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Old 12-06-2011, 08:52 PM
2,873 posts, read 4,538,665 times
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Short background summary-

Between the ages of 13 to about my mid twenties, I had severe IBS symptoms. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a functional syndrome that causes diarrhea, constipation, and pain. Unlike inflammtory bowel disease, there are no diagnostic tests for IBS- you are diagnosed by ruling out anything else it could be, which usually means colon scopes and other unpleasant tests.

I had such severe pain that throughout high school and college I usually had to stand during my classes because my stomach hurt so bad. My mom used to drive to school to give me Pepto. I couldn't go to the movies or out with my friends a lot of the time, and when I got my first job I usually came in late because I was stuck in the bathroom for hours.

The doctors suggested fiber (insoluble, which is the worst for this condition- see below) and tried me on a few pills that slow the motion of the stomach. Nothing was helping. Things finally got so bad that on the night of my brother's wedding I had to pull over in the car and make use of the woods- it was just a horribly embarrassing thing.

On the other hand, that night gave me the push I needed to really do some research and make some changes. I started following the IBS diet (and I swear I am not associated in any way with the author of the book), which is outlined in the book "Living with IBS' and 'Eating for IBS'

Basically, I gave up milk, cheese, red meat, insoluble fiber, caffeine, carbonated beverages, anything very fatty like fast food, and anything with artificial sugar. Obviously, this meant radically changing my diet. I learned to make soluble fiber the base of my meals, which is a big departure from what most diet books suggest. Giving up things like red meat and fast food is more obvious, but the fiber is what makes the big difference. Soluble fiber is the type of fiber found in white flour and white rice. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains. You still need insoluble fiber, but eating soluble fiber first helps cushion your stomach and reduces the risk of both diarrhea and constipation. The diet heavily pushes peppermint tea as well, but I found that simply did not work for me and made my symptoms worse.

I've been able to add some things back into my diet (like Kit Kat bars, thankfully!!), but I haven't had soda, coffee, milk, or fast food in almost a decade. The only times I have a flare up of symptoms is when I'm traveling- otherwise my symptoms are about 95% improved.

The real problem with IBS is that few doctors know how to treat it, and studies have shown this. They also severely underestimate the amount of pain and disability it causes. It is the most commonly diagnosed stomach ailment in women, so there's really no excuse for brushing it aside as doctors tend to do. I think many people don't realize they have it- I've heard many people complain of frequent stomach issues while at the same time seeming to accept it as normal or unfixable.

I'm not saying changing your diet will work for everyone with IBS. I also wouldn't say the IBS diet is necessarily the healthiest overall diet, since it does depend so heavily on soluble fibers (which equals carbs). But for me, it really did radically change my life. You don't have to purchase anything- there are plenty of places online to read more. I just like to share the idea because I benefited so much from it.

Okay, public service announcement is over. If you have IBS- what has helped you? What hasn't helped? Do you find your doctors are treating it as a serious condition?
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:29 PM
951 posts, read 873,372 times
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Biggest help was eliminating milk/dairy products. Went on "food combining" diet which suggests eating foods only with certain other foods---too tired to try to explain here tonight but you can google it. I eat fish, chickenor turkey, and eggs for primary protien--have difficult time with beans, soy, nuts. Only sugar is small amt in dark chocolate eaten in small amts each day---no other caffiene. Sorry-- have fibromyalgia and in middle of flare--too tired to write more. thanks for helpful post.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:14 PM
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I was never diagnosed with IBS but I'm pretty sure I have it. I had to have colonoscopy's done (the first one they found a polyp when I was 19). The 2nd was a follow up 3 years later. Either way, I became lactose intolerant sometime in high school. Sugars, spicy food, very salty food and dairy mostly give me the runs but sometimes it does the opposite. Caffeine, same thing. Anxiety also gives me the runs...its terrible. I hate eating when I travel because I always gets "plugged up" and wind up having to go on a lemon water and salad diet to get things going again. Also, if I stay the night somewhere besides my place or my mom's, I somehow can never go to the bathroom until I can sleep in my own bed again. So for example, in relationships..I wouldn't be able to go the bathroom the whole weekend that I would spend with the guy and its not anxiety..my stomach just stops working. Oh, and I've definitely had to be late for work cause I was stupid enough to eat breakfast and had to go to the bathroom again a half hour later (not sure why but my stomach is too active in the mornings, probably explains the constant nausea too). Try explaining that to a boss who's angry that you're late...awkward..so I don't bother. I just accept that it was my fault. So by process of elimination, I"m guessing I have IBS and my health insurance is so bad that I haven't bothered having my doctors research more.

