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Loos talk - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Loos talk
Cross-posted from theladiesloos. I don't know how to do a proper x-post on LJ, so I'll just say that if you've read it there, you don't need to read it here.

I'm SO FED UP. Since the beginning of May I've had stomach cramps and pain/discomfort, like having trapped wind all the time. It comes and goes, it's usually grumbling away in the background, sometimes it's just a vague feeling of not-quite-right, other times (like right now) it's bad enough to make me just want to curl up in a ball and whimper. Even when it's not too bad it makes me feel bloated and miserable and utterly unsexy (it's really hard to feel attractive when you're constantly farting like an old dog).

I've been to the doctor a couple of times. The answer, basically, is "we've no idea what's wrong with you". He's done various tests and they've all come back normal. I've got an appointment booked for next Thursday, and this morning I was tempted to try to ring up and get a sooner appointment, but I decided there was no point -- the condition isn't going to go away before then, but it's unlikely to worsen any more than this before then, and besides, they're not going to be able to get me an appointment outside work hours, and I can't call in sick with trapped wind, for god's sake. It never seems like it's quite bad enough at any one time to justify claiming that I'm too ill to go to work. It just goes on and on and on, and it wears me out.

In the meantime, nothing seems to make any difference. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat, or when I eat, or if I eat; indigestion remedies do nothing, the stuff the doctor prescribed the last two times did nothing; it doesn't seem to make any difference whether I stand or sit or lie down. There's nothing I can do, and I hate being helpless like this, I just want to know what it is and whether it's finite and whether there's anything I can do to cure it or even alleviate it. If somebody said "Right, you're allergic to everything except rice and water," then even that would be better; sure, I'd never be able to enjoy eating again, but at least I'd know that I could do something.

In addition to the stomach pains I'm getting worse and worse moodswings and attacks of depression. It's like something just bubbling up inside, there doesn't seem to be any way to stop it, I just start feeling nervy and angry and queasy and then something somebody says will trigger me and I'll just be spiralling down into awfulness. I don't even know how to explain it when I'm not actually in that state, it's just like everything burning up inside me, like a red mist, and I end up crying and shouting and being angry and violent and miserable. It's more like a fit or something than a 'moodswing'.

The moodswings seem to be coming in cycles of about 2 weeks, in line with the cycle of my Pill. I've been on the Pill for 10+ years (on this particular one for most of that time), and I've suffered from depression for all of that time (and then some), but it's only quite recently that my life's been settled enough in other ways for me to be able to observe the pattern like that. And the depression started before I went on the Pill, so it'd never really occurred to me that they might be connected. As for the stomach problems in relation to the Pill -- I've always had wind and dodgy bowels when I have my period, but judging from recent conversations on here that seems to be quite normal; but this recent stomach thing is more constant and seemed to come on very suddenly back in May -- so it seems unlikely that it's a result of something I've been taking for this long. I'd be happy to come off the Pill, less happy to try changing to different Pills as I don't want to spend the next howevermany months changing from Pill to Pill and never being sure whether it's the change or the type of Pill or other factors altogether that are making a difference (if any difference is made).

I want to tell the doctor all this, but every time I go to the doc with any physical symptom he asks if I'm depressed, and I know that as soon as I say the magic word "depression" all the physical symptoms will immediately be written off as the hypochondriac imaginings of a neurotic woman, and if I refuse to take YET MORE fucking antidepressants it'll be considered evidence that I "just don't want to get better". (Despite the fact that EVERY TIME I've taken ADs they've not helped at all and given me bad side-effects.)

There just seem to be too many factors altogether, it's impossible to do any sort of controlled experiment, and it's understandable that the doctor just looks at this mess and thinks "Hmm, obviously just a hypochondriac, just wants attention." But I'm not making it up, and I'd be quite happy to never have any attention again from the medical profession as a whole, and I do want to fix it, but I don't know how to untangle it all. I hate it. I want to outsource my entire digestive/reproductive system to Elbonia while they sort out what's wrong with it.
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atreic From: atreic Date: August 25th, 2005 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I never used to get PMT before I was on the pill, and when I went on Ovranette I would get moodswings right at the end of the packet, for about the last three days I was taking pills. They weren't too bad (I just tended to burst into floods of tears over little things) so I just kept taking it, until eventually I went on Implanon and the "PMT", or whatever it was, went away as the M did...

simonb From: simonb Date: August 25th, 2005 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Your description of trapped wind is very familiar to me - its basically a symtom of IBS. There are times when I've wanted to have a small valve installed in my side so I could bleed off the trapped wind and reduce the pain-related pressure in my gut.

