I am a 26 year-old who was diagnosed with IBS after numerous intensive tests and visits to my gastroenterologist about four years ago. During the first year of IBS, I couldn't bear the pain and suffering. By the grace of God, after about a year, this so called flare-up had ended and I was pain-free for nearly two and a half years. Basically, during those years, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Well, this was fine and dandy until about four months ago. This time, the flare-up was back with a vengeance. I studied, using the internet and this website as a guide, and found what I call a great solution to ease the suffering and/or pain. My solution...I'm on Bentyl 10mg three times a day. I wake up in the morning, and take my Bentyl an hour or so before I eat something with 8-16oz water. Fifteen minutes before I eat, I take an acidophilus caplet with 8-16oz water. You can get these at any pharmacy or Trader Joe's store.
For breakfast, I usually eat something light such as two plain toasted pieces of white bread and a banana. Stick to Heather Van Vorous' IBS cheat sheet. Then, 15 minutes before I eat lunch, I take another acidophilus. Today it was grilled chicken, rice and steamed green beans, no butter on anything, but the chicken was marinated in a delicious non-spicy Hawaiian marinade. An hour or so after lunch, I drink a cup of decaffeinated green tea. Two hours after that, it's time for my second dose of Bentyl with 8-16oz water. I try to take this every seven or eight hours as directed.
After work, I head to the gym and run/workout on the treadmill. When I get home, I take my third acidophilus 15 minutes before dinner. This time for dinner I incorporate a little more insoluble fiber into my diet. Lastly, before bed I take my last and final Bentyl of the day with 8-16oz water.
The other factor to consider is that I drink room temperature water frequently all day. Again, this is not a cure but simply a solution that I found is working well and I am greatly satisfied. My pain is very mild, sometimes even faint, and my gas, bloating, etc has pretty much dissipated. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being extreme pain, I'm about 1-2 now. My intent and my hope is that this would work for someone else as well...
I have tried a few different meds and diet alterations lately - calcium citrate stopped me going so often which was a start. I read on this site about pau d'arco, and I really have to say it's unbelievable (touch wood). I noticed effects within a few hours of taking my first pill. My bloating is virtually all gone, and I feel human again. I don't have to run to the toilet first thing in the morning anymore.
It's natural, relatively cheap (£11 for 100 capsules; they say you can take up to three a day) and it just works. My bowel movements aren't 100% but they are getting better every day. I just hope it lasts. I really owe you a huge debt having brought this thing to my attention. It's changed my life. I can't believe it.
The tale of...D (26 June 2007)
As a teenager I did not have the best digestion. However, I do not recall being significantly affected by it. I did however have difficult teenage years socially as I was bullied and, with hindsight, developed a social phobia. Although I went to an all boys school and was having difficulties coming to terms with being gay, the bullying did not take the form of homophobia.
My first relationship started in September 1994 and I started university in October 1995. In early 1997 it was clear that my partner and I were growing apart and so I split up with him. At the end of l997 I met P. I believe P was my first true love and it was when he split up with me in about August 1998 that my IBS symptoms began in full.
I remember a few weeks after splitting up with him I was seeing someone else and I had eaten a bagel and I had the most awful stomach ache the next day. These stomach aches did not go away and I remember trying to eat more fiber to see if that would help but it didn't.
I started my new university (I was to study a PhD) in October 1998. I remember through 1998 and 1999 having an upset stomach and douching, as I thought the pain was constipation, though this did help a bit. Unfortunately I tended to do this before I went out and I tended to have an 'accident' just before I got to the pub/club.
I was still pretty messed up over the split with P and on New Year's Eve I did my first E. In 1999 I feel that I was very unhappy and started smoking and doing speed and E. During this period I discovered that taking drugs got rid of the stomach pain. Throughout that year I was still seeing P and we were sleeping together, and eventually we started going out again. However towards the end of the year, I was taking drugs to get rid of the pain so that I would feel like sex.
Unfortunately, although I was doing all that was required for my PhD, I was also required to go to France, which as I did not speak French and was still socially phobic was too difficult for me and so I dropped out at the end of 1999.
In 2000, P started going a bit crazy and I was feeling trapped and so we split up. Although I split up with him, I was devastated. In March 2000, my life began to improve as I got a good graduate job and bought my own flat. I also started to go to the doctor to talk about my stomach aches and was diagnosed with IBS and prescribed Colofac (mebeverine hydrochloride) and a soluble fiber. These did little to ease my symptoms and I remember drinking too much to ease the symptoms.
I started a relationship with S sometime in 2001. I do not think I was particularly fond of him but I was very lonely. I changed jobs in 2002 and he moved with me. I really hated the new place I was working and my IBS was progressively getting worse. I was also beginning to seriously dislike S as he never seemed to do anything except lie about the house (he did not work or do house work) but felt that no-one else would have me because of my stomach aches.
