I try to imagine if I would have started running if I had known that there was a possibility that I would experience intestinal issues when running. Perhaps I should not be so general and explain that running gives me the runs. YUCKERS! I didn't know this at first. Apparently, I can run shorter distances with minimal distress. When I started running longer distances, I found out that my body punished me by giving me the poopers. I took to the internet and found that this was a common affliction for runners, often called "runner's trots". I adjusted my pre-run diet to save me from the trots and made arrangements for conveniently located bathrooms to be made available to me on race days. Unfortunately, this was not the end. I began to notice that I was experiencing abdominal pain and cramping even when I had not run. I ignored the pain for awhile and attributed it to my increased level of physical fitness. I began to find that the texture of my stool was inconsistent and that there was blood and copious amounts of mucous in it. At this point, I went to my PCP, who wrote an order for a sigmoidoscopy. When I went in for the consultation, the MD did not do the sigmoidoscopy but did check my rectum and reported that he did find an abnormal amount of mucous. Despite that fact, he suggested that perhaps my symptoms were secondary to a medication I was taking for my arthritis. He suggested that I wait a couple months to see if the problem resolved itself. I was flabbergasted! I tossed around the idea of seeing another doctor but didn't put too much effort into it. I was working from home one day and experienced pain and cramping so severe that I was on my hands and knees. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I called a group of colorectal surgeons associated with Lake Health Systems. The woman who answered the phone listened to my complaints and then directed me to a gastroenterologist. At this point, I felt optimistic. Someone was listening to me!!! I called The Center for Digestive Health and made an appointment with Dr Nicholas Golden. When I saw Dr. Golden, I explained to him what I was experiencing. He quickly dismissed the idea that I was experiencing these symptoms secondary to my medication. He was shocked that the other well know health system had dismissed my symptoms. He ordered a colonoscopy and a hydrogen breath test. The hydrogen breath test is used to determine if an individual is lactose intolerant. After this appointment, I was feeling more positive about my situation. During the colonoscopy, the doctor found inflammation in my colon. He sent samples out for a biopsy. I was pretty nervous about that. The doctor was reassuring and knowledgeable. He answered all questions I had and explained what the inflammation could be an indicator of. The hardest part about this process was waiting for the results. I finally got the results and some much needed relief. The hydrogen breath test indicated that I was not lactose intolerant. My love for cheese,yogurt and all things dairy can continue!!!! The doctor diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. I am currently in the process of finding which foods trigger my symptoms but I am excited that things are not as bad as they could be. Not everyone who runs experiences runners' trots. If you do, it may be a normal occurrence. If you are experiencing symptoms that concern you , you may want to talk to your doctor about them. The most important lesson I learned throughout this process was to listen to my body. I'm now ready to train for the Cleveland Rite Aid 10K and very excited about it!!!!!