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happy tales: men with ibs-d page seven

The tale of...Serge (8 January 2011)

I have had IBS for about two years now, with symptoms such as mild and dull pain throughout the body, irregular bowel movements and severe heartburn just to name a few. By far the two best natural remedies for my IBS are organic chicken vegetable soup and yoga. I ate organic chicken vegetable soup for a week accompanied by a light diet of IBS safe foods and Bigelow peppermint tea. The diet sent my IBS into remission for three to four months, until I reverted back to my junk food diet, but I believe if I had stuck to my diet the remission would have lasted much longer.

This is the organic chicken vegetable soup recipe. Every ingredient must be 100% organic. First, put bottled water in a saucepan, a third of the volume, and put on max heat. Add whole organic chicken, and as soon as it starts boiling decrease heat. When you see some grey foam starting to develop, just remove it with a suitable tool. Do this a few times until it is mostly gone; this will take a few minutes. Add salt (kosher or sea salt, avoid regular salt) and pepper and let the chicken slightly boil for 30 min. Test by putting a knife or fork through the chicken - it has to be soft.

After you put the water on the heat you can start cutting vegetables (do this in advance to save time). The vegetables are: one or two carrots, two celery sticks (organic, as regular celery has a lot of pesticides and other chemicals), one mid-sized onion, two mid-sized zucchini, one mid-sized yellow squash (if you have it), one tomato or one tablespoon of tomato paste, and one potato (take the skin off and cut into cubes).

After 30 minutes boiling the chicken add all the vegetables (don't cut them too small) and cook on low to medium heat so everything is slightly boiling for 10 minutes. You can add other herbs if you want - Italian seasoning, parsley, dill etc. The soup is ready when you try a piece of potato and it's soft. Turn everything off and let it stand and cool for one hour.

Yoga does incredible wonders for IBS. My father had mild to severe IBS when he was younger. He started doing yoga (consistently - on a daily basis) and his IBS went away completely in seven years. He started when he was 24 and he is now 54, and has had very few symptoms over the years (mainly due to certain foods that irritate his stomach).

Yoga also does wonders for stress and anxiety (my anxiety and stress went away just after two weeks of breathing exercises, which in turn got rid of many of my IBS symptoms). I would recommend this excellent book to get you started: Yoga: Mastering the Basics. A healthy diet of IBS safe foods is highly recommended to help speed up the healing process.


The tale of...John (15 July 2011)

I have been suffering from irritable bowel for years and it has sometimes been debilitating. After numerous doctor visits and tests and numerous treatment options (some which helped a bit like Paxil and a change of diet) I found that the best results were obtained from assuming that the basis for my problem was small bowel bacterial overgrowth, even though the hydrogen breath test was negative. My gastroenterologist still felt that this was my problem, along with possible microscopic colitis.

Here is what helps me tremendously: little or no sugar and limited fruits, especially very sweet ones. Plenty of fluids (of course). Plain oat meal for breakfast with an egg or banana and tea. No coffee or very weak and limited coffee. No snacking on junk like potato chips; if I must snack I have a small sandwich with cheese or something.

No milk or ice cream (cheese is OK and maybe a little milk in tea of coffee if tolerated). Pepto-Bismol every day: I started with one pill three times a day and cut back. I currently take two every morning and that's all I need, but when the IBS was out of control I gulped from a bottle. I initially kept Imodium (or a prescription drug) around.

The result of the above is no cramping, no gas (unless I cheat), no running to the bathroom four-plus times a day (I am down to one or two max now). The emotional benefits are that over time I felt that I was actually normal again and could plan and enjoy my life... and I do. Hope this helps.


The tale of...Andrew (14 February 2012)

I had mild IBS without knowing it from the ages of 17 to 23. From age 24 to 29 (now) I've had serious IBS-D that comes back every few months. I have strong reason to believe that usually moderate (but sometimes binge) alcohol consumption, an irregular sleep schedule, and regular low doses of antacids (to address heartburn) contributed to my development of IBS.

These treatments have instantaneously stopped a bout but have not worked every time: psyllium husk, a calcium, magnesium and zinc supplement, lactobacillus probiotic powder, and live Jarro Formula probiotics with P-Fos (yellow container). Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane) worked to stop the pain or diarrhea but had unacceptable side effects.

Treatments that had no effect include Flagyl (metronidazole), Cipro, amoxicillin and Diflucan (fluconazole). Bentyl addresses the pain and diarrhea but not the bloating and discomfort. A two-week program of Xifaxan worked (but has anti-bacteria resistant strain risks).

