Digestion Troubles

Hey Everyone.  Just a forewarning, this might be a bit TMI so read at your own free will…

I haven’t talked much about this on the blog, other than whining about having stomach issues, so without getting super detailed, here’s the problem.

Currently, I am having a very hard time keeping anything I eat in my body for more than a few hours, which in turn is affecting my mood, energy levels, and things I can or want to eat.  It doesn’t help that I spend so much time away from any food or bathroom sources, if you catch my drift.  I has taken a serious effect on my effort towards exercise, so running has been on the way side.  I am also getting extremely bloated when I eat too much or wait too long to eat, in which my abdominal area will distend pretty far and make me look about 5 months pregnant.  It’s extremely painful and a heating pad and water is the only thing that really helps.

gut paranoia

I have been to the doctor’s in town, where I explained my family history when it comes to digestive issues.  I’m one of the unfortunate ones who family is plagued with digestive issues including Crohn’s Disease and Colitis.  Yep, I’m that lucky girl.

So with that in mind, the severity of the situation and the length of time in which this has been going on (ie more months than I’d like to admit) I finally went to the doctors and asked for some help.  He decided that with my family history it was possible I could have anything from Crohn’s to Colitis to IBS that he would first start with flushing out my system with some antibiotics to see if it would help.

I’ve spent the past two weeks taking bacteria and parasite ridding drugs to see if it would help but unfortunately I ended up with another symptom, going to the bathroom being quite painful (like I’m bent over and crawling to the bathroom kind of pain. Yeah, it hurts) and the pills made me extremely queasy (I have been living off of ginger chews and thank god for them!)

After talking all of it over with my Dad and Mom, I am going back to the doctor this week because I should not be in pain like that, it is not normal in any way shape or form and probably some sort of inflammation of my intestines.  When I talked to the doctor the first time he said that if my symptoms didn’t go away or get any better, the next best step would be to get a colonoscopy.  I am totally not looking forward to that because…ew.  That’s just gross.

Anyhow, there is the situation.  Hopefully this will help you understand why I haven’t been blogging much about the food I’ve been eating, making or any exercise (if any).  It helps explain my grumpiness (which I profusely apologize for) and will hopefully get batter as we figure out what is going on.

Some people I have explained this to asked if I had changed any of my eating habits and other than eliminating dairy from my diet, nothing else has changed.  I have tried to eat as much whole foods as possible to keep anything foreign out of my system, but as you can tell, it’s not helping one way or the other.  I have had many tell me that I eat too much fiber, in the form of fruits and vegetables, because I basically have one or the other for every meal and snack, but it’s the best thing I can do when it comes to work in the field.

So there you have it.  Hopefully it won’t scare you away and I’ll keep you updated if anything else happens…well, if you even want to know.  Too TMI?

Haha.  Salut!

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26 Responses to Digestion Troubles

  1. Katy says:

    That sounds really awful, Melissa! I hope you have someone looking after you!

    I can relate when it comes to an awful bloaty tummy. I’ve found that certain foods set it off whereas others are just fine. Ever since I’ve started following the FODMAPs diet, however, I’ve been feeling HEAPS better! Have you ever heard of it? Basically it’s cutting out certain sugars for a certain period of time and then once you’ve rid yourself of all symptoms, you slowly reintroduce those foods to see you tolerance levels. This diet is primarily for those with IBS or with fructose, lactose and other sugar intolerances.

    I would recommend it as it sounds as though it could definitely help you!

    Best of luck

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Katy! I had looked into the Fodmaps diet and tried it for a bit, but it didnt’ seem to make a difference so I stopped. I unfortunately have a family history of digestive diseases so that doesn’t help my situation and may be a super huge factor. I guess I’ll have to see what the doctor says when I go back!

  2. sorry about your GI tract issues :( i hope it clears up soon and that the doctor figures out what the problem is soon enough!!

