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I started with IBS-D in my late twenties and it was full-blown within a few years (meaning almost every time I ate, I had to visit the bathroom suddenly and urgently within a half hour or so). Some foods bothered me more than others. Since I have a job where I cannot get up and go freely, I resorted to using immodium, eating only rice or cheese sandwiches (on white bread only) while at work, or simply not eating. Luckily, my symptoms did subside when I was pregnant both times -- maybe it was a miracle?!? -- but did come back once I was done breastfeeding. I don't know why.

I suffered like this for 15 years (just not eating when I was out or making sure I could use a bathroom freely) and then decided I had to continue testing until I could figure it out. Yes, certain foods were not triggers and I would stick to them, but sooooo much was a trigger life was just not normal. My gastroenterologist (Dr. Guttmann in Jenkintown, PA) was simply amazing! He was persistent and truly kind and caring. He did all kinds of tests, eliminating possible causes one by one.

Finally, when I was approaching the magical age of 50 (I was 48) he offered a colonoscopy and I jumped at the chance. Doctors -- for whatever reason -- don't want to do that until you're 50. It was THE thing that diagnosed the cause of my IBS. First of all, get over your fear of colonscopy -- it was no big deal. Yeah, maybe uncomfortable to drink that stuff, but keep your eye on the prize!!

Dr. Guttmann was thorough enough that he took biopsies along the way while inspecting my colon. Everything looked "normal" to him. Upon return of the biopsy he was informed that I have Collagenous Colitis. It's not extremely common, especially for someone whose symptoms began in their twenties. He prescribed me Entocort -- it's a steroid :( -- and my symptoms ceased the very next day. He prescribed three a day and I can get away with taking two. I feel like I have been more sick (colds, etc.) than ever before, but I think it's been an exceptionally bad winter, also. Yes, it does suppress my immune system, so this is definitely a tradeoff. No question that I will continue to take this forever. Google Collagenous Colitis. Google Entocort (Budesonide).

My symptoms would have never gotten better on their own -- I have a bowel condition/disease. The medicine keeps it in check, and I am happy with that. I don't press my luck too much -- sometimes I have diarrhea or urgent need to go ASAP if I eat really bad triggering foods. I am still figuring this all out, but wanted to share my story because surely there are others like me whose cause is Collagenous Colitis and prescription medication will cure the symptoms. I wish everyone's fix was a simple as mine. I empathize with you all. It's a terrible, life-altering way to live.
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