or is this a cronic condition that I will have to live with all my life? I never had stomach problems,was as regular as you can get and the only time I ever had heart burn was when I was pregnant. I'm so depressed today thinking that eating this bland diet and metamucil 2x day is how I have ot spend the rest of my life. Anybody out there have their condition clear up?
The type I had was what I call projectile-pooping, not the constipated kind. Before I write at length, would you care to describe (briefly) your IBS, how long you had it before seeing the doc, how long you have been on their current program, what the diet and meds are, and what they plan to do next to move you forward from the current regime into normal function?
The majority of IBS sufferers have a chronic condition. For some, it's just occasional flares, for others, a daily battle. I suffered from severe IBS, daily pain, with severe flares that would put me to bed, every few weeks, for 5 decades.
As you probably know, IBS is primarily defined by symptoms, not an objective testing. There are subsets within IBS -- people with C vs. D, people with bloating or not, different levels of severity. It's quite likely that IBS is a syndrome for which there can be a number of different causes.
While not generally accepted by the med. community, there are numerous anecdotal reports of individuals who "beat IBS." I am one of those. When my second child was dxd with severe gluten intolerance, I decided to prepare all of our family meals gluten-free, just for the sake of convenience and efficiency, rather than having to cook everything 2 different ways.
Within a couple of weeks, my lifelong constipation (from infancy) had disappeared. And by the one month mark, I realized my pain was GONE. I have now had over 2 yrs. symptom-free, except for one purposeful dietary transgression, which took me 3 days to recover from. The gluten-free diet was my "cure." -- You may consider my IBS managed, rather than cured, but feelin' good is GREAT! I should mention as an aside, that I was tested, and have NONE of the antibodies that define my children's gluten intolerance.
I do not believe for a moment that everyone w/IBS will be cured with GF diet. But I've found enough people with stories similar to mine to believe that some fraction of IBS sufferers would probably benefit from a trial of the diet.
Some people find another food group -- dairy, or soy, or citrus, or oxalates -- contributes to their IBS.
There are quite a number of people with IBS who have been "cured" with a course of a special antibiotic. Gut dysbiosis is a not uncommon cause of IBS. If you can find a doc to RX the meds, that is one thing to try. The dysbiosis model is perhaps why many IBS sufferers find that daily probiotic supplementation (yogurt w/active cultures, or a tablet) is very helpful.
Stress is a frequent trigger of IBS symptoms, and the efficacy of the newer "gut SSRIs" in helping certain subsets of IBS sufferers, attests to the interaction of the brain & the gut.
What I'm trying to say here is, often IBS is chronic. But if you can identify causes, or triggers, your suffering can be greatly decreased. However, it can be a matter of trial & error to find what works. Keep the faith -- researchers are continuing to work on this problem, who knows what miracle med is on the horizon.
The Following User Says Thank You to elmhar For This Useful Post: billawal gakhar (03-29-2011)
Thanks so much for your feedback. I have always been very healthy and these past 2 years have been awful, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto but the
endo says my bloodwork is "fine" meanwhile I walk around feeling like I can go to sleep standing up, I would too except my feet hurt. I was also diagnosed with uterine fibroids, and now I have had diarrhea, sometimes explosive, since Aug 5th. I'm not in terrible pain, but uncomfortable and very gassy. (Had a uterine ultrasound today and the tech had to keep pressing on my stomach to move the gas away!) I'm not a nervous person, have never had a nervous stomach, I don't have a very stressful life. My husband has IBS, but he is in a very high pressure job, and eats like crap. Gastro says I have IBS, says a high fiber diet will fix me. All I want is to feel better and not be so tired and spend half my day in the bathroom. I started the high fiber diet today, we'll see how it goes, at this point I don't have any other plan of action, although I will give the gluten thing more thought, a friend of mine is gluten free for a year and it has changed her life.
I do find it curious that all these health issues come up at the same time, but all the specialists say that one has nothing to do with the other??? Thanks again for your interest and advice.
The Following User Says Thank You to 3boyz4me For This Useful Post: jim1213 (04-03-2012)
Oh WOW, hang in there! I do have some info from my own experience that may help you both, a lot. I will probably post it later this evening or first thing in the AM. In the meantime-- OAT BREAD and sipping water.
No, Doc says blood work is fine, no need at this point. don't understand that but I'm not an Endo...
Hashi is news to me, so I went and Googled it last night. It might explain a lot of my trouble, so a big thanks for that!
My preliminary grasp of Hashimoto is that it can affect you before bloodwork reveals it, so I dunno how he got the diagnosis if the bloodwork is "fine." I did see that they need to evaluate more than just TSH. I would encourage you to get an additional opinion on whether you need treatment, and I would urge you to take my own IBS experience as an encouraging possibility rather than as a recipe to follow. I think the Hashimoto, and certainly any meds for it, might have a huge impact on the IBS itself and on the best approach to IBS treatment.