I'm surprised that your GP hasn't suggested doing something like an exclusion diet to rule out food allergies or similar though - its normally the first port of call for western medicine. Personally I'd look at changing GPs if you feel that your current GP is not taking you seriously.

One problem I've encountered is that whilst western-style medicine is very good with what is best described as critical care, it really falls down when it comes to systemic problems because the human body is an incredibly complex organism and we're nowhere even close to understanding how all of it works as an entire system yet.

WRT the LJ cross posting - AFAIAA its not possible to do a cross-post in the Usenet sense within LJ. Its one of the failings of most web-based discussion systems IME. Implementing a cross-post facility would potentially be tricky as well given security related stuff, tracking of comments, etc.
j4 From: j4 Date: August 25th, 2005 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I really don't see how it can be diet-related. I've not made any changes to my diet, the stomach problems (at the level they're at now) came on suddenly and the only things I'd had to eat/drink recently were things I'd been having all my life; also, since they've started, it really doesn't seem to make any difference what I eat or even whether I eat.

I did ask my GP though, last time, and he agreed that from what I'd told him of the symptoms it was very unlikely that it was diet-related. He hasn't even mentioned IBS, either, despite the fact that it seems to be a very fashionable diagnosis at the moment. AIUI, though, IBS is a fairly vague blanket term for lots of symptoms with no other explanation, so perhaps the GP wants to try other things before just effectively saying "Yes, you've got a dodgy stomach that we can't cure, we can give it a fancy name if you like"?

And, to be honest, I'm with him on that. I really do want to try everything else possible before just giving in to the idea that I'll never be able to eat normally again.
nomme From: nomme Date: August 25th, 2005 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Your symtoms sound similar to what my girl friend went through. She was back and forth to the doctors like a yo-yo. It took ages to discover what was wrong with her. It turned out to be an ovarian cyst.
I hope this isn't what you have and I dont wish to worry you unnecessarily, but if you can I would suggest you attempt to get a referal for an ultrasound scan.
aldabra From: aldabra Date: August 25th, 2005 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Mmm. I had ovarian cysts after years on the pill. Upside is that it seems easy enough to deal with once they diagnose it.

Janet, you're SURE you're not pregnant?
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: August 25th, 2005 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Trapped wind sounds very much like an IBS symptom to me - I get it combined with continual farting. My own strategies for dealing with it (it being IBS as a whole - I don't get the trapped wind thing too often) have been:

(a) writing down exactly what I'm eating & subsequent bowel motions to attempt to work out what causes particular symptoms

(b) trying to avoid dairy. I've switched to goat's cheese. I'm not doing particularly well at this - it's very hard to avoid dairy 'cos lots of things you wouldn't expect contain it. But I'm not at all sure that dairy is causing my problems, having attempted to avoid it for a while, so I'm going back to eating a bit of it.

(c) kind of related to the above - trying to find out if I'm lactose intolerant, by drinking a pint of milk and seeing what happened. There are proper tests for this so it's something worth suggesting to your GP.

(d) wheat is the other thing thought to cause IBSy problems. I will get round to trying to avoid wheat for a while to see if that makes a difference. The same is true of eggs.

People who find they get mood swings from the pill often get on better with patches or a vaginal ring because they've got lower doses of hormones. An IUS/IUD may also be an option. I get on very well with Cerazette (desogestrel) which is a progesterone only pill.

Mood swings every two weeks and anti-depressants not working/giving you side effects makes me think that you've not got straight forward depression (I'm not saying that you're not depressed - just that it's not the 'normal' sort of depression). Have a google for 'rapid cycling' - obviously I'm not a doctor, but you might end up finding some label that matches your own symptoms that you can take to your GP.
j4 From: j4 Date: August 25th, 2005 11:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not doing particularly well at this - it's very hard to avoid dairy 'cos lots of things you wouldn't expect contain it.

