My Experience

A New Diagnosis

This post is about a new diagnosis that requires information on bodily fluids. If you’re sensitive to bodily functions, come back on Monday for a different article. For those of you who have stayed, welcome. Let’s talk about stomach problems. I have had stomach problems for years. The majority of people in my family have one issue or another. I have chronic diarrhea. On my worst days I have diarrhea at least eight times a day. It is painful for a lot of different reasons.

Along with diarrhea, I have intense bloating and stomach discomfort. I often can’t eat without having to go to the bathroom within twenty minutes. It’s a vicious cycle. When I was first diagnosed with POTS, a Gastroenterology told me this was part of that. There was no way to resolve my stomach issues because they would always be tied to my nervous system.

I took that advice to heart and did my best to ignore the symptoms. For a while, the problems went down. My vegan diet helped eliminate some of the discomfort. Suddenly in the middle of June, my stomach problems came back with a vengeance. Of course this makes sense now. I got off of my acid reducer after a recall of Zantac. After everything came back, I needed help. I reached out once again to the GI team.

This time, I saw a different physician. She was kind and attentive. She was shocked that the last doctor didn’t attempt to provide me with any relief. We determined that more testing was the best route to go. After a lot of stool collection, which was disgusting by the way, I got an answer. BAM or Bile Acid Malabsorption, in layman’s terms I have too much stomach acid. Not just a little bit too much, I have enough stomach acid to support ten healthy humans. That’s a lot of acid.

The doctor started me on a medication to help control how my intestines absorb the acid. This should fix all of my symptoms. The bloating, stomach discomfort, excessive diarrhea, and everything else is explained by BAM. I can’t believe the answer was that simple. Now, the testing for this was extensive. It was two days of constant stool collection. Which is a lot when you’re going eight times in one day. Overall, I feel relieved. I don’t have to just deal with difficult symptoms. There’s part of me that’s frustrated. The other doctor was well within his right to offer me this test. He could’ve at least offered me techniques for symptom management. I could have tried dietary or lifestyle changes. He didn’t even attempt to help me.

Frustration aside, I’ll give you an update of how things are going in a couple months. It could take a while for the medication to work. It may also require trying more than one medication to find the right one. Either way, seek out a doctor who listens. This story is all too familiar in the medical community. Trust yourself, you know your body.

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