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The Age Your IBS Began

Few diagnoses affect the population as widely as IBS does — and yet, it is one of the trickier diagnoses to catch. IBS causes many similar symptoms to 12 other diseases, including Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, lactose intolerance, gallstones and a handful of others.

No wonder it can take a while to diagnose.

Many in the community lived with IBS for years, if not decades, before getting diagnosed. Others of you knew shortly after symptoms first appeared.

We asked, you answered

To learn more about your experiences with IBS, we reached out on the IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Facebook page, asking: “Fill in the blank: I started having IBS symptoms when I was ____ years old.”

More on this topic

We received comments from 238 members. Clearly, this was a hot topic.

Here’s what you had to say.

“I was about 7 or 8 when symptoms started.”

A few of you shared that you were diagnosed as a young kid — which brought some relief early on. But the downside has been living with the diagnosis for most of your life.

“When I was 7 or 8 years old, I first noticed, especially after we would go out to eat. I am now 44 and have intermittent fluctuations between constipation and diarrhea.”

“I was about 7 or 8 when symptoms started. I was diagnosed at 11. I am 47 now... so that is a long time to suffer with IBS.”

“I first noticed at 14/15 but was not diagnosed until 30.”

Several of you shared that you started having symptoms as a teenager, but did not receive a diagnosis until you were in your 30s. This can happen for so many reasons. Sometimes parents simply believe their child will outgrow whatever is happening, or they may think that a poor diet is the root cause. Sometimes it takes years if doctors are not drawing the right conclusions or asking the right questions.

“I first noticed at 14/15 but was not diagnosed until 30.”

“Symptoms started at 14 and I am now 35. They believe my IBS is linked to a traumatic experience. Hypnotherapy helped me uncover it. Counseling helped as well, as I could not leave the house at one point!”

“I was 56 when I first had IBS.”

For others of you, IBS came on only later in life—and often for unknown reasons. A few of you thought you knew what had triggered the onset, but the answer still looms.

“I was 56 when I first had IBS. I asked my doctor if my gallbladder removal was the cause of it, and he said no, that it would only cause diarrhea. I also have constipation so my gallbladder has nothing to do with my constipation. I drink MiraLAX twice a day and a probiotic once a day and I go normally but I still have to watch what I eat but I am a lot better.”

“My IBS started at age 40. I am now 66. I also have fibromyalgia.”

Others of you were diagnosed later in life, with the IBS showing up as a result of another disease, such as fibromyalgia or other diseases connected to issues of the gut.

“My IBS started at age 40. I am now 66. I also have fibromyalgia. IBS is one of the symptoms of fibro.”

“I was about 54. Now I am 67. It started a few years after I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. I have a very restricted diet.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared. By telling your stories, you help normalize all the ways that IBS shows up in life.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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