Tummy Talk.

Let’s talk about digestive issues!

This is a new one, isn’t it? I promise I’m not trying to steal Dooce’s topic. It’s pure coincidence that her random stomach pains started around the same time mine did.

So, after years of weird digestive struggle I finally pinpointed my issues to be related to some sort of cellulose/plant fiber that – for the most part – seems to break apart in cooking. For the last many years I’ve done my best to avoid raw nuts and vegetables and grains that may not be prepared correctly. (Quinoa if not washed/cooked properly can still mess me up.) Every once in awhile I get a bit of guacamole or a twig of undercooked broccoli and I find myself miserable for hours.

My “misery” comes in the form of major abdominal pain/cramping and bloating. For the years while I was trying to figure out the cause/my sensitivities (or when I’ve unintentionally eaten things that trigger it), my fix is to stay in the fetal position (it tends to relieve some pain), take a lot of hot baths, drink carbonated beverages…and wait it out.

This has all been fine because I simply avoid the things I now know cause my pain. My friends and family all know this about me and life has been fine.

BUT THEN! I started having random bouts of it without an obvious trigger. I can’t remember exactly the first few times it happened because I just assumed I had someone gotten some plant fiber in a meal I was not entirely familiar with. Over the years since I figured out my dietary sensitivities, this has happened several times. Mystery dishes cause problems because they contain something I didn’t know was a trigger. I don’t lose sleep over it because it’s not all raw plant fiber and so it’s hard to pinpoint in big unknown dishes. But when we were in NYC it happened the night we got $1 pizza. There are no vegetables in pizza! PIZZA HAS NEVER BOTHERED ME. But I was sick in the same way I get sick when I have the particular uncooked/raw plant fibers.

It was very strange and upsetting because I was trying SO HARD to be careful on our trip so I didn’t “ruin” anything. And because it was so strange without any hint of a digestive trigger…I started really paying attention to things after that and you know what?

I’ve not been feeling good for awhile.

I started realizing that I actually do kinda have a frequent state of digestive discomfort in the form of cramping/bloating…it’s just kinda mild. And since NYC, I feel like I’ve had several more severe bouts of it and last night? Last night it was BAD. I ate an Impossible Whopper for lunch, something I’ve had 50 times since they came out and a few hours later I was curled up on my bathroom floor in agony. I mean, there were onions on it but I eat slices of raw onions on EVERYTHING…they’ve never before bothered me. And last night’s episode was one of my worst. It’s all mainly pain…it’s nothing lower along the track than that. To keep it polite…it never affects my…um…regularity? It’s all confined in the stomach area in the form of pain and bloat.

I’m mainly telling you all of this because I finally started googling last night and THERE ARE A LOT OF TUMMY PROBLEMS OUT THERE. Everything from gallstones to diverticulitis and so you know what? I’m going to try to go to the doctor today. Which I rarely do for…you know…random undiagnosed ailments. I go to the doctor when I know what’s wrong: I have a sinus infection. I have an ear infection. I have bad poison ivy. I never walk in and say: I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

And I have an incredible aversion to doctors so I was hoping maybe someone would have done a, “I don’t know what is wrong with me!” visit before. What do they do? Do they schedule me ultrasounds? Can they do ultrasounds on the spot? (My Family Doc is a sports med office so they have Xrays an stuff on site.) I’m assuming blood work. Will I get an MRI? How fast will any of this stuff happen?

How do doctors handle mystery ailments? Especially digestive ones? I AM NOT GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE THEM SOME OF MY POOP AM I?

4 thoughts on “Tummy Talk.”

  1. I have lots of experience with tummy issues for most of my life. It has primarily been what they call IBS. I don’t have as many problems as I did when I was younger and I attribute that to being in better control of my stress and tense personality.

    I will say that it may be gall bladder — is your pain located on one side or the other? When I had gall bladder issues and then appendix issues I went to the doctor with absolutely no idea what the hell was going on.

  2. We have lots of guts issues in my house. I have had my gall bladder removed and my 21 year old has severe ulcerative colitis. They would ultrasound for gall bladder if the symptoms point to that. My symptoms for gb were extreme pain upper middle stomach that was first triggered by greasy foods but progressed to most all food. They will probably take blood. For UC or IBS or checking for things like c-diff they will need stool samples. Probably not what you wanted to hear but I like going in with a little bit of knowledge. My daughter’s GI will give us the specimen jars, and a kit which usually contains a few tongue depressors, gloves, and a toilet “hat”.

  3. I’ve had my share of mystery stomach issues, also not effecting, um…regularity…and I’ve never had to provide a stool sample. Most often they have me schedule an endoscopy so they can look for damage/take biopsies. I’ve had quite a lot of those. And of course the bloodwork which you’re already expecting.

    In the end, mine turned out to be Celiac (with somewhat atypical symptoms) and I figured it out on my own because the doctors couldn’t. Hopefully yours is something quickly and easily identified and remedied!!

  4. I’ve had a ton of stomach issues for awhile now. I’ve done the testing and keep a journal trying to figure it out. Stress does affect your stomach. So that could be part of it. Also, I started, on advice from my doc, to take my birth control at night. And since I’ve been doing that? Not as many issues! It’s like night and day for me. Everyone is different, I hope you are able to figure it out!!

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