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Scared to Eat

Updated on July 4, 2016

Symptoms of IBS

IT'S NOT IBS!

After suffering from severe gastrointestinal symptoms for months, the doctor I saw did some simple, routine tests. When these tests were inconclusive, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),. In the US, an estimated 5-15% of individuals are diagnosed with IBS. While gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, pain) are especially vague, three different specialists chose to ignore my symptoms that didn't fit with their diagnosis of IBS, in order to solve my case. Medications, diet, and lifestyle changes recommended to treat IBS didn't work, because it wasn't IBS! With so many individuals in the US carrying a diagnosis of IBS, how many people are being misdiagnosed?

What Else Could It Be?

After five months of escalating symptoms, despite effective IBS treatments and dietary changes, I followed up with a new doctor that came highly recommended. The first thing he did was order some blood tests. He repeated some other procedures that were done, as he agreed that some of my symptoms did not fit with IBS. Blood tests were ordered to check for autoimmune disease, specific markers, and genetic indicators for celiac. Tests indicated high markers for Crohn's disease and a positive result for Autoimmune Disease. Autoimmune diseases, include Crohn's disease, involve the body reacting to itself with an immune response, leading to inflammation, tissue damage, and a variety of symptoms, depending on the specific disease. Following this information, more tests were ordered, to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of Crohn's. This is easier said than done, however. Crohn's can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tracts, from the mouth to the anus. In order to diagnose properly, a number of procedures and tests are conducted, that vary in the level of invasiveness. And if you're like me, many test results come back normal, while it is clear that there is a problem. Leading to even more tests. And while this is being done, the symptoms worsen.

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