I am a 23 year old female. At the age of 13, I developed anorexia. My digestive system changed a little but by 21, after i had received help, I wanted to eat normally again, my digestive system didn't agree. It got progressively worse after a horrible bout with the stomach flu. 12 hours of puking and diarrhea and then low fevers and fatigue on and off for five weeks. After that my digestive system went from bad to worse.
Everything I ate bothered my stomach meaning I had horrible bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. I began having "episodes" and during those episodes it felt like someone was ringing out my intestines like a wet towel. I also had diarrhea and was incredibly nauseous. My whole body got sweaty and hot and I had to take off all my clothes. During these episodes I wished I wasn't alive. These episodes became so frequent and the abdominal pain became so bad that I was forced to stop working, postpone grad school, and stop doing physical activities. I didn't want to leave the house and I had HORRIBLE anxiety being in cars because several times I almost didn't make it to the bathroom. I would cry every day because I was so uncomfortable and miserable.
I finally saw a GI doctor and he talked to me for ten minutes and told me I had IBS and to go home and take fiber and probiotics and to come back in 8 months (not helpful). I called another GI doctor and at first he was great and said he would help me even if the tests didn't show anything. Test after test came back normal including colonoscopy and endoscopy. He told me he would have a plan to treat IBS and after finally getting ahold of him he told me he would prescribe an antidepressant. However, I had done plenty of research about IBS and antidepressants do not effectively treat IBS.
IBS is not idiopathic. I have read a lot about it in books such as Digestive Health with Real Food by Aglaee Jacob, M.S., R.D. There is also a very good article, " 5 Simple Steps to Cure IBS without Drugs" by Dr. Mark Hyman. After reading the article and sections on IBS in the book, I decided I want to actually treat the underlying causes of my IBS and contacted a naturopathic doctor who specializes in treating these underlying causes. I am now, after 3 months of pure and absolute HELL, finally being treated effectively. If you are in my situation, do not stop until you find a doctor who will treat you the way you want to be treated.
Don't let doctors just throw antidepressants and anti diarrhea drugs at you. Alternating between drugs is not the answer. IBS does have root causes that vary from person to person so I encourage you to find a doctor who will actually help treat your IBS. Be strong and do not stop until you are satisfied with your doctor and your treatment.