You know that feeling when your insides expand like an overblown balloon? Or when you feel like a million knives are being jammed into your back and stomach? Or when your gut feels like it’s churning molten lava? Or all three simultaneously?
Ah, inflammation! So scary when you first get it, and yet so aggravating even when you’re “used” to it.
Time for SCIENCE! My favorite description of inflammation comes from a study by Ferrero-Miliani, Nielsen, Andersen, & Girardin’s study (2007), which determined that:
Inflammation is part of the non-specific immune response that occurs in reaction to any type of bodily injury. In some disorders, the inflammatory process − which under normal conditions is self-limiting − becomes continuous and chronic inflammatory diseases might develop subsequently (“Abstract,” para. 1).
So inflammation is a response to an injury. The human body is a very particular machine. It works so beautifully and perfectly as long as all of its conditions are met. The problem is that when something happens, the body will let you know asap and in its own special code. And that code will not be the same for every person. So while one person’s body can handle milk, another cannot and will trigger an attack by their immune system (like in allergies). Where one person’s esophagus is prone to heartburn from eating fries, another person who eats fries may have an esophagus that reacts like an exploding pincushion (Esophagitis).
That, my friends, is why it can take so long for doctors to pin-point what’s going on in your body. Pain is subjective, and abdominal pain can literally be anything in our 30-foot long digestive tract. Which is why I named mine “Pesky.” I needed to give the monster a name, and it’s easier than listing off all my diagnosis (especially since they’re ongoing). Plus he’s cute. 😀
Also, whatever you do, don’t be like me when I first had pain and obsess obsess over your symptoms on google/bing/webmd/mayo clinic/wikipedia. Seriously. I know you’ll want to. You’ll feel like you need to. But, honestly, it will make you more worried about what you could have instead of preparing you for your actual diagnosis. Please, be smarter than me and wait for your test results. 😉
So what can you do? That’s what this blog is all about! For my next blog, I’ll show you how to make a TMI Supply Kit (a first aid kit for Too Much Inflammation)!
- TL;DR – Inflammation comes from your body’s immune system responding to an injury. Everyone’s inflammation is different, and so figuring out the cause of inflammation can take a long time.
- Disclaimer reminder: I am not a medical professional.
Ferrero-Miliani L, Nielsen OH, Andersen PS, & Girardin SE (2007). “Chronic inflammation: importance of NOD2 and NALP3 in interleukin-1beta generation”. Clin. Exp. Immunol, 147 (2). Retreived from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810472/?tool=pmcentrez