i just discovered this board.
i've spent the past hour reading posts (most from several years ago) and i am just in awe. in awe that other people suffer from this as well.
i'm 37 now and this started for me in middle school. 6th grade i can remember. i ended up dropping out in 11th grade.(ended up getting my GED). i couldn't do it anymore. i was humiliated every day. i told my parents my "stomach was making noises", which they attributed to just being hungry and thought it would help to bring snacks to class, etc (i had to tell them it wasn't because i was hungry), it was deeper than that and was usually much worse after i ate lunch. it was exactly like most of you describe. like you have a balloon in your intestines and you just wish someone could cut it, and like a balloon, it would just deflate everything and get the air out.
i went to a few doctors who prescribed a few different things, thought i had anxiety, etc...i read everything i could get my hands on regarding the subject of digestion, took charcoal pills, aloe vera juice, gas x, papaya tablets. i became obsessed with nutrition and convinced i had candida or celiac disease, although i've never tested for either one (this was all in the early 90's).
cut to college (community college), dating was hard. movies were out of the question without hiding a flask of some sort of alcohol in my bag to quell the nervousness of whether or not the stomach noises would become so bad that i'd have to say i was sick and leave (can't count how many times this has happened). it was always easier at a theater, but next to impossible when watching a movie in someone's living room (circa 1986-1991 or so). thinking back on my childhood, there were so many things i missed out on because i declined invitations, slumber parties, you name it.
i'm now a stay at home mother and am thankful that i can control my situations more of going to quiet places...i just worry about my kids. i want them to confront me about this if they're ever faced with this issue. my parents think i dropped out of school due to panic attacks...i think all classrooms should be equipped with either a fan, or, my personal favorite, a sleepmate (i have one on my nightstand and take it whenever we travel...so does my mom, brother, aunt, etc...), i've also noticed my doctor's office has one in the room so you can't hear what's going on in the room next door. they're a godsend.
it just breaks my heart that other people are going through this exact same thing...i really think we need to talk to our schools. i know for a fact, some teachers talk, especially in a small community where i grew up and i was too ashamed to make my "stomach problem" a public issue.