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What on earth is wrong with me?

I had had joint problems for many years, tendon problems and more recently, eye dryness, blurred vision, dry nose, dry ears, periods of extreme fatigue, and even more recently, very dry skin and genitals. Of course, I had been to see my GP and various specialists over time, but usually just with one or two of these symptoms. IBS and reflux were also on the agenda. The doctors were always kind, considerate and sympathetic, but I always felt like a heart-sink patient and began to become extremely anxious about seeking advice.

I had been told I was depressed, and possibly, I was – not surprising really, as I was struggling with getting through each day. And I began to feel my illness was ‘all in the mind’. I also developed some lung problems in that time – shown on a CT as bronchiectasis, and then asthma. Not surprising, I also acquired the label of ‘anxious patient’. 

To read more about Kathy's story and to find out her diagnosis click here

Kathy Bairstow, UK

Jemma's story

I have been a IBS sufferer for about 6 years now. I am 22 years old. It started off with weird cramping in my stomach 4-5 hours after I would eat. The pain would get so bad I had been rushed to hospital a few times because I didn't know what it was. I had all tests done and nothing was wrong, the doctors then told me I had most probably got IBS. 

The pain: starts off with mild cramping and gets worse as the attack goes on, sometimes so bad that I would be sick. I also shake as if I am cold but am sweating as if I had just worked out at the gym! My stomach makes a horrendous noise followed by bouts of diarrhoea. Every cramp is usually followed by a stomach growl but you can also feel it its like a rumble then a huge release. Then all of a sudden I have bouts of diarrhoea. After the bouts the pain subsides and its just a ache (kind of like bruising)

It effects me and gets me down as I can't eat a lot of stuff I enjoy! Eg dairy products are a no no! Anything with caffeine, barley, oats and wheat and anything spicy!. I get edgy when out because I don't know what else will set it off! I take buscopan to ease the cramps but unfortunately there's nothing to stop it :(. I hope this helps people who may think they are experiencing IBS. 

Jemma,