I'm a 23-year-old college student and have been struggling with bad gut issues on/off for the last 4 years. I'm feeling very confused on what to do and how to keep my health together. The only thing that has really helped me over the years for my bad episodes has been Flagyl (Metronidazole), but I'm afraid it will stop working and it is obviously not entirely killing whatever is causing my issues since I need to keep taking it.
My health journey in a nutshell: I started getting terrible GI symptoms after having to go on penicillin for a wisdom tooth extraction back in 2014. I had had food intolerances and some gut issues before that for a few years, but after that everything went to shit, literally. I couldn't eat and had diarrhea and nausea for months and I lost nearly 10 kg (which is bad since I am already fairly slim). I was even at the hospital and had blood tests, x-rays, a colonoscopy and endoscopy that all came out clear. I even had the basic parasitic panel done, but I know those aren't always accurate and can miss things. I was basically dying until a doctor diagnosed me with "an unidentified stomach infection" (she thought it could be C.Diff too since it started after the Penicillin) and put me on Flagyl 500mg 3 times a day for 10 days.
I was able to go to college and function after that for a year, though I still had gut issues. After that I've done functional medicine testing (since all the conventional tests claimed I was perfectly healthy lol) and I showed up with dysbiosis (imbalanced ratio of bad to good bacteria) and Candida. I treated those over the years with probiotics and anti-fungals (I've done both medical and natural anti-fungals).
My issue is that my bad gut problems keep coming back. I can be okay for months and then suddenly I get this pressure feeling in my abdomen and am unable to eat and my stomach gets very upset by everything. I've had to redo the Flagyl course every year now for the last 4 years, and even though that is a life saver for me, it still doesn't fix all my symptoms (maybe 80%+ so I can function and live a relatively normal life). I've been seeing a new functional medicine doctor who has put me on herbal Antibiotics /antifungals along with hormone and adrenal support since I have been sooo exhausted over the last months and had brain fog, anxiety and sleep issues. I just had to redo another course of Flagyl this month and am hoping that will buy me time to get started on the herbal protocol and keep my health steady for a bit again... I really hope it works, I'm going to do another stool panel after 3-4 months on this and see if it picks up anything new and to see what my situation is.
The herbal protocol consists of:
(Was created by the functional medicine doctor I am working with right now, I take 2 of each capsule before meals 3 times a day)
- Supplement 3: Carvacrol and thymol, the principal phenolic compounds in oregano, with each softgel providing 36 mg carvacrol and thymol from 60-75% carvacrol oregano oil
I've been gluten free for 4 years and have gone paleo since 6 months ago and do feel that these dietary changes have helped, but my bad GI symptoms just keep coming back again anyway. I feel that the diet is helping, but that there is a bacterial issue (parasite, infection etc.) that keeps returning. I'm also cutting out as much processed food and sugars as I can and trying to stick to a plant based and organic/whole foods diet. I'm so exhausted by this sickness cycle that I keep reliving...
Does anyone have suggestions where I could look next and what I should maybe try? I'm giving this protocol a go, but I've been on herbal supliments before and just want to keep learning about new things even though I am committed to this protocol now. I don't want to be so sick again that I can't take care of myself and don't have a plan B. I just want to live a normal life of a 23 year old and not miss out on my life due to my health failing every 6-12 months.
Thank you so much if you take the time to respond, I am very grateful!