Either way, what is this book called? i might look into it so I can function better! haha
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:19 AM
Location: Philadelphia
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I was diagnosed with mild IBS, meaning that it doesn't come along with the insane amount of pain that others get. My doctor said it was safe to take Miralax (or a store bought laxative like Miralax) whenever the symptoms arose again, and this symptom was constipation. I've been eating the same diet for years, and I barely eat any dairy, so it just got progressively worse. I also eat a lot of whole grains, drink about 8 glasses of water (or more!) a day, plus a huge mug of tea at night. Also, I exercise every other day by running on a trail behind my house. So it wasn't that any of those things needed changing.

My doctor had taken all of this into consideration and said that if I took Miralax every time I notice I'm getting a little um, constipated, then it would definitely help. So now, i don't take it every day, but say, once a week and even then it's only a 1/2 cap full. It does help.

Maybe I will look more into those books that you had mentioned. I like your story too, it helps.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:32 AM
Location: Mayberry
31,572 posts, read 12,705,655 times
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I have it and I have the book. During the worse times I can go to the bathroom 15 to 20 times a day, lots of bloating, pain, urge. I take Librax, it's a combo of an anti spasmodic and a very small amount of benzodiazepine. No dairy, I eat soluble fiber, oatmeal, bananas, sourdough bread, lentils. I don't eat much insoluble fiber. Stress seems to be my biggest trigger.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:24 AM
Location: Floribama
13,482 posts, read 29,425,055 times
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Originally Posted by tasmtairy View Post
I have it and I have the book. During the worse times I can go to the bathroom 15 to 20 times a day, lots of bloating, pain, urge. I take Librax, it's a combo of an anti spasmodic and a very small amount of benzodiazepine. No dairy, I eat soluble fiber, oatmeal, bananas, sourdough bread, lentils. I don't eat much insoluble fiber. Stress seems to be my biggest trigger.
Be careful with that Librax, it can be addictive.

I have IBS (D type), and I would get the occasional episode of bile salt diarrhea after eating, a half packet of Questran per day solved that problem. A side effect of Questran can be constipation, so I take a big tablespoon of Metamucil in a full glass of water every night before bed, along with three capsules of Slippery Elm bark.

Of course stress really aggravates IBS, and on those high stress days I use Immodium.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:38 PM
Location: St. Louis
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First of all, OP, congrats on your successful cure. That had to have been a very large victory for you and glad you found something that worked. Docs are kind of useless with this sort of thing b/c everyone's problems are so different. I've been dx'ed with it also and my problems are nothing like what you describe and I got sent home with the advice to not eat meat, even though I can eat meat quite well over 95% of the time.

I have heard some great things about L-glutamine, esp for the diarrhea part of it, but I know it's not constipating, since that's my main complaint--in fact I've been pretty regular since starting it. It's supposed to heal your intestines and regulate the amount of water that your stool absorbs. As for the dosage, I think the recommendation is to start with 1 gm 3x/day and you can go up to 5gms 3x/day, so work up to the dose that works for you. There is plenty more advice and info online about this.

It also has many other benefits as well since it's an amino acid--it helps clarity of thought and has been used successfully for those with AD/HD, and regulates blood sugar metabolism and if you have hypoglycemia and you feel your blood sugar drop, you can take glutamine and it will regulate it w/o you having to eat candy and thus you can get off that merry-go-round. It will also help your body make growth hormone which will keep you young forever. JK about young forever but it will help. Body builders use it to make better muscles and it's the amino acid your body uses most.

How many of you have been taking probiotics? I've read that probiotics with insoluble fiber is a great combo b/c the probiotics need the insoluble fiber (prebiotics) to nourish them.

Also a remedy that I've used successfully but should not be used on a regular basis is activated charcoal caps--they absorb all kinds of nasties and esp gas and odiferous gas--I use them to get rid of that awful feeling of having swallowed a rock that has settled down into my groin--I bet you guys know that feeling. Should not be taken with pills or vitamins or anything since it will absorb those as well as poison, which it's famous for doing.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:42 AM
Location: Floribama
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Probiotics did nothing for me. My problem is my body tends to overproduce bile, especially after a large or high fat meal. Once I got the bile under control, the diarrhea was under control 90% of the time. There are times when the diarrhea doesn't seem to be caused by bile though, and the Imodium is helpful then.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:29 AM
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Default Tired of IBS (it's very tiring).

I have always gotten "the runs" when I was nervous or stressed.
When I was in my 20s & 30s, it was just one extra bm, then back to normal.
As I grew older, it got worse.
I never had it "doctored" because I knew if I just gave my stomach a rest, it would go away.
Now, in my late 60s, my IBS is horrible, and I'm having trouble managing it.
Breast Cancer.
Or the chemo they gave me for it.

The first chemo, Doxyrubin (the red devil), so caustic it will eat away IV tubing, "just" ruined my heart.Its KNOWN to do that.By now, 8 years after, I have pretty severe edema, from congestive heart failure.
The second chemo killed my gut.Taxotere, another caustic poison, blew out (in the words of my chemo nurse) my "whole mucus membrane head to toe."We dont have mucus membranes in our limbs, but OMG the SINUS trouble I had.My nose would bleed freely.If I blew it I never knew what the tissue would hold.Blood can be embarrassing.Standing on line @ Whole Foods with my fingernails black (another charming side effect)and my nose bleeding was definitely not elegant.

