Finding The Cause Vs. Suppressing Symptoms
Last updated: October 2023
For a couple of months, I felt really good. With minimal daily symptoms, only occasional IBS-D flares and a pretty well-rounded gluten-free diet, my life almost felt normal for a while. But, of course, this never lasts. This time, instead of having a normal flare, I got something closely resembling a stomach bug. Only it couldn’t have been one, because no one else in my family had it.
For a day, I had terrible diarrhea until I was practically passing bile. Nausea, stomach cramps, fatigue – it was all there, although I never threw up. But instead of going away like a normal stomach bug, these symptoms decided to stick around.
From the second day onwards, I was feeling a lot better. But my digestive system never recovered. Any food except small quantities of white rice, steamed chicken and apple sauce would cause bloating and nausea, then cramping and diarrhea. For two weeks, I saw that my body was unable to digest anything at all.
Not my normal IBS
Now, maybe these symptoms might sound like IBS at first. But that’s not how my IBS usually manifests. Yes, I do get weird bowel movements with my IBS when I’m in a flare, but not like that. Not like there’s just bile coming out of me.
Now, the last time I had symptoms like that, it ended up being a bacterial infection. I had waited for over a month to go to the doctor for fear that he wouldn’t listen, but ended up being lucky that he prescribed me the right antibiotics. Because of course, he refused to do any tests.
A trip to the doctor, part 1
This time, I decided that I didn’t want to wait a month. Especially since I had googled my symptoms and found out that I could have anything from IBD to pancreatic cancer or C.diff. Please don’t be like me and don’t google your symptoms!
Since my usual doctor is in another town and I didn’t feel like driving there, I booked a telehealth appointment. And it got me nowhere at all. The doctor barely even listened to what I said and just prescribed me a bunch of anti-diarrhea medication.
Is it good to suppress symptoms?
This was not at all what I wanted. I didn’t need medication because yes, I still mostly had diarrhea, but some days I only used the bathroom twice. My main issue was that all my food was passing through me undigested.
I went home to at least look at the medication, but when I saw that it wasn’t even safe for breastfeeding (which I am still doing), I was absolutely sure that I didn’t want to try it.
A trip to the doctor, part 2
After the first telehealth fiasco, I gave in and booked an appointment with my usual doctor. And this time, I’m not going to leave until he prescribes me some tests. Because no matter what this is, I’m not interested in suppressing the symptoms my body uses to communicate. Something is clearly not right, and I want to know what that is.
And while I really do hope that it’s nothing serious, and I really, really don’t want to do another stool test, I know that it’s best to know the cause. Now, wish me luck that I actually convince my doctor and don’t walk out of my appointment with another medication that I don’t need.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?