For all I know, your doc is a genius and has you set up just right, for now. (Hey, it could happen, couldn't it???)
But I think I have a pretty good handle on progressing from incapacitating IBS to an easily-managed normality. I can post what I did and what I encourage others to explore with their docs, and then it's up to others to decide how to use the information. What I have is in the form of a post I made elsewhere, which I will go fetch, edit a bit to make it more current for this board, and post here since we're not allowed (as I read the FAQ) to link folks off-board.
My viewpoint is that IBS is a dysfunctional pattern of peristalsis, when the normal waves of action that move material from mouth to potty become spasmodic and when food is ejected before the small intestine has fully digested it. It can include sensitivity to trigger foods, but the syndrome has far more to do with learned patterns of eating/elimination and being physically agitated over things. Eating for IBS need NOT be bland-- it isn't the heat of any spices that sets it off, and some spices actually help.
IBS is not food allergy. It is very important to move beyond the mindset that you "just can't" eat certain foods, unless they have been individually and specifically determined to be true allergies. In a true allergy, even a small amount is dangerous. IBS is sensitivity, not allergy. When you have IBS, you are not a forever-victim. You're more likely to be a healthy person who needs to resolve a stuck habit that's inadvertently been reinforced by countless repetitions. That is not to say that ithe problem is all in your mind-- but it is important to know that much of the solution is in your mind, at your disposal. You CAN change the phenomenon.
A happy gut, in recovery from IBS, is a gut comfortably full of soluble fiber-- so the muscle walls can have something to hold into, and a happy mass that will absorb the spasms at the site where they occur, and not be passed down along the gut forcing ejection. Like a tunnel full of fluffy pillows would absorb shockwaves.
IBS can debilitate you fast, and severely. I ended up chairbound, as a result of IBS in combination with over-medicated high blood pressure. (At the peak, my worst trigger was water, so imagine the dehydration!) It took 2 years' agressive rehab to get a grip on being alive again. (Search my posts to see a description of the 6-month adrenal/cortisol recovery program that started my rehab.)
It is very worth treating, and for many people, getting it handled reveals a whole lot about your life that is very good to explore. Treating it, and recovering from it, requires that we drop almost all of the conventional wisdom about dieting, so do not try to do both at the same time!
What I did for starters (I call it Level 1)
Increase water-soluble fiber:
Oats in any form;, rolled and cooked are best.
Oat bars (if low in sugars)
Oat bread (it will be oat/wheat flour, but NOT whole wheat flour)
Oat bran (look in the cooked cereals dept. where the cream of wheat is), added to anything
Boiled/baked potatoes, mashed potatoes (no butter)
Sweet potatoes-- baked till very soft, plain with salt optional, no butter. Pumpkin (low-sugar pumpkin pie is GREAT for this medicinally)
Oat/sweet potato bread is great, so is pumpkin bread.
White rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice
Pasta, cooked well; small varieties like orzo or couscous are best to start
Corn chips, corn tortillas, popcorn (Yes, dry popcorn! Amazing but yes!)
Small amounts to start, chewed slowly. Be sure to sip water as these are eaten, and between. Dried-up stuck poop is not going to help, a bit. Picture the inside of your gut holding a nice bowl of somewhat firm oatmeal-- that's what you want in there. That's why it has to be water-soluble fiber, not just "fiber."
Increase digestive-aiding spices:
Cumin (a powerful anti-spasmodic)
Mexican food (avoid fats)
Indian food (avoid fats)
Increase helpful forms of dairy:
Increase helpful habits:
Keep half a loaf of oat bread in the car.
Eat a slice of oat bread before each meal, chewing slowly, and sipping water to keep up with the starch.
Eat a slice of oat bread about 20 minutes after each explosion, chewing very slowly and sipping water.
Decrease trigger foods:
Varies by individual. For some folks it's tomatoes, coffee, milk, SUGAR, vinegar, fats, fried chicken-- often, it's just what we crave. You will know your triggers when you feel good on the oat bread but then add something else and explode in short order. I started with just oat bread and weak tea for several days, and then reintrodiced foods one by one till I could spot the triggers and say goodbye to those dear old friends for awhile.)
Decrease trigger habits:
Don't eat fast.
Don't eat too much at a time. Don't get empty-- keep nibbling plain oat bread between meals.
Don't rush around after eating.
There are trigger SMELLS. Avoid them!
In general, settle the hell down.
Go to Level II when the above is not enough:
Use Immodium as directed and preventively, but not exceeding specified dosage.
Carry a small bottle of cumin (grocery spice shelf) and sniff at it when things start to feel uneasy down there. A vial of Essential Oil of Cumin ($5-10) is better but pretty smelly-- you can get it at the health store's aromatherapy dept. You will FEEL the tense gut relax like a string has popped, and avoid a lot of nasty explosions. (Look in aromatherapy research-- it's a powerful anti-spasmodic) Any explosion you can head off is one more brain cell retrained that you need not explode every time you eat.
