I know many people have discussed what constitutes IBS on this board, but somehow each person's symptoms are completely different and none seem to echo mine.
When I was in high school I went on a trip with my family and came down with SEVERE food poisoning from eating manicoti at a cheap restaurant somewhere along the east coast. I had diahrea (okay, how can I not know how to spell something that effects my everyday life) for hours and now, 10 years or so later, have never quite recovered. For awhile I would just get violent diahrea after eating certain Italian foods, and thought I had developed an allergy to whatever ingredient plagued me in the manicotti. In college, though, I noticed that it was getting worse and worse. Almost every night, like clockwork, I would have little appetite for dinner. I would be hungry for the taste of food, but once I started eating I filled up almost immediately. When I tried eating even a modest amount past that, within half an hour I would have to go to the bathroom. It wasn't always awful diahrea, but it was a definite and sudden need to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, it wasn't helping my social life.
Last summer I saw a gastrointestinologist and he diagnosed me with IBS. I am taking fiber tablets twice in the morning, and that seems to help quite a bit. However, sometimes it still hits me right away. I can always tell if I'm going to get sick while I'm eating....if I have to force myself to eat something, I know that it's going to happen.
Last week I was in Hawaii with my family. I had been feeling great lately and hadn't been taking the tablets. I had a HORRIBLE time eating over there....every single meal made me horribly sick, and it was absolutely awful. Towards the end of the trip I started taking the pills again and did note some improvement. Could this be due to the jet lag (it's a 6 hour time difference, so meal times were confusing)? I did do a little more drinking them usual, but I only had one drink a night. I'm just not sure what caused it to get so awful.
Anyway, this has become a very frustrating and embarassing part of my life. I can't go out to dinner with friends without worrying about where I can find a bathroom afterwards. I feel very weak a lot of the time, and worry that this is doing permanent damage to my system while depriving me of nutrients.
Does anyone have any encouragement or suggestions. Is this IBS? Has anyone else experienced similar symptoms? Thanks much for reading, this is a very helpful board!
I was misdiagnosed with IBS. I had gas after eating for 8 years. A doc suggested it could be my gall bladder. When my symptoms got worse and the daily diarrhea started I thought I had the stomach flu or food poisening. I had severe pain and food intolerance for 2 years along with foul smelling gas. All my tests were basically negative. After 5 specialists and 13 doctors later I changed my HMO to a PPO. Then I found a surgeon who was willing to take out my gall bladder dispite negative test results. I feel great! It doesn't always show up on a test! Don't give up. I know of many cases like mine.
A very effective therapy for diarrhea is bile acid sequestrants. They can make diarrhea symptoms go 100% away in some people, giving them a normal life back. Talk to your doctor next time about prescribing Questran. My husband takes cholestyrmine (generic Questran) and has had a 100% remittion to his symptoms as long as he take it. It's a true miracle when it works. It's not expensive and starts working very fast. He goes anywhere and eats anything. Good luck and give it a try.
Here is an article about it:
New Relief for Chronic Diarrhea
Treatment Elicits Dramatic Change in Symptoms
By Norra MacReady
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Dr. Aman Shah
Aug. 17, 2000 -- No one likes to talk about it, but for millions of Americans, chronic diarrhea is not just an embarrassment, it's a crippling disorder that takes a devastating toll on quality of life. "I couldn't go anywhere," recalls Mary Petrozzello, 76. "I would get all dressed up and then have to stay home. I was afraid to budge -- it was horrible."
Making the problem worse was the fact that in some cases, nothing seemed to help the symptoms go away. But now a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that people with chronic, intractable diarrhea may be suffering from gallbladder dysfunction. Treatment with a drug known as cholestyramine, or Questran, originally developed for patients who have had their gallbladders removed, may bring relief when other approaches have failed.
Study author Saad Habba, MD, a gastroenterologist in private practice in Summit, N.J., tells WebMD that chronic diarrhea afflicts approximately 10% of patients who have undergone gallbladder removal. He decided to perform this study when he noticed that many of his chronic diarrhea patients were "behaving as if they didn't have a gallbladder."
"The presenting complaint of these patients was diarrhea [after meals]," he tells WebMD. "Some of my patients were afraid to eat because they would immediately have to go to the bathroom."
To test his theory, Habba performed a study on 19 patients with chronic diarrhea, defined as more than four daily bowel movements for at least three months. The patients, who averaged anywhere from four to as many as 10 bowel movements per day, underwent extensive tests to rule out infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and other disorders known to cause diarrhea.
Further testing revealed that all these patients had varying degrees of gallbladder dysfunction. Three patients had gallstones. Interestingly, the severity of the gallbladder disease bore no relationship to the severity of each person's diarrhea.
The frequency of bowel movements dropped to one to two per day when the patients took Questran before meals, two to three times a day. "It's like a miracle," says Petrozzello, one of Habba's patients. In her case, it took a few weeks to see results. "At first I thought, this guy is nuts," she recalls.
Habba, however, encouraged her to be patient. "It took about a month for the diarrhea to go away. Now I can't believe I feel the way I do -- what a beautiful change." Petrozzello spoke to WebMD from her home in West Orange, N.J., just before leaving to spend the weekend at the beach. "I couldn't do that before," she says. "I wouldn't leave the house." She has been taking Questran once a day for five years and reports no ill effects.
"What Dr. Habba has done, using studies of the gallbladder, is to show that in [some] individuals with diarrhea, the gallbladder is not functioning," says Carroll M. Leevy, MD, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Leevy tells WebMD, "This research is exciting because we now know there's an additional ... mechanism for diarrhea related to gallbladder dysfunction, and it is treatable and correctable in a different manner than we used before."
Diarrhea after eating may be the only clue that a patient has gallbladder problems, Habba says. "We never connected chronic diarrhea to gallbladder dysfunction before. Now we do." He recommends testing gallbladder function before tagging patients as having irritable bowel syndrome or other conditions.
"I want to make this known to other practitioners," he says. "Many of my patients were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, but did not respond to irritable bowel syndrome therapy. I changed their medication to cholestyramine [Questral], and all of a sudden their symptoms got 100% better. It's a dramatic difference."
Petrozzello puts it more succinctly: "Thank God for Dr. Habba"