Hi all. I'm Nikki, and I've been struggling with chronic GI symptoms for about 3 years now. Long story short is that my doctor thinks it's probably IBS-C, and I've come here as a sort of last resort to seek advice. I assume many of you have been through similar experiences and, as you'll see in a bit, I think I might be starting to trust experience over most doctors.
I'm hoping you can tell me what/if I should do something next before settling for this diagnosis. And then, if you think the diagnosis is probably correct, what should I do from here?
Once or twice a month, I get severe bloating, constipation, nausea, and belching. I sometimes get stomach cramps that are similar to when you have the stomach flu. And occasionally, with these symptoms, I have extreme fatigue. I usually have to call in to work because I feel like I'm going to hurl.
Tests I've had done:
Upper abdominal ultrasound in 2018. No blockage of any bile ducts, problems with the gall bladder or pancreas.
Full metabolic blood panel, at least twice since 2018. No visible issues. No issues with thyroid.
Food allergy blood panel, testing 92 foods. Very very slight IgEs for corn, cucumber, garlic, ginger, lemon, milk, mustard, oat, green pea, sesame seed, soybean, strawberry, tomato, and wheat. Test for celiac was negative. I'm a vegetarian and can almost guarantee that at least half to 3/4 of these ingredients are not a trigger for me. After doing even just a little research on these types of test, it's pretty evident that they're not reliable for small allergies.
Mail-in fecal occult blood test. Negative.
Mail-in h. pylori stool test. Negative.
Vaginal ultrasound several months ago to check for cysts/signs of ovarian cancer. Nothing.
Colonoscopy several days ago. All good.
Things I've tried:
Low FODMAP diet. STARVING, and you will notice that a lot of what is okay in that diet is also included on my mild allergy results.
I feel like I've tried everything at this point. The time between eating foods and the onset of symptoms is often so far apart (5 days, sometimes!) that I don't know how to be sure what is causing it. I'm honestly even more confused than when I began this journey. I feel like it all started after 2 events:
1. In 2016 I had a case of food poisoning that left me violently ill for two days.
2. In early 2018 I began tapering off the SNRI Effexor, which is famous for its withdrawal symptoms. It was brutal. I had terrible nausea, gas, dizziness, and brain shocks.
I feel like things haven't been the same since these. I'm 28 years old, slightly overweight (5' 3", 148 pounds), and probably drink a bit too much alcohol (at least a couple drinks a night). This could all factor in, but I feel like it doesn't account for all the problems I've been having.
Who do I go to next? Should I learn to live with this as IBS? And how do I begin?