Popular beauty blogger Amelia Liana took a break from her usual makeup and fashion videos recently to talk about something pretty important — her struggle with digestive health.
For more than a year, Liana has been dealing with stomach problems like extreme bloating, chronic stomach pain, and really loud stomach gurgling.
She posted a video in October explaining how going through the process of getting diagnosed and bouncing from doctor's office to doctor's office made her feel frustrated and alone. She breaks down in tears in that video, showing how difficult it can be trying to figure out and get treatment for a health problem.
Now, she has a diagnosis — in fact, she has four.
Although Liana has found a diagnosis, it doesn't mean she has found complete relief. There is no cure for IBS, which is really just a name doctors give to a collection of symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health. And SIBO isn't a very well understood disease.
After the first round of treatment Liana said that her SIBO almost went away, but a few months ago it came back and the bacterial overgrowth had almost doubled.
"[It's] kind of confusing and frustrating because I had been on so many courses of treatment and invested so much time and energy into this," she said. "So, to have a relapse was quite shocking."
She just finished a fourth course of treatment and will be retesting for SIBO next week.
Liana wanted to make this update for her followers since she has gotten questions from other people who have digestive conditions or are struggling to find an answer to their stomach pain. For those followers who ask her questions, Liana has some advice.
Her first tip? Do your research.
Liana points to the SIBO symposium as a great resource for anyone who is newly diagnosed or who needs support.
"I couldn't get my head around what doctors were telling me," she said. "People would say I'm ill, a lot of people were saying that I was just basically making it up in my head, and it's honestly just such a frustrating and confusing time when you just don't know what's wrong with you."
The symposium website has downloadable lectures from top researchers of SIBO, who give tips about dietary changes, symptoms, and treatments.
Liana said listening to those lectures was the first time she finally understood what was happening to her body.
Tip #2: Don't focus on your symptoms
When she was trying different diets and treatments to see if they had any effect on her symptoms, Liana said that she would be hyper-focused on whether or not her actions were actually working.
"I actually at one point stopped listening to music or watching anything while I was eating and that actually probably made things worse, because I was just focusing more on what was going on in my stomach," she said.
If her stomach made a strange noise she would freak out. So she started distracting herself while she ate, and also got rid of the mirror in her bedroom so that she couldn't focus on how bloated her stomach looked.
Tip #3: Please, talk to someone.
Liana wouldn't let anyone come to the doctors office with her, she said. Not her mom or her boyfriend, because she was embarrassed of her symptoms.
"So I ended up just bottling it up and that never helps anyone," she said.
Her last tip is probably the most important — be selfish.
If you're going through a health struggle and you need someone to be accommodating, then don't feel bad for asking.
"The amount of times I went to a restaurant and I didn't want to upset the waiter and I knew I couldn't have the onions because they would set off my symptoms so I at them anyway. Or when I went to somebody's house and I didn't want to offend them because I couldn't their food," she said. "Just be selfish. Tell the waiter that you don't eat whatever it is. Don't be afraid to not eat someone's food. If they're an actual friend they'll understand."
She ends the video on a note every woman could hear and apply to their life, whether or not their dealing with the same type of health struggle as Liana.
"Put your body first."
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