My Story:

Nicole's IBS story

I'm a 20 year old student who is currently studying at Southampton Solent university, however my hometown is Plymouth. Since around the age of 12 I have had bouts of symptoms related to IBS which was just something that I got on with, but for the past 2 years I have suffered very badly with symptoms in relation to IBS including frequent changes in my bowel movements - really bad constipation as well as diarrhoea, bloating and excessive wind, feeling sick all of the time, abdominal pains,blood and mucus in my stools, weight loss and extreme fatigue. I then ended up in A&E with such bad pains and I knew I couldn't go on any longer suffering like this and not getting it looked at. After many tests I was finally diagnosed with IBS which was just 3 months ago.

Since then I have been taking medication 3 times daily before my meals which is to help the spasmodic cramping people get after eating. The condition was out of hand for so long and the symptoms got worse when I went to university, which was down to the bad eating, drinking and late nights, I really hadn't been looking after myself properly, but personally I don't think IBS can be treated when you are away from home. Because of this it is taking me a long time to get better and stay well. I have good days when I have no symptoms and I feel great but then I keep having setbacks which leads to it going back to square one. I am still struggling to work out what makes my symptoms worse and I am eager to improve before I return to university.

IBS really has had an impact on my life. The condition has made me feel really down as for a long time I did not know what was wrong with me, the fact that when my symptoms are at their worst I don't want to meet with friends and I am scared when I go out for food in case it upsets me. As well as this I haven't been able to work all summer as I have been so ill and had no energy whatsoever, I have just been focusing on getting myself well again. I also haven't been able to socialise on nights out with friends as I can no longer drink alcohol as it upsets my stomach with immediate effect. I am worried about how this will impact my return to university and this summer it really has ruined my social and work life, the fact that I am so young and have IBS is horrible. As for my relationship I have a really understanding boyfriend as he knows everything about my condition, I haven't told any of my friends about it in detail as I think its an embarrassing topic in general. I hope there are people out there that can sympathise with my story, for a condition which isn't deemed that bad it really has had an impact on the quality of my life.

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