50 Shades of Gut Pain

Today, or rather at 1am last night, as I sat on the toilet for the first time that night, I started to ponder all the different “moods” of my gut. There are so many of them, and I have learned to parse out their different meanings so they are very helpful to me. What I’m not sure about is if I could communicate them to others.

I once sounded like a crazy person in my doctor’s office as I tried to explain that the symptoms I was experiencing (diarrhea, urgency) were not the same as Crohn’s symptoms (diarrhea, urgency) because they came at a different time of day. But this is true–over the course of my life, I’ve learned that a “normal” cranky, inflamed gut means symptoms first thing in the morning. Symptoms at another time of day, to me, mean something else. In this case, it was SIBO.

(A few weeks after that doctor’s visit I passed another SIBO breath test with flying colors, and–as the treatment started working–symptoms returned to normal.)

It’s those finer points of knowing my gut that can mean the difference between a peaceful commute and one where I’m praying with my butt clinched as tight as possible.

Or other things, such as:

  • The fine distinction between a wet fart and a fat, dry fart…before you let it rip.
  • Feeling when stool passes into the descending colon, and how fast it is travelling downward, thus dictating whether you get to walk or run to the bathroom.
  • General inflammation (my ten-year-old self called it “washer machine tummy”) versus a specified area of intestine with, say, an ulcer.
  • Feeling an especially intense bout of the Migrating Motor Complex and distinguishing it from garden-variety cramps.
  • And for that matter, discerning between uterine cramping and gut cramping. I don’t even think my own body can tell that one!

If you’re reading this, and can identify with anything that you’ve read, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to compare notes.

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