  3. Angie says:

    Hi – I had something very similar happen a year and a half ago. Long story short, I had been vegan for 6+ months. My diet was completely balanced with quinoa, legumes, etc. Very few processed foods. For whatever reason, I started the day OK and by the end I looked pregnant. (I have two kids so my husband confirmed I looked like I was in the second trimester.) The tipping point occurred when I woke up looking pregnant and my stomach was so painful I didn’t want my boys to hug me because it hurt. I gave up on doctors because they were freaking me out and the testing was endless. I made a deal with my husband, I would try some meat if eliminating things on the IBS list didn’t work. The tried eliminating foods known to trigger IBS, but no luck. Things seemed worse. I ate some meat and oddly felt a little better. I eliminated gluten completely and ate meat and things were back to normal. Within a week all was well. Around that time I read a great post from the Fitnessista about how she wants to be a vegetarian, but her body seems to need some meat and she needs to feel good to do good things (I’m paraphrasing). That helped me get through. I think it’s great for others to be vegan, vegetarian, etc., but after being a proud vegan, I realize that my body (at this point in life), needs something it gets from meat. I’m not saying that this will help you, but it was my experience. I felt SO BAD that I tried it and it worked. I only offer it as a suggestion. I tried going vegan again, but I had a lot of fatigue and weakness (exercise was not happening and I need some activity to help keep me sane) so I accepted the fact that a little meat goes a long way to my health. Good luck – I hope you find relief soon.

    • Melissa says:

      Interesting about the meat. I hadn’t thought of that but it is something I will bring up to my doc! I’m glad you’re feeling better though!

  4. Amy says:

    Oh Melissa I feel so sorry for you, and I can definitely sympathise. Over the past year I have had to stop eating meat (as well as for other reasons), bread, yeasted products and now all wheat completely. I have the opposite symptom to you though.
    I really hope they manage to sort everything out for you quickly, there is nothing worse than being totally in love with food, but hating what it does for you.
    Feel better soon friend :)

  5. Amy Lauren says:

    Oh Melissa, I’m so sorry that you’ve been so sick lately with tummy troubles! I have actually read about this on other blogs and honestly I’ve seen so many bloggers talk about looking pregnant after they eat, it’s really scary. A few have posted pictures so I know it’s true and not just someone freaking out because they ate a big meal (hey, we’re females, we tend to do that, including those who don’t have an ED, never had an ED, etc).

    Good luck with the colonoscopy. A few of my friends (some older, some close to our age) have had them and they said the prep was the worst (don’t wear undies you like), but the actual procedure was not that bad. Hopefully that will give them some clues as to what is wrong and they can treat it!

  6. Katie says:

    Hi Melissa, I have been suffering from similar stomach issues for awhile and finally found out last week that I have fructose malabsoption. My body lacks an enzyme to break down fruit sugar correctly, so when I eat even a piece of fruit, my body freaks out. Unfortunately, fructose is in a lot of things (especially healthy things!), but since cutting down on the amount I eat, I feel so much better. Since you pain comes after you eat, it makes me think it could be a food allergy or intolerance as well. Figuring this stuff out can be such a pain (literally and figuratively), but hang in there. You know you aren’t supposed to feel like this, so make sure you stick with it and get to the bottom of it. Get well soon!

    • Melissa says:

      I looked into the fructose malabsorption thing but I don’t think that is the case. Most of my pain comes many many hours after I’ve eaten when I need to use the restroom and makes it very painful to do anything unless I go. It’s hard to figure out, but i’m determined to get it figured out!

  7. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It sounds awful! I have IBS so I know what you’re going through, especially with looking pregnant after a meal. Ugh. I hope the doctor figures out what’s wrong.

  8. Maggie says:

    :( Digestion problems are no fun at all. I had nearly six months of pain and nausea after eating before my doctor finally figured out that I had gall stones and a malfunctioning gall bladder. Once I had my gall bladder removed, things got better rather quickly, which was a huge relief. I kept not wanting to eat because I knew I would feel horrid after, but I also knew I had to eat to keep up my energy (this was all during my SFS internship, so you know what all I had to do each day).

    I hope they work out what’s causing you all these problems very soon, or at least find something that will give you some relief while they hone in on the issue!! I’m finishing up something for you and Honey (not food) and will double my efforts so you have something exciting show up in your mail box in the near future. :) *hugs*

  9. Carey says:

    Sorry you’re suffering so much. You will figure this out. My guess is it’s something you eat or a combination. The Frustose and Fodmap thing is really important new information. I also getting terribly bloated and eating too much fruit or veggies can take me there pretty quickly. I would suggest seeing a holistic or functional medicine doctor or practitioner. Google for your area, Functional Medicine. These type of practitioners seem to be more clued in on so many things that regular doctors aren’t.
    Good luck!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for the advice Carey. I live in a very small town so I will look in the bigger cities for a holistic doctor of the sort. I have heard about the whole fructose Fodmap thing and have worked on it for a time but it did nothing. I suppose I could have done it longer to see if it had a better result but it seems to happen no matter what I eat, when I eat it, how far apart I eat it and so forth. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out!

