For over a decade I suffered from IBS-D. It started when I was around 16, when my Saturday morning bagel and cream cheese started to upset my stomach. I eventually ditched the cream cheese on my own and started avoiding dairy, but when we mentioned to my doctor that we thought I might be lactose intolerant, they just handed me an informational print-out and sent me on my way.
In college is when it got a lot worse—almost everything set me off and sent me running to the bathroom. I’d make loud, embarrassing noises in the stall. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I went to a gastroenterologist, who told me I had IBS. That was the first I learned of the term! She prescribed me to some pill, but now that I had a name for my illness, I checked about a bunch of books about IBS from the library and did lots of reading and learning.
I started to learn how diet has such a big effect, and wondered why my doctor hadn’t asked me more about diet. When I went to my follow-up with no change, she prescribed me another pill. I stopped taking them when I read about the scary withdrawal symptoms and since I couldn’t tell a difference with or without them.
Over the next five years I completely cut out dairy and then gradually added more whole foods into my diet as I slowly ate less processed food. Two years after that and now at age 29 I eat a 95% vegan diet and have had solid BMs for the past year and a half—the first of my adult life!
This has actually been the short story of my long journey. If you’re interested in reading the full account, I’ve written out my story in this PDF: “My Decade Living with IBS-D.” My hopes are that it’ll make someone feel less alone, provide encouragement and inspiration, and/or show that big transformation happens one day at a time.