attendance. Whenever I try to explain how much pain and discomfort I'm in, I get limited sympathy. My parents are great, they've raised 4 kids including me and they're not bad parents at all. But I was the first kid with both mental and physical problems. They also think I'm lazy because at the moment the only thing that sorts out my stomach is to try to sleep through it - if I get diarrhea in the morning I'll just sleep through the day and generally bar a couple of trips to the bathroom it does sort itself out, but being active and moving around lots irritates my stomach even more and gives me more hassle. My teachers and friends think I'm lazy too. I pulled out of a trip I'm going to because of my IBS and anxiety, and I lost a friend over it.
 

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See a doctor immediately if you don't find helpful advice for your problem on this forum. In general, waiting for advice from strangers is not a good idea. Only highly qualified medical professionals can diagnose you after various examinations. Then they prescribe a course of treatment and monitor the dynamics of your disease. I went to medical school for four years. During my studies, I had to deal with all kinds of diseases. When I applied to study there, I was interested in how to get a diagnostic medical sonography degree. Of course, initially, we studied general medicine. This is such a voluminous science that always has something new for you to offer. Get well!
 
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