IBS diarrhea, where patients suffer more from diarrhea than from constipation, is the most common form of IBS, with a huge number of people suffering. It can be particularly difficult to deal with because of the need to always stay close to a bathroom, which restricts patient's lives considerably.
Sufferers often have to deal with incontinence, which itself is very distressing and can lead to anxiety about leaving home or traveling. They may also have to cope with unsympathetic responses to their problems, including some idiots who think it's fun to laugh at people when they are in terrible pain.
It's important to remember that IBS diarrhea is a genuine medical condition and no-one has the right to tell you otherwise. Here are some of the common approaches to relieving IBS diarrhea.
Food and diet
Some sufferers are able to identify certain 'trigger foods' which give them diarrhea, sometimes using a food diary to keep records of everything they eat and drink.
Imodium is one of the favorite medications of IBS diarrhea sufferers, although as with all drugs it should be taken with caution. Imodium won't cure your IBS but it is an effective way to stop diarrhea for a day or so if you have an important event or you need to travel.
As well as the traditional tablet form it is also available in liquid form so you can take smaller or more accurate doses, and in chewable tablets if you don't like swallowing pills.
Lotronex is one of the new breed of medication for IBS, and was introduced in the United States in 2000. Many diarrhea sufferers found it to be the most useful medication they had every known for IBS.
However, Lotronex was quickly withdrawn from use when reports started to come in about patients who had been suffering from ischemic colitis, a potentially fatal condition where the blood flow to parts of the intestines is reduced. Some users also suffered from severe constipation as a result of taking Lotronex.
This is what Verna says about her experiences with the drug:
'In February 2000 I was approached to be a subject in a clinical study for Lotronex and I knew within the first 24 hours that I had not been given a placebo. That vague uneasiness in the gut disappeared along with the diarrhea. I realized I was actually becoming mildly constipated! Wow! First time in my life! All of a sudden I could eat like a real person! I could even eat all the fruit I so dearly loved! And drink coffee! And travel...and give up Depends! Life was good!
Since that Black Day of November 28, 2000...when GlaxoWellcome withdrew Lotronex from the US market, I've been collecting and hoarding and continuing to use Lotronex. I began doing my part as a Lotronex Activist, too. I privately wrote a petition for the return of Lotronex.
Since then I've learned that only one of the deaths Public Citizen claimed from Ischemic Colitis was actually Ischemic Colitis and that no connection to Lotronex could be found. The other reports to the FDA of Ischemic Colitis attributed to Lotronex were in fact bacterial infections. I've also learned that many, many, men successfully took Lotronex and are just as desperate for its return.'
Many other Lotronex users felt the same and the Lotronex Action Group was formed to campaign for the drug's return. The group said:
'The Lotronex Action Group believes the medicine to be safe, if dispensed properly, and that the benefits of Lotronex far outweigh the potential risk for adverse side effects.'
And they were successful - in 2002 Lotronex was once again made available in the United States. As I write (January 2005) the official Lotronex website says this:
Important Prescribing Information: On June 7, 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the Supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Lotronex (alosetron hydrochloride) tablets under restricted conditions of use.
The restrictions include a Risk Management Program, the Prescribing Program for Lotronex, which is a component of the Risk Management Program, and a revised indication that reflects the intent to reserve Lotronex for patients in whom the medical benefits outweigh the risks, namely, women with severe diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
These changes are reflective of the serious gastrointestinal adverse events, some fatal, that have been reported with the use of Lotronex. In addition, the initial dose of Lotronex has been reduced to 1mg QD under the Risk Management Program.
The US remains the only country where Lotronex has been reintroduced.
When Lotronex was withdrawn many IBS sufferers started using calcium supplements with good success. Linda says:
'What has helped me for more than two years with almost daily attacks of diarrhea is calcium. Calcium is known to be constipating so if you suffer from constipation-type IBS do not take it. Here is the what and how to take the calcium information if you suffer from diarrhea.
Calcium is an over the counter supplement we all do not usually get enough of. When you take calcium about 40 per cent of the dose gets to the bones, the rest is eliminated in our waste. The calcium goes to the intestines and soaks up excess fluids and binds them together and they are gotten rid of in our waste.
The dose to take is different for everyone. I must take three a day one at each meal and it does not make a difference if I take it before, during or after: just take it regularly. It is worth a try, and I have been getting some good feedback from Lotronex users who are getting some help with the calcium.'
The most commonly used form of calcium is Caltrate Plus.