I realised this week that I have been asking doctors for answers for almost two years.
As I have written about before, even though I stick religiously to the gluten-free diet, I have ongoing health problems that seemingly cannot be explained by coeliac disease. For a while I worried that it was all in my head, but I have since found countless stories from other coeliacs on Facebook, Twitter and online forums that chime with my experience. At this point it is likely that as well as coeliac disease, I also have IBS, or SIBO, or some other gut-related condition.
IBS is the front-runner, and as this can only really be diagnosed through process of elimination, I have had (and am still having) every gut-related test under the sun.
I have had a range of advice to help deal with the symptoms. A Dietician put me on the FODMAP diet, a Gastroenterologist recommended I try yoga, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy, another Gastroenterologist prescribed me peppermint oil capsules to ease the pains…though some of these have helped to a degree, nothing has completely ‘cured’ me.
Unfortunately I have found that even the consultants who specialise in gut disorders do not have any concrete solutions. There are also long waiting lists to see these doctors and have the necessary procedures, so any conclusions take a long time to reach.
I don’t want to be ‘woe is me’ about it. I know that in many ways I am incredibly lucky, and though aggravating and at times painful, at least my symptoms do not prevent me from living a reasonably full life. But I wish that there was a magic bullet solution to all of this. A pill. An injection. Whatever. After nearly two years, I am boring MYSELF talking about it.
This post is my shout-out to everyone with frustrating, inexplicable gastro issues. Here’s hoping for that ever-elusive diagnosis in 2015.
Note: I’m anxious that this post doesn’t come across as NHS or doctor bashing. The overwhelming majority of medical professionals I have dealt with have been kind, helpful and knowledgeable (special mentions to Chelsea and Westminster hospital staff) and I am eternally grateful that we even have the NHS.