When this approach is not enough, document everything you have tried and take that to the doc, and request a prescription anti-spasmodic to add to the above.
If all of that doesn't work, it's time to consider stress medication to interrupt this terribly debilitating cycle.
Whatever level one is at, this can resolve amazingly quickly if you follow the above regimen. It's also possible to slip on the regimen, especially at first, and be right back where you were-- till your brain learns a new set of signals to send your gut.
AVOID till you're well:
Whole wheat bread
Fibrous greens & veg
Once you feel you have it managed--
Here is the amazing truth: Once you are doing really well you can even start adding back in some of the trigger foods and habits, as long as you keep the oats and other water-soluble starches coming in. If you have retrained your gut and the connections in the brain to trust the eating process again, you absolutely should be able to add back in small amounts of your favorite foods, unless they are true allergies for you.
Hi I had IBS for 30 years and found a miracle cure. Drink 2/3 times a day a glass water to which add tbsp apple cider vinegar. My symptoms disappeared immediately and havent returned. It changes the ph balance in the stomach apparently. Good luck
I'm glad the oat bread/soluble fiber method worked for Susan. I have no doubt that her advice will be helpful to a number of folks.
For years, before I discovered my gluten-intolerance cause of IBS, I used a lot of soluble fiber to try to control my symptoms. It was somewhat helpful. Fiber is frequently recommended by docs for both the C & D forms of IBS.
Despite a very high-fiber diet, including plenty of soluble fiber, I continued to be incapacitated by IBS.
Oat bread would make me very sick. Oat bread is full of gluten -- the main ingredient is wheat flour. Even regular rolled oats are contaminated with gluten in the growing, harvesting, & milling (up to 2200 ppm according to recent studies).
I have to disagree with a position that says that IBS is never food allergy or food intolerance. Most allergists will admit, if asked directly, that one manifestation of food allergy can be intestinal symptoms of the sort that might be labelled IBS.
I am sincerely happy for each and every one of us who finds a way to tame or to wave goodbye to the IBS monster. But having lived with that monster for over 50 yrs., I had opportunity to talk to a lot of people, both lay and professional, about their personal experiences and/or recommendations for treatment.
The most common opinions were:
1) that there is no treatment for IBS -- only management, or
2) that there is only One Specific treatment (x, y, z) that works for everybody.
I believe there's a grain of truth to both statements -- that management can be effective, and for some people, management is the way to go. And also that, for some people, the One Specific treatment will do the trick.
But I've been around the block enough times to realize that both viewpoints are essentially erroneous. First, there are people, like both Susan & myself, who do make it through to the other side of IBS. Second, that what works beautifully for one person may not work at all for the next.
IME, finding what works is usually a matter of trial and error. Listening to others who have triumphed over IBS can give one a clue about what to try. I applaud Susan's detailed description of her oat bread cure. For those who wish to have more information about gluten-free diet, I recommend the book, Gluten-Free Living for Dummies, by Dana Korn.
what a wonderful and well-balanced post! I completely agree with you. I think what I meant to convey is that what looks like IBS can be a symptom of an allergic reaction, but is not itself the same as an allergy. An allergy is diffeent from and far more problematic than a "trigger food" and is not part of what I know as a dysfunctional pattern of peristalsis. A food sensitivity, also, is very different from a food allergy.
In fact, quickly eliminating an allergen is not at all dysfunctional-- it's the healthiest thing one would want their gut to do.
Thus I agree that what worked for me would certainly not work for someone with food allergies, until those food allergies can be identified and eliminated.
Thanks again for the wonderfully positive tone of your post and for prompting me to clarify.
I have been living with severe IBS for eight years. I can't begin to tell you the torment I have been through. I have tried everything to take it away, with little or no luck. I had some luck with the diet. As I was reading my local paper a month ago I came across an article about Fructose and how it is very difficult to totally digest. Part of it left undigested in the intestine which attracts bacteria. Fructose is in all fruit drinks like lemonaide, limeaide, Hi-C, Gatoraide etc. and all Soda. Well I had been drinking 2 to three cokes a day for about 15 years. So after reading this article I put two and two together and decided that I needed to quit drinking coke. The first two weeks I was very sick with diarrhea all day everyday. The third week I had only two flareups and the 4th and 5th week (which is where I am at now). I have had no diarrhea, no bloating, no pain, I am normal. My insides feel normal, can you believe it? So, analyze what you drink or eat, read all labels and if you see that you eat a lot of foods or a food constantly that has fructose, that could be the culprit. Give it a month, don't give up. This has been my salvation.
Last edited by starjasmine; 10-06-2006 at 05:03 PM.