I've found that within minutes of eating/drinking something with the artificial sweetener sorbitol in it, I either have major D or gas! I tought I read something about this bothering a lot of people (not just IB-folks), but wasn't sure if it was actually the sorbitol or something else...
Yes, I have major problems if I eat something with sorbitol in it and I don't have IBS. This last time I ate some wintergreen candies with sorbitol and I thought I had gotten IBS, it was so bad!!! This was the worst ever and I will not ingest that stuff again. It took about 2 weeks for my system to straighten out. I looked it up on the internet and it is known to cause IBS and other bowel problems.
I too believe that I have problems with artificial sweeteners. I started taking Metamucil in January 2005 and it helped me dramatically. I still had pain and urgent bowel movements, but no diarrhea for a long time. Then in May 2005 I had to have a CAT scan. They gave me something to drink that they told me contained artificial sweetener, and sure enough after drinking it I was in the bathroom with diarrhea for the first time in months.
I was diagnosed with a "spasic colon" years ago. I do quite well with no major symptoms until I chew sugarless gum with Sorbitol, then I have major abdominal pain. Took me awhile to figure it out, but now as long as I don't chew the sugarless gum with Sorbitol then I'm basically symptom free.