Warning: frank talk about poop to follow.
I’ve pretty much been in pain every day for the past couple years. Maybe not the whole time, and mostly at a level that I can bear, but still. So I decided to try and push the gastro doc to actually do something to treat me instead of, like the last one, brushing me off with vague instructions never to eat fiber again.
The first such attempt turned out awful. The pill pretty much destroyed my weekend and my butt. Instead of a cessation of pain, I got diarrhea and vomiting on day one, which faded to diarrhea only the next few days. I stopped that one, but it still hasn’t fully left my system.
And now I have to decide whether I try the next one or just give up on Western medicine entirely and try something different. My husband and I recently watched a convincing video on the importance of the microbiome on gut health, but when I brought that up with the doc he said that there wasn’t enough robust evidence for them to do that kind of testing at his practice.
To which I wonder exactly what kind of rigorous studies the medication he did give me has gone through. And I really can’t help but wonder how much money the pharmaceutical companies are paying to convince doctors that their drugs are good. Sure, the drugs need to pass FDA approval, but they are not infallible or proof against lobbyist dollars.
Writing that makes me feel like a conspiracy theorist. But I am finding very little trust in the American health care system within myself. The systems seem to be run purely by financial interests, mostly focused on the insurance companies’ abilities to avoid paying for services. Heck, the doc even mentioned that if he went with this one drug, the insurance company would tend to fight him on it, and without insurance it costs like $300 for a month’s supply.
And, because I know how much some drugs cost without insurance, $300 per month doesn’t actually sound that horrible, though I certainly don’t want to pay that.
It was also interesting for me to consider that even though the microbiome doesn’t have robust enough research, something that has been essentially proven only to help some people, avoiding FODMAPs, was something that the doc recommended, bringing it up when I mentioned making my own applesauce because apples are high in FODMAPs (FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate that have a “strong link” to digestive issues). Of course, fruits that are low in FODMAPs are high in fiber, such as citrus and green bananas. And while I have some doubts about the IBS diagnosis, the delayed gastric emptying thing feels correct. I’ve felt how my body no longer likes dealing with eating things like pineapple. So fibrous. So delicious 🙁
I had been eating bananas as my fiber for a while, but I switched when I read that those can cause constipation. And I rarely ate green ones. But I did try the low FODMAP diet, way back when this whole rollercoaster started. It had absolutely no efficacy for me. Low fiber did help for a time, but I have not found what it is that will bring me back to pain free equilibrium in my gut.
There’s a part of me that really wants to find an answer without resorting to prescription drugs. But the larger part of me just wants an answer.
So I’m still looking.