I haven’t written about what it’s like living with IBS and adenomyosis for quite sometime. It’s been awhile so I thought I might just write about my journey now that I’m 24 and quite a bit has changed.
Firstly, I have been seeing a dietician off and on ever since I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in late 2018/early 2019. I’ve had a few colonoscopies, approximately 3 that I can remember, although it could be 4. I’ve had 2 MRIs for my bowel involving the use of contrast, which was a somewhat inconclusive test costing me $600 out-of-pocket for each MRI. It’s honestly been a challenging journey. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve gained a significant amount of weight which has been difficult to shed given the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. The lockdowns also meant I developed poor eating habits and became much more comfortable using food delivery services like UberEats which only worsened my weight gain. Having IBS has meant I rely on products like benefiber to help regulate my gut and made it difficult to try different foods without being riddled with anxiety. Navigating my 20s with IBS has been challenging both in a social sense, as well as in my career. It’s impacted my relationships with family members and significant others because it’s been a factor which contributes to my anxiety. In recent years I have relaxed a lot more and tried to experiment with my diet, however it’s still been a struggle. Additionally, I had iron deficiency issues which meant in late 2021-early 2022, I had to take iron tablets for 6 months which negatively impacted my gut. This also meant I tried to increase my dietary intake of foods containing iron, leading me to eat foods like sardines, chickpeas and beef. I have a few sessions a year to see a dietician which is free (apart from the first consult) covered in a care plan provided by my general practitioner. However, some of these sessions have been diverted to a podiatrist after I learnt I had developed a bunion!
I can’t say a bunion is an ongoing chronic illness, but it does cause severe pain in waves and can be quite debilitating if you have them on both feet. At present, I’m seeing a podiatrist to explore all conservative measures before considering surgery. This has meant investing into orthotic shoes, toe separators and inner soles. All of which aren’t really attractive or cheap.
My adenomyosis has worsened significantly in the past few years. I’ve noticed my periods are much more heavier and the pain has intensified dramatically. It’s been a much more mentally and physically painful ordeal managing my adenomyosis in the last few years then my IBS in many ways. Although my IBS pain is constant, there are countermeasures I can take to reduce my pain (such as exercise). In contrast, the pain management methods to assist with my adenomyosis only feels like a band-aid solution. Since being diagnosed, and now I have heavier periods, I’ve tried switching to reusable pads which has financially helped in some ways. I have considered exploring other pain management methods instead of just using the pill, however, I’m still re-evaluating what I should do next to minimise the pain. I’m noticing my levels of fatigue increase, even if I exercise. I believe it’s probably just the compounding effects of having both IBS and adenomyosis. There have been further updates regarding my adenomyosis but I’m not ready to write about it just yet.