It's much better now than it used to be -- for a start, you can get dairy-free alternatives in supermarkets. I was lactose-allergic when I was tiny, & thus on a lactose-free diet for the first 12 years or so of my life. After that I decided to try the dairy stuff again & was apparently fine. I suppose this could be a very belated recurrence of the dairy problems...

patches or a vaginal ring [...] an IUS/IUD

Arghh. No, no, no, absolutely no to having great lumps of stuff stuck in me. I feel sick and dizzy and tearful from putting a tampon in. And just hearing friends' accounts of having coils fitted has made me feel queasy and faint.

just that it's not the 'normal' sort of depression

There's no "normal" sort of depression. It's basically a blanket term for lots of different symptoms, with lots of different (possible) causes. ADs certainly don't work for everybody, and they give most people some side-effects.

I also don't have any sort of mania inbetween the mood crashes, which sort of suggests that bipolar disorder ("rapid cycling" or otherwise) wouldn't be a very helpful label.
From: ex_humanfema327 Date: August 25th, 2005 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
sounds like it could be food allergies.. i know you want to keep eating whatever you want but it might not be as difficult as you think. get tested in holland and barrett or get someone out the yellow pages. i dont even want to eat chocolate any more. (lie.)
pseudomonas From: pseudomonas Date: August 25th, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holland & Barrett allergy testing is a bit dodgy, to say the least - or at least it was last time I investigated - they use some quack device as a prop and all they do is look at the questionnaire you fill in.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: August 25th, 2005 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Change doctors. They can't all be crap, although the evidence does seem to be stacking up.

Bad guts can make life a misery: if julietk has benefited from an effective treatment, the information is well worth tracking down. IBS and general gut problems do not seem to be treated very well in this country; that's annoying because they are all potentially serious - even trapped wind - and they are all treatable. Albeit not always effectively.

BTW, trapped wind is a very, very bad thing when practicing the rolling exercises in an Aikido dojo.

j4 From: j4 Date: August 25th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Change doctors. They can't all be crap, although the evidence does seem to be stacking up.

This one's actually better than most that I've seen. :-/ (Mind you the lowest-point benchmark is still the female doctor who, when I went to her with chronic and fairly serious depression, said "Well, you're a woman, and you're a finalist, so obviously you're going to be feeling a bit under the weather." She didn't seem interested in the fact that I had an 8-year history of depression and a 21-year history of femaleness.)

The practice I'm currently with actually has a sensible appointments policy, and receptionists who don't breathe fire, both of which are a refreshing change. So I'm really reluctant to change again unless they do anything actively bad (as opposed to just-a-bit-dozy).
gnimmel From: gnimmel Date: August 25th, 2005 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I came off the pill (I'm now using a diaphragm, so no hormones whatsoever) and found it helped my mental state quite a lot, even though I'd been on the pill for long enough before I started feeling mentally grotty that it seems unlikely it was the main cause. So it might be worth a try.
From: vatine Date: August 25th, 2005 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I had similar symptoms (with added diarrhoea (sp?)) as primary symptoms when my lactose intolerance went into full swing. Lactose-avoidance requires lots of label-reading and annoyingly many medications use lactose as a filler in pills.

My darling wife have similar symptoms when she ingests gluten, that might (possibly) be worth trying. That was a semi-quick on-set in her late twenties (as in "ramped up over about 6 months").

Other than that, all I can say is "listen to simonb".
j4 From: j4 Date: August 25th, 2005 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I was lactose-intolerant when I was a baby, and was on a lactose-free diet for the first 12 years or so of my life. (I know all about the label-reading -- by the age of 3 I could read ingredients and tell whether something was 'safe' or not.) As a teenager I decided to try the dairy stuff again & see if it still made me ill, and as far as I could tell it no longer had any effects. I suppose it's possible that it's come back, but the allergy specialists who tested & diagnosed me when I was tiny apparently said that I'd either have it for life or grow out of it. (I say "apparently" because I was 4 months old at the time so only have my parents' word for this.)