      • Carey says:

        You’ll figure it out..My digestion and stomach was in terrible shape about 10 years ago and the only thing that helped me long term was changing my diet, seeing the right practitioner is also great support and will provide direction, however I have done most of the research myself. For me, cutting out gluten (this included oats for me) among other things was the biggest help to me. Keep us posted on your efforts, you’ll get there.

  10. Krista says:

    Even though a colonoscopy would suck, finding out what is causing you pain would be so worth it. Feeling bloated/being in pain is something I can relate to so I know how crappy it can make day to day life. I’ve been feeling better since going mostly gluten free, but still not 100%. Please keep us posted….until then, (((HUGS)))

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for the support Krista. It’s been hard to work through but hopefully by getting to the doctors and getting some tests done we’ll figure it out.

  11. Irina says:

    so sorry about your health problems, hope you manage to sort it out. In the meantime, have you tried digestive enzymes? They are harmless but work great, especially if you eat too much fibre or your body can’t digest certain things on its own. Solgar does a good blend which is also suitable for vegans.

  12. I totally understand your pain, and had very similar issues with speed of digestion, pain, etc. For me, using fiber supplementation with every meal for a few months helped remove the symptoms. Now I don’t need it every meal, but still take it with foods I know are more likely to be triggers. For me triggers are beans and grains, so going to a “paleo” diet (not eating beans and grains makes vegetarian difficult) works well, that is when I stick with it.

    I hope you figure it out soon!

    • Melissa says:

      I hadn’t talked to my doctor about the supplements you talked of but I’ll be sure to bring it up. Right now they’re more concerned about me not absorbing any of the nutrients I’m taking in and losing them in the process.

      • It’s just benefiber. :)

        I went through all sorts of tests, and was finally told I have IBS-D. During the diagnosis I ended up loosing a lot of weight and actually falling underweight, which led to a host of other issues.

        Fiber, plus cutting out avacado, chickpeas, most beans, and cooked apples is the best I’ve felt in years. I still have off days, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

  13. Crohn’s disease can be very painful. It runs in my son’s father side of the family. I know that for my son’s dad, he will keel over in pain. We thought my son had it for a while. So, I kind of know what you are going through.

    Then you have my mother who can’t keep anything in her system. Heard she may have a severe case of IBS. I don’t know why the docs haven’t found anything. But it causes her mental fatigue, too. Like not wanting to eat anything. yikes.

    Have you tried a raw food diet? If you do try it, transition slowly – introduce raw foods slowly. if not, you will frequent bloating and constipation due to introducing high fiber food to fast.

    I really do hope you find a way to alleviate your condition. Best wishes.

    • Melissa says:

      Yeah, with the combo of colitis and crohn’s disease in my family I don’t know what is going to happen to my digestive system! I have watched my dad for years go through the motions of flare ups with his crohn’s and lose up to 10lbs in a week! It can be super harsh, which is what I’m afraid of, but I’m trying to do everything I can to not make it any worse!

  14. Erin says:

    Hi there! I just starting reading your blog and sincerely appreciate your struggle. I am 24 and went though very similar last year. Yes it is a bit gross, but if having the procedure done helps to get you on the road to wellness it is well worth it! Take in heart in the fact that there are many of us who have been there and are there.

  15. M says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I have been through this as well and have some suggestions to take to your doctor:
    -get tested for Celiac’s- with a biopsy (hello colonscopy!) not blood test (too many false negatives). There is some new research suggesting links between anorexia and Celiac’s- you can google the papers, but in short, Celiac’s can exacerbate anxiety and lead to abnormal eating patterns and restriction because food/eating=pain.
    -get tested for food allergies
    -you have a pretty sweet food diary to reference, see if any foods are associated with the worst of the pain, but also see how your period fits into the mix. Hormones can intensify IBS and other issues.
    -get an ultrasound of your ovaries (intravaginal, yay more fun). Ovarian cysts can cause digestive issues and are not uncommon for young women.
    Talk about TMI… good luck and don’t give up…this is not forever, just right now

    • Melissa says:

      I was talking to a few friends this weekend and they were telling me about women who have/had eating disorders seem to have more digestive issues than others. I had never taken that into consideration but I will bring it up to either my doctor or the GI specialist my Dad goes to, whom I’m going to visit for my problems. We’re going through a round of tests so we’ll see what happens. I also am hoping to see a nutritionist to look at my diet to see if I’m missing something or have too much of something.

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