When I finished chemo, my oncologist wouldnt let me be NED (No Evidence of Disease)until I had a colonoscopy.
I was already riddled w/diarrhea.
But the DOCTORS insisted it would be fine.
Can you imagine?
That salty fake cherry syrup, all those clear liquids and ALREADY having diarrhea?It was a NIGHTMARE, and one from which I never completely recovered .Since then I had a LOT more trouble w/IBS-D.(PS my colonoscopy was fine, showed one tiny benign polyp.I got a 10 year come-back from gastro.It's not up yet.I cant IMAGINE doing the prep again, though.)

The next bad theing was extreme stress.I lost all my retirement $ in The Crash, and subsiquent crashes.Since chemo gave me supreme arthritis, (and I WAS retirement age), I didnt work.My $ gone.What to do? An artist, my social security is***$600*** a month.
I downsized my apartment, the move almost killed me.I was so stressed I became weak, from IBS-D.I lost weight (without trying)I had the distinct feeling any food I ate was being sent out without diogesting any benefits from it.I LIVED on boiled skinless chicken breast, (onions & carrots in the soup)WHITE rice, a little applesauce.I had to take Immodium pro-actively, to have any hope of owning SOME food instead of just renting it.Immodium dried me up.I was always weak & thirsty.

After the move, I GRADUALLY grew calmer, and started putting the weight back on, feeling stronger.
My ONCOLOGIST, by the way, was FINE with all this.Oncs only care about cancer.

My primary care doc suggested Metamucil.To my surprise it DID glue my BMs together, nothing normal , but better, somewhat formed.I refuse to take Metamucil--chemicals, sugar--who knows what? Enough chemicals for cancer to last me 3 lifetimes.
I buy organic psyllium husk @ Whole Foods.Organic India makes nicely flavored psyllium.
Watching my diet for irritants, I found that gluten makes me runny.I've always been lactose intolerant.So I eat goat milk yogurt.And in the morning eat a (nasty) piece of Udi's Bread, toasted and paved with almond butter.Lots of green tea.

For the rest-clean (organic, grassfed) meat,mostly chicken.Lots of vegs, fruit,and salad.Some brown rice or a potato.If I'm having trouble, I skip the raw salad and downsize my veg portion.I love hot spices and continue to be able to eat hot peppers in food, hot curries.If I'm having a very bad day I dont eatr them.But Turmeric,Ginger, and many Indian & Asian spices are like medicine, and I like & use them.Baked potatoes, bananas-these are soothing.
And every evening before dinner, a 12 oz mixer glass of water with (by now) *4* tbsp of psyllium.Ewwwwwww! If you dont swill it right down, it gels right in the glass, has to be gagged from a spoon

I know IBS has constipation involved too, but I WISH for that side.
Lately the devil stress is back-I'm applying to senior housing projects all of which have YEARS-long waiting lists, (and are too small).I dread getting out of bed, sneak past the phone praying for no message light flashing, that they dont call me & say they have an apt for me, but afraid they wont, too.(My stomach hurting even now.)
And all the psyllium--isnt holding it for me any more.I have added BMs.And after my morning tea I can ,suddenly hardly make it to the bathroom in time..(It seems the warm tea relaxes my bowel.)(People w/IBS-C, take note!)
So yesterday I took 2 Immodium pro-actively.And this morning I didnt have that terrifying urgency.

Today I have taken 1 Immodium.And am hoping to be able to wean off of it, AND the psyllium.

(I know I'll never be entirely well until I get the housing project move made, but I dont like the thought of being increasingly worse leading up to it.I do meditate, take a walk daily, and spend time nightly before bed reading a great book.)Even if we ACT calm and in control the BODY knows.I read the bowel is medically known as the second brain.)

What do you think? Do you think using Immodium is OK? Any time limit?Think I have a chance?Any suggestions?I appreciate any & all.Thank you.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:47 AM
2 posts, read 11,159 times
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Default Ps:

I forgot to tell you about Heather's Tummy Fibers.
Heather is an IBS sufferer, and has a line of very nice, soothing products out for IBS.Instead of gritty psyllium, she has lovely, tasteless Acacia Powder.There are pepperment gel-caps (peppermint soothes and slows the bowel).And peppermint and fennel teas.I think there is slippery elm, too.Also variety packs of the things, and Acacia powder in little travel sachets like sugar.

As an artist, I have a pretty big imagination.As soon as I read the intestine turns from pale to mounting shades of red when irritated, I began to be able to visualize my poor gut, brilliant red.I do try to sooth and placate it.
I've always used herbs for tea and food, but I do have some of Heather's things and came back to share this resource.
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