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Meet Emma, a 24-year-old IBS patient who has kindly (and bravely) teamed up with The Functional Gut clinic in order to help give a unique insight into a patient’s view of living with IBS & IBD.
Emma aims to tackle the real issues surrounding people’s day-to-day lives; address stigmas and most importantly give hope and inspiration to people living with chronic conditions. Her message is simple: it’s not the end of the world; don’t give up, together we can find better ways to cope and manage.
To suggest a topic or treatment for Em to cover next month please comment below.
My names Emma, I’m 24 and have been suffering from IBS for as long as I can remember.
I have always had problems with my stomach and feeling ill. I remember when I was around 5 or 6 I would purposely drink apple juice because I knew it would make me sick so that I didn’t have to go to school. The pains and the illness began to get worse around 13/14 years old when I was starting secondary school. I would have excruciating stomach pains every day, often feel nauseas, feel so tired would struggle to make it through the day without either having a nap or going to bed extremely early – and not to mention the usual embarrassing side effect s which come with any illness to do with the Gut and intestines. It was at this point that I first went to the doctors to see if they could help me to find out what was wrong.
After 10 years of attending hospital appointments, doctors appointments, various horrible tests including several endoscopies, colonoscopies, key hole laparoscopies and countless different types of medication, the doctors are still no further forward on what is wrong or what I can do to feel like me rather than half of the person I am half of the time.
Although the consultants now believe that It could be Ulcerative Colitis (which is ulcers in the intestine) as it can be difficult to diagnose, they are referring to it as IBS until the tests turn positive for something else. And as many know, there is no cure to IBS and even the doctors say conflicting ideas to how to treat it and make the symptoms easier to manage.
Why I choose to start blogging - I really felt that there was not enough research into IBS and other gut and intestine issues, and this became apparent just before Christmas 2015 when I was ill, that for about the 3rd or 4th time in my life I had been passing blood when going to the toilet and was no longer holding fluids in – Its pretty gross I know but to be honest you have to be blunt when explaining this otherwise people who don’t suffer won’t understand what you go through. I felt so ill that I went up to A &E, I was desperate for answers even if it was just to feel better. I was seen by a A & E doctor and she sat me down and said ‘all you have is a tummy ache, everyone has one , there’s nothing we can do’. At this point I burst into tears and hysterically said to her ‘are you really saying I am making this up?’, the doctor wanted to discharge me but I refused and told them I would not be leaving until I saw a Gastro specialist. I sat in A & E for 9 hours until a consultant came down, this was the first time someone had actually given me the time of day and explained that they would suggest to my consultant who I was seeing in a couple of weeks what it could be, possible tests and he also gave me medication to start. It was at this point that I decided it was time to take a stand and make people aware that any Gasto illness is more than just your run of the mill stomach-ache but actually consistently affects my life, relationships and mental health.