Am I one step closer to an IBS cure?
I'm new to message boards, but I thought I'd share my recent experiences in the hope I may get some feedback on my findings.
My history: IBS sufferer for over 10 years.
Numerous doctors & specialists - unable to find anything wrong. All give up when the basic tests come up negative, or they begin clutching at straws.
Numerous tests - blood, stool, parasites, colonoscopies etc - nothing.
I changed my diet to restrict my intake of trigger items: No coffee, fizzy drinks, spicy foods, reduce milk products, etc seemed to help.
I also learned to 'control' to some extent, the situations that make the IBS worse - getting stuck in traffic etc. I'm sure that many of you can relate.
Mornings are bad - I wake up bloated and and have typical IBS pain and frequent trips to the loo before I can leave for work. Often I am forced to stop at restrooms on the way due to pain, spasms etc.
NOW THE CRUNCHER !! .....
About a year ago, I caught the flu, and subsequently had a chest infection. Since it didn't clear after a while, I went to the local GP and was prescribed an antibiotic containing DOXYCYCLINE.
Within a few days I noticed a dramatic reduction in IBS symptoms.
Withing two weeks, there was almost NO BLOATING, NO IBS symptoms and my perception of my general health went through the roof.
I was on the antibiotics for two months, and for the first time in as far as I could remember, I felt 'normal'.
I felt great in the mornings, could travel on public transport, and didn't feel anxious about getting caught in meetings, traffic etc., incase my IBS would 'strike'.
About one month after the antibiotics finished, my IBS symptoms returned - although I felt that they were not as bad as they had been in the past.
I went to my GP and described the findings to him. He didn't think much of it but said that he was open minded.
Some months later, I was prescribed the same antibiotic and my IBS symptoms again abated. I advised my doctor and he then decided to look into it.
I was screened for the usual things again, but this time I was also screened for heliobacter - the bacteria that causes peptic and other ulcers.
All the results came up negative except for the HB.
I was give a course of antibiotics and proton-pump inhibitors (standard treatment for HB) and my IBS symptoms went away again !!
Then I found out that the original antibiotic I was prescribed is also effective at treating HB, but generally doesn't eradicate it totally.
So that brings me to the present.
I was on the HB treatment for two months and in that time I have felt the best that I can remember.
Prior to the treatment, my IBS symptoms on a scale of one to ten would have been at a nine.
During the treatment I would say 0.5, and now that I'm off the treatment, I would say I'm at about 3.5. My IBS is slowly coming back, but nowhere as bad as before.
I am waiting on results to see whether the HB has been eradicated, or whether it is still present. I'm convinced it will still be there.
My doctor is now examining further possibilities. I am going in for a gastroscopy to determine the extent of the HB damage, if any.
He seems to think that there may be some actiology in effect that associates the HB bug with possibly a secondary bug or other pathological event - which may be working together to produce the IBS.
A secondary side effect that I have noted recently is that my blood tests have revealed an elevated LDL cholesterol, which was never there prior to the IBS being present.
We are following up on whether there may be a link there also. Reading up on the cholesterol newsgroups, I find that some people report IBS symptoms associated with their high LDL numbers also.
The consensus of doctors in the past was that my IBS was probably related to diet, stress/anxiety, genetic predisposition, etc, and that only controlling my diet would help me as there was no known cure.
This was exactly what ulcer sufferers were told prior to the discovery of the HB bateria some 15 years ago.
Now we know that eradicating HB eradicates the ulcer.
I know that my experience may, and probably will not, be relevant to all IBS sufferers.
There are obviously numerous pathological factors that present similar 'classical' IBS symptoms.
If I am onto something though, I want as many people to be aware of what I know as possible - the sooner we find a cure - the better !