Greetings! I'm a 19 year old college student, vegetarian for the last 4-5 years, and i've been experiencing frequent (not daily, but would average to about every other day) diarrhea. I have a lot of gas and frequent headaches (usually mild nagging ones) as well. I read that it's normal to expell waste twice a day, but days on which i do not have diarrhea, i expell waste once or not at all (does this constitute a diarrhea / constipation alternation?). Also, I've noticed that the condition is worse while i'm at school (this was true in highschool as well as being away at college). Also, it most frequently occurs in the evening, immediately after dinner (in highschool on the other hand, it was usually early in the morning).
I've never been to a doctor about this because everyone has always told me that it's just stress or that i need more fiber. However, I don't agree with them anymore because this has been going on since early highschool. Recently i've tried taking metamucil capsules (two a day because I dont want them to act as laxatives and there isn't really a supplement guide), but it didn't seem to change anything.
Now I've read about IBS, Crones dissease, intestinal parasites, food alergies, etc.. but the symptoms are so similar and most of the information i find is from sites trying to sell herbal remedies.. I dont experience abdomenal pain, and the diarrhea sometimes appears somewhat mucusy, but there's never been blood..
So what are your suggestions and opinions? Could it be related to my diet? Should i change the way I'm using the fiber supplement? Do i need to see a doctor immediately, or try other things first? Is there anything you'd rule out from the above information?
I think you have missed the point with the Metamucil totally. You should consider taking the powder form instead of capsules. They will not have a laxative effect. Metamucil is water soluble fiber and is good for diarrhea and constipation. Make sure you take it with enough water.
Also, consider taking Acidophilis caps to re-colonise your good gut flora. Take them twice daily on an empty stomach and keep them in the fridge. If you are having stomach problems, then this flora can become out of balance and Acidophilis contains this good bacteria to help.
You could also consider getting checked over by a doctor too.
I think you may be eating too much fiber. If you're a vegetarian you should be getting enough fiber from fruits and vegetables that you don't need to take a fiber supplement. Try laying off the supplement for a while and see if your symptoms subside. Also, could be due to stress. Some people experience diarrhea when nervous or stressed. Does not seem like a coincidence that you only experience these symptoms when in school. ??