I’m going to be real here. I spent most of my childhood suffering from painful stomach issues. After many, many times leaving school early back in my elementary days because I felt so sick, my parents realized that I had developed a food intolerance that was really causing havoc. My mom used to buy me Pediasure because she thought I looked so malnourished, which I very likely was. Fast forward to high school, and my stomach problems worsened, even though I was avoiding the foods I knew triggered my previous issues. Gastroenterologists told me that nothing was wrong though. The pain must all be in my head. In college, I ended up in the emergency room and was sent away with a recommendation to schedule a colonoscopy at age 19 because they had no answers for me. After my colonoscopy, they told me pretty much the same thing: everything was normal, and that I was just fine.
But I wasn’t.
I lived with stomach issues that affected my life day after day. I went to bed early a lot of nights because that was the only way that I knew how to make the pain go away. I skipped social occasions or went home early because my stomach hurt. And for a long time, nothing improved.
I finally decided that enough was enough. I had to fix my issues myself because the medical community obviously wasn’t going to help me. I knew that what I was experiencing was not in my head, and it was not normal either. Sure, it might be common, but it is not normal.
So I did the work. I put in the time to essentially turn my gut health into my own experiment. I changed my diet and my lifestyle, and to be truthful, I changed my diet more than once. I figured out what works and what doesn’t. And guess what? My food intolerance went away. I stopped getting an upset stomach all of the time. I wasn’t going to bed curled up in the fetal position from pain nightly or even weekly. Irregularity is not part of my life, and I don’t take pills to maintain that. Plus, as anyone who has ever been pregnant can attest to, having another human squish your intestines for the better part of nine months certainly doesn’t do your digestive health any favors. Yet, even through pregnancy and beyond, my digestion doesn’t make me go to bed early anymore. I don’t feel the pains that I lived with during childhood.
And you don’t have to either.
Despite what anyone tells you, it is NOT normal. And no, you are NOT broken.
If you are done feeling bloated, if you are done with painful stomach issues, if you are done hating your relationship with your digestion or with the toilet for that matter, if you are done being told that this is normal or that it is all in your head, first know that you are not alone. Second, know that healing is possible. And third, know that it is time to take action. You can feel better, and I am here to help guide you along the way. No matter what your story looks like today, tomorrow can bring a healthier, happier you.