“When I was 16, my belly looked like a pregnant woman’s”

Irene Arroyo has always been a sporty girl. In addition to combining studies with social life, from the age of nine he was also devoted to sports. He competed professionally and dedicated himself to performing at his best on the track. It was a way of escape, of happiness, until SIBO showed up in her life. “I remember it was during the pandemic, at the end of quarantine, and I really felt like something was wrong,” the Madrid native told ABC. “One day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and found that my belly was like that of a pregnant woman. “I was so scared that my eyes were swollen from crying,” he lamented.

She visited several doctors, who diagnosed her with chronic constipation. “They gave me some sachets to go to the bathroom, but that didn’t do anything for me.” He had been having trouble digesting., but I have never had such trouble going to the toilet. She was so worried because the treatments she was receiving weren’t improving her condition that she decided to see other doctors to see if they could figure out what was wrong with her. “I knew something was wrong, and it wasn’t just constipation.” Arroyo had had gastrointestinal issues before.suffer gastric ulcer and a gastritis Mildly chronic. Additionally, he is being treated for autoimmune hepatitis. All of these factors combined to contribute to the SIBO he currently suffers from.

“The doctor who treated me first mentioned the word SIBO to me when I had hepatitis and suggested I get tested, but I didn’t pay much attention because I wanted to complete treatment for my disease first.” With this Meanwhile, the symptoms continued to affect his life. Sometimes I couldn’t run in training because my belly would swell to double or triple its normal size. She also had to change the way she dressed to try to hide her symptoms so people “wouldn’t talk about her”. “It affected me physically and it affected me emotionally. Not being able to wear what you want as a girl your age because you’re worried about other people looking down on you or because you don’t feel comfortable with yourself is very exhausting.”

Furthermore, when he sought support from family or friends, he was rejected. «No one understands me. My parents said it was all in my mind and caused by myself. “It was hell.” After an episode in which she didn’t go to the bathroom for more than a week, she went back to the doctor who told her about SIBO, accompanied by her parents, and took a breath test. “They observed My gut produces abnormal levels of methane. It was there that I was first diagnosed with SIBO and began treatment. ”

Since then, Arroyo has improved, but he also suffers from seizures every six months. “Always the same. I started treatment with antibiotics and the FODMAP diet. I improved over the course of a season and after a few months Bloating, burping, and constipation return“, explains. You know, in your case, SIBO is chronic, and it’s going to be with you for the rest of your life. “You do that, you quit. But that doesn’t mean this life is unfair to me. “She can’t eat like a family member or go out to eat with friends like she used to. “Sometimes, to avoid explaining, I’ll say I have celiac disease or that I’ve already eaten at home. ”

She also had to spend a long period of time away from sports because the antibiotics made her so weak. “Besides, it’s a huge waste of money. Diet, medications and probiotic supplements, all of which add up to a big expense for my parents,” explains the young woman, who adds , “Each treatment alone cost about 70 euros.” Now, all he wants is for further progress in SIBO research, hoping they can find a way “that will keep me healthy forever, without having to worry about how I look or what I eat.” What” method.

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