About 10 years ago I started developing a sensitivity to sugary foods. If I ate any treats I would have diarrhea for a couple of days after. I've had anxiety issues all my life so that only seemed to compound the issue. I'd worry whenever there wasn't a washroom available. At work I would have to wait for an hour after starting for them to unlock the washrooms, so I would find myself in a panic on the way to work. Sometimes I would stop at a gas station on the way, others I would find myself squatting in the bushes. If I knew there was a washroom available I was usually fine. I ended up going to meds for anxiety, and moved jobs which made things easier.
My symptoms only seemed to worsen over time. Fighting through the embarrassment I eventually saw my doctor, and he felt it was food triggered. I have always had a sweet tooth. Since sugar seemed to be a major trigger he felt it was related to bad bacteria in my gut. I ended up going on some pretty strong probiotics which seemed to help for a time. I couldn't afford the antibiotics prescribed to kill the bad bacteria, and insurance refused to cover them. Eventually they stopped working. I stopped taking my anxiety meds and probiotics, and everything seemed to clear up over the span of two weeks. Thinking it was caused by my anxiety meds, I suffered through my anxiety as it was easier than dealing with my GI issues.
I felt amazing for months. I could eat anything, and admittedly overindulged in sweets. After around 6 months my symptoms all came roaring back. I again tried the same regime of probiotics to little effect. Immodium and food avoidance were my only solutions. I should mention I was taking heavy antihistamines at the time for 6+ months as my allergies seemed to be getting much worse.
Anxiety through the roof
After months of suffering with symptoms I stopped my antihistamine, and within 2 weeks my symptoms disappeared. I figured maybe my body had a problem with long term medication use. I was still fairly careful about foods, and managed to get a few months with just minor symptoms, usually after sweet foods which I had significantly limited - only a bit on special occasions.
Like before, my symptoms again came back and have only gotten worse. I feel bloated and gassy literally all the time, regardless of what I eat. I have diarrhea all the time, fatigue, my anxiety is through the roof, and I am totally depressed. I am afraid of going anywhere because most public washrooms are closed thanks to COVID. I have started taking generic versions of Beano digestive and Gas-X which have greatly helped, and I am going to try a different probiotic supposedly designed specifically for IBS suffers. Also going to talk to my doctor again. I've not been officially diagnosed with IBS. Last night noticed that the Black Panther actor died from colon cancer, and that sent me into a massive panic attack as colon cancer runs in my family; albeit has always happened in old age and I'm only in my mid 30's. I've not seen any blood in my stool, but have seen mucus which seems to indicate IBS. Regardless, my anxiety has me convinced it is something awful now.
Do you think there is enough awareness of IBS?