I’ve been asking my parents a lot of questions lately about my health as a kid. Since I don’t have a great memory, it’s been bothering me not remembering when some of my issues started and what my early symptoms were. The impetus for this curiosity was when I forgot to take my probiotics for about 3 days and found myself nauseated during a dinner with my husband. I hadn’t eaten anything that would normally cause me to have issues, nor was I exposed to any viruses that would have caused me discomfort. No, this was a very familiar feeling. Something that I felt on an almost daily basis throughout my teens.
According to my parents, I started complaining about my stomach hurting when I was somewhere between 3 and 6. (Incidentally my kids are both 3 and 6 respectively and so this makes me now watch them like hawks to see if anything is genetic and will start to rear its ugly head.) It began when we would go out to eat, and midway through the meal I would complain of nausea and usually go to the bathroom right away. Nothing would change until later that night when I would fall asleep and wake up the next day perfectly fine. Other times, my stomach would be rock hard and I would cry, clutching it and complaining of the pain that was stealing all of my focus. I know that on at least one occasion an enema was needed to help relieve me of this pain.
My parents didn’t ever really figure out what was causing me pain and nausea, though not for a lack of trying. I was constantly in and out of doctor’s offices, prescribed things that may or may not have helped, and would sometimes leave friend’s houses early because of my issues being so bad. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I decided to try and avoid dairy, suspecting it to be causing some of my issues.
That helped a bit, but I still had episodes, and as I got older, the intensity of them would cause me to not sleep at night. They would become less frequent but more crippling, and still no explanation in sight. That was until a light bulb went off in my head when I was about 27.
I knew that I had anxiety, but it never occurred to me that this could be causing me stomach issues. Duh. It felt so obvious to me that I was almost embarrassed to not have noticed it sooner. However, I had not been taking note of my anxiety on a regular basis until this point, so this is when it became more obvious to me that my physical and emotional health were linked.
It wasn’t 100% anxiety, however, since I do have a purely sensitive stomach that tends to react poorly out of seemingly nowhere. So I now needed 2 things; 1, to help my anxiety calm to a level that was more manageable, and 2, to find a way to help my foundational GI health to be better. The first thing I did was start to help myself emotionally, and I started a very long journey to accepting and working on my mental health. The second thing was I needed something to help my stomach just be better in general.
After trying many, many things, I finally found one thing that I now consider to be essential to my health as a whole. I started a probiotic that, within a few weeks, completely took my normal stomach issues away. I was no longer up all night with crippling stomach pain and didn’t have to leave the table to have a moment with my nausea. Combining that with identifying anxiety triggers and helping myself work through those, and I had myself a practically new digestive system.
Does this mean that I never get sick? Of course not. If I eat something greasy or too much of something then I’ll still feel sick, but it’s a lot more manageable than it used to be. And isn’t that the realistic goal? To be able to manage things better?
If you are struggling with digestive issues, my heart goes out to you. It is a frustrating thing to go through, and can manifest itself in so many ways. I can only hope that you find the thing that helps you get through it and live a life that does not include interruptions because of your stomach.
*What works for me might not be the same for you, and I am not a medical professional so I cannot offer treatment advice. But if you are interested in trying out the probiotic that has helped me so much, feel free to check it out by clicking here.