Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

Welcome to the Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology & GI Surgery Page! With one of the largest group of digestive disease specialists in the world, Mayo Clinic has been recognized as the nation's best Gastroenterology & GI Surgery hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Follow the page to learn about clinical trials and up-to-date research, and find resources for all your gastroenterology needs. Our goal is to connect you to others, and become informed decision makers; so post a comment, share your story, own your health.

Oct 24, 2014

Ann Strom's Patient Story

By Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator, @kanaazpereira

Originally posted on Sharing Mayo Clinic, October 2014.

As a 14-year-old, Ann Strom understandably had knots in her stomach about starting her freshman year of high school. These knots, however, did not go away.

Following several weeks of abdominal pain, Strom and her parents began to suspect that her upset stomach was more than the result of nervousness or flu. After a series of tests conducted by her family doctor came back negative, Strom was transferred to a specialist at a University Hospital. Several more rounds of tests, including Strom’s first colonoscopy at the age of 14, ultimately diagnosed her with Crohn’s disease in Oct. 2003. Throughout high school, Strom alternated between several different medications in an attempt to control her symptoms. At one point, she was taking 14 pills a day. One in particular had terrible side effects, including feeling jittery, shaking, an elevated pulse and a red, puffy face. “It’s kind of hard to deal with,” said Strom. “High school is a lot about appearances, so sitting there with a puffy, red face isn’t really fun.” As Strom transitioned out of pediatric care, she began to consider other medical facilities for treatment. “I decided, after my mom had a doctor at Mayo, to switch my care to Mayo,” said Strom. Upon arriving at Mayo, Strom met Dr. David Bruining, who recommended an aggressive re-assessment of her diagnosis. This time her testing was felt to be most suggestive of ulcerative colitis, not Crohn’s disease, as the cause of Strom’s condition. “For patients like Ann, it is important to seek out help as they are not alone in their struggles,” said Dr. Bruining. “There are many treatment options available for patients with IBD.” Though hopeful that this diagnosis was the correct one, towards the end of her freshman year of college Strom was still plagued by fatigue and abdominal pain. “I was kind of at the end of the line when it came to medication options,” said Strom. “I could go back on high dosages of medication that caused really bad side effects that I hated in high school, or another option would be to have surgery.” After much deliberation, Strom chose surgery. She completed a series of three surgeries, with a final take-down procedure in Oct. 2009. Since then, Strom is back to her “new normal.” “I’ve been feeling the best I’ve felt since I was 14 years old,” said Strom.

For more information about IBD, visit

Please login or register to post a reply.

Invite Others

Send an email to invite people you know to join the Gastroenterology & GI Surgery page.

We'll include this text in the user's invitation.