I really don't want to try random shot-in-the-dark dietary modifications where I cut out anything that might conceivably cause an allergy (and risk creating a sensitivity to the foods in question where none previously existed). And if I do go down the exclusion diets route, I'd prefer it to be on the advice of somebody with medical/nutritional training rather than somebody who has major psychological problems with the whole area of food and eating.
From: rmc28 Date: August 25th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Given all the comments so far, I think I'd suggest two things:

1. Stop taking the pill, for at least three months, maybe six. I remember that when I stopped taking mine I had a month or so of noticeable changes (some spottiness, some emotional reactions different, both more and less intense, than expected), and then everything just went on as normal.

2. Ask GP to refer you to a dietician or whatever the word is these days. Point out it's been since May, they've tried drugs, and if you're going to isolate a food allergy, best to do it with someone who knows what they're talking about.

Can you take a printout with you of some of what you've said above, summarising the situation? I did this in preparation to see my GP about having Mirena removed, and if nothing else, it helped me to remember everything I wanted to say, and if she had been unhelpful, I could have just handed it to her and said "read that, then tell me you won't".
j4 From: j4 Date: August 25th, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm thinking maybe I'd be better stopping the Pill and not interfering with the diet at the same time... I'm worried that it's going to be impossible to tell what (if anything) has made the difference.

I'll try to write everything down if I can face going through it all again. :-/ Don't really want to just print out the above because it's all ranty.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: August 25th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
mm. It all sounds grim. Your friends seem to have good advice; one's tolerance to dairy does change with the years, as does one's tolerance of various formulations of the Pill. You might not now have 9-day periods and panic attacks, although you used to have them. A great many women lose their tolerance to cow's milk products in their twenties; and stopping it for a couple of weeks can't possibly do you any lasting or actual harm.

I've not heard of creating an allergy by stopping your exposure to it; interesting. I wonder how that works? You do know about it - explaining would be a Good Thing as I'd welcome the instruction.

Sorry you're feeling grotty. It's Not Fun and it's Not Fair, is it?
j4 From: j4 Date: August 26th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sensitizing to food -- not sure where I read it now. Obviously have just made it up. :-(

I know cutting cow's milk for 2 weeks won't do any harm, but it's a hassle, and I don't want to have any more soya than I can help given that there have been studies that suggest that it makes women infertile (I've found stuff about that by googling for it in the past, I'm too tired to go and look properly now, sorry).

Feels unfair asking you for references when I can't provide any but do you have refs for "many women lose their tolerance to cow's milk products in their twenties"? I've never heard that before...
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: August 30th, 2005 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think people have already said anything useful I could've contributed, but I wanted to note that I have read this, I'm thinking of you, and I really hope things improve. I have been diagnosed with IBS, for what such a diagnosis is worth; it causes me regular stomach discomfort which only occasionally becomes actual pain, and a great deal of the kind of trapped wind/farting/etc. you describe. I've been prescribed mebeverine tablets, which I'm supposed to take before meals, but I'm managing quite well without at the moment. I don't seem to have a reaction to any particular kind of food; it's more food in general. At the time when it was very bad, I took one bite of a sandwich and had instant hideous abdominal pain in stabs of agony (it seems to make no sense, since the food was barely past my mouth at the time, but it may be - haven't done enough reading to be certain - that there is a gastro-intestinal reflex thing which happens when you begin to eat, which may be connected to the spasms).

Things which help me are: having the tablets available just in case I need them (trying an anti-spasmodic medication might help you?); knowing how to massage my stomach to relieve trapped wind (if clockface 12 is on one's breastbone, massaging from 3 to 6, gently all the way round clockwise, and firmly from about 2 to about 5, works for me. If I remember rightly, the sigmoid colon is down that left side and can be the thing which is problematic, though I should probably check up on the anatomy since I read this ages ago and may misremember.); and eating smaller things more often - large meals definitely hurt.

It also causes me various bowel-movement-related problems, but I have not ever worked out a pattern; some people apparently get constipated, some diarrhoea, and some vary. I can't make any particularly useful observations there, and the one thing I can think of is probably TMI.
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