Mary (not her real name) took Accutane in high school. She is now 24 years old and still suffers from bowel problems. Mary didn’t develop Accutane Ulcerative Colitis or Accutane inflammatory bowel disease but she has suffered from severe constipation for almost 10 years.
“About two years after stopping Accutane I began to pass out, a lot,” Mary says. “I would have severe stomach pain immediately prior to feeling faint and often passed out in the washroom - when I was constipated. I saw several doctors but no one gave a specific diagnosis. They attributed it to Vasovagal syncope, which is a common type of fainting and is also associated with the blood to the digestive system.“
By the time Mary got to college she had stopped taking Accutane but the bowel problems and fainting persisted. She had to drop out of a few classes and see the Board of Directors, but finally got her degree.
“When I was on Accutane I had to get blood work done once a month. I also had to get a pregnancy test once a month - my doctor explained that it causes severe birth defects,” Mary adds. “I never thought it could damage me. As a teenager I was just worried about how I looked. But my cousin took it and I remember that my family worried about him, because he played a lot of sports and there was talk that Accutane causes bones to be less dense. Still, he kept taking it too.
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Mary says that she hasn’t had any fainting spells since the birth of her son two years ago. But within the past month she has been getting severe stomach pains again. “I am constipated just about all the time and other times the pain seems like it could be gas because I don’t need to use the washroom,” she explains. It would be a good idea for Mary to see a gastroenterologist, and to mention that she took Accutane.