Treatment that were minimally effective, but sometimes saw no improvement include non-psyllium husk fiber supplements, golden seal root, black walnut hull, enteric-coated peppermint oil, Imodium, Gas-X and Pepto-Bismol.

I have identified some foods as triggers, including ibuprofen (one pill can start a bout), caffeine, alcohol (one drink can start a bout), lactose-containing products (I'm lactose intolerant), too much sugar, too much fructose, too much artificial sweetener and generally eating too much or too fast. Other triggers are waking up from deep sleep, not getting sunshine (sunshine actually lessens my pain), lack of sleep, irregular sleep, smoking and general stress.

At least for the people with IBS-D, I'm sure the information here will be very useful. Bentyl addresses the symptoms of diarrhea and severe pain but not the gassiness or the apparent underlying infection or bacterial overgrowth. I've yet to have a bout that was not knocked out by Xifaxan followed by probiotics.

I think that, had I known these things, I would not have lost five years of my life being an unfocused PhD student, then later an unfocused worker in all types of careers, being limited in productivity by a general toilet/urgency anxiety and lack of energy from internal hemorrhoids/blood and liquid number twos five to 20 times a day every day for three to 20 week runs, a few times a year, every year.

I'm finally starting on a path of making sure I'm insured so when problems arise, I'm on probiotics, psyllium, and have an appointment with a gastroenterologist for a prescription of Xifaxan and Bentyl. I don't smoke. I don't drink. I'm otherwise very healthy, both mentally and physically, though the invasiveness of IBS-D and the long, long bouts have in the past made me think about 'the easier way', though only fleetingly.

E-mail Andrew: rakawai@REMOVETHISPLEASEymail.com


The tale of...Eli (7 May 2012)

I was diagnosed with IBS after swine flu knocked my immune system flat on its back. Within a span of months I caught numerous stomach flus and Lyme disease. I was also diagnosed with hugely swollen lymph nodes in my GI tract and H. pylori gastritis. I thought the nightmare was over when I was treated for the H. pylori, but even after that I had awful stomach cramps.

I would often get hit so hard with dizziness and nausea before having to run to the bathroom that I became extremely phobic of leaving the house. I outright refused to go to restaurants because I was so scared that my next meal would set me off. If anyone tried to coax me to go out or, God forbid, eat out with them, I would burst into tears from the anxiety of even thinking of leaving the house.

When I was diagnosed with IBS, finally, and told to cut gluten out of my diet, I began to get better. I was prescribed hyoscyamine and that coupled with my new diet saw me improve so much. Slowly I felt better and began to eat out again with little fear of attacks. The hyoscyamine didn't help my panic attacks, though (I think it made them worse), so I'm now on methscopolamine bromide. This can bind me up a bit, but it has greatly helped my cramps, panic, pain and urgency. I still make sure I know where the bathroom is at all times, but I'm much improved from a year ago.

I've topped off the new diet and pills with supplements. I take a huge multivitamin with probiotics, slippery elm when my stomach is upset from an attack, and I have found that thyroid supplements (I have hyperthyroid and take KLB6) have decreased my IBS attacks even further.

It's not perfect; sometimes I still have to dash out of a stressful class or disappear in the middle of an anxiety-inducing test, but I would like everyone to know that there is always hope of decreasing your attacks and making life livable. There are more medications out there than there used to be, and many natural things to help as well! Stay strong.

E-mail Eli: Chiisaipanda@REMOVETHISPLEASEaim.com


The tale of...Mike (25 August 2012)

I am a 54 year-old male who was diagnosed at the age of two with coeliac (British spelling) disease. At the age of 28, when my son was born, the doctor asked if there were any hereditary illnesses in the family. I mentioned my coeliac and he looked at me and told me I did not have it! I was too fat! (I'm not grossly overweight). I then went through a series of tests and barium 'this, that and the other' and they told me I had been misdiagnosed all those years ago and in fact I have IBS!

Since then I have suffered very badly with stomach problems and lost blood. I have been in hospital with stomach problems yet they say it is IBS and there's no cure and no advice on diet because they don't know what to advise. Through this site I decided on going the coeliac route again and stopped eating anything with gluten. For the first time in about 25 years I have just had my first pain-free day! I cannot believe it. I still insist I must be a coeliac sufferer - the lack of pain is fantastic! I will follow this site and hope to make a positive input into Sophie's fantastic blog.

E-mail Mike: mikeyp58@REMOVETHISPLEASEgmail.com

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