In 2003, I finally took control of my life and split up with S. I also began to look on the internet to try to work out how I could improve my symptoms. I cut out gluten and things started to improve. I was also running and going to the gym. I was however extremely lonely and was finding it very hard to make new friends. I also changed jobs to try to improve my happiness at work.
At the beginning of 2004, I met someone very special on the internet. We talked for weeks both online and on the phone and both became obsessed with each other. He lived quite a long way away and it would have been difficult for us to meet. We first met in February 2004 and he moved in with me soon after (and we are still together). Although my feelings for him were not as intense as those for P, they are much deeper and broader and I feel that he is my soul mate.
Unfortunately I began to be bullied by my line manager in June 2004 and in 2005, although I was still looking for my IBS triggers, my symptoms were getting a lot worse. Fortunately I found out that not only was I sensitive to foods but also to certain chemicals (things like some detergents, fabric conditioners and varnishes) and once I avoided those my health improved.
So all in all I have discovered that cutting out the following helps my IBS symptoms:
washing powders/liquids (ie: do not put clothes out to dry in the home)
fabric conditioners (as above)
new furniture (air new furniture or buy metal or old).
I again changed sections at work but continued to be bullied. I resigned in 2007 and started a new job in a great place.
So overall, cutting out the above has helped significantly. That is not to say I do not get stomach aches, but they are manageable. I would guess that having a loving partner and a reasonably stress-free job also helps.
The tale of...Ruben (14 January 2008)
I have had IBS-diarrhea for nine years. I've tried different medicines and remedies and nothing has helped much. I was at my wits' end! Then I read a book called A New IBS Solution. It talks about how fructose, corn syrup and diet sugars can cause havoc within our digestive system.
I started reading labels on everything I ate. Anything that had fructose or corn syrup in it I quit eating. After a couple days I started feeling better and I haven't had diarrhea for a month and a half! I told my doctor and he said I probably have fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption. All I know is I'm eating better and feeling better than ever.
The tale of...TDL (14 January 2008)
I began having bouts of uncontrollable diarrhea when I was about 28. Over a period of about two years the length of each bout increased and got worse, until I was 30, when I had a bout that seemed to go on forever. It started at the beginning of the year and still hadn't finished by three-quarters of the way through the year. Complicating the situation was that I also had bleeding when I would go to the toilet. I didn't have hardly any of the sharp pains or nausea that some people talk about, although a few times I have had a little of both - so little that it is not worth mentioning.
Doctor visits and internet research gave me a lot of information, but I didn't know how to start or what would work for me. So, I pretty much tried it all - peppermint capsules and tea, calcium carbonate tablets, ginger tea, avoiding lactose, avoiding gluten, trying an exclusion diet.
The calcium carbonate tablets kind of worked, but they left me very thirsty and anaemic due to the fact that they block iron from being absorbed. The peppermint capsules and tea didn't do anything for me, except slow down any uncontrollable diarrhea. The problem with IBS-D is that there are so many factors of life that can possibly be to blame.
I basically took the approach that my body is a temple, therefore anything that it is 'rejecting' so quickly must be a problem for me. You will find some information that seems to show that diet is not that important in controlling IBS-D - I completely disagreed and trusted my own body to find the answer.
The problem with my approach was that I pretty much refused to let a doctor remedy me with drugs, instead preferring to change my lifestyle or habits. This took the best part of a year to eventually work it out, and in the process I lost a lot of weight. I wasn't sure at the time if it was due to eating less to avoid diarrhea, or due to decreased absorption of my food intake because of it passing through my system quicker.
A colonoscopy and endoscopy diagnosed that I had no problems with my intestinal architecture, and I had some simple hemorrhoids - probably a result of prolonged diarrhea. Importantly, it ruled out celiac disease, which I figured I had because some of my relatives had it.
In the end, it wasn't specialist or doctor visits that helped me, it was (free) online research of all of the possibilities. I finally realized that some
of the things that I thought were healthy, made me have IBS-D - fruits. I figured that fruits were part of man's evolution and were healthy, not realizing that the nature of fruit growing has changed since millions of years ago.
Fruits these days are much bigger, and have far more sugar than those found in the past. Also, I had always suspected that fatty and oily foods made me feel sick, but I discounted the effects of seemingly minor amounts of oils in foods. So, I ended up on a wasteful tail-chase, trying to nail down the effects of gluten, lactose and preservatives on my intestines.
I will paint a picture of how I typically slipped into an IBS-D bout: it starts with a bit of stress, probably at the workplace. Stress makes me feel like eating less (some people are the opposite and eat much more), therefore when I do eat I want quick energy. Quick energy is code for junk food - coke, ice creams, burgers, chips.
Soon afterwards, my intestines have trouble converting some of these sugars and fats, which creates gas. Do this often enough, and the stool will get softer and softer and eventually turn to diarrhea. Basically, the body is saying: 'Hey, get a grip man! Stop trying to kill me with stuff that I don't want and can't get rid of easily. That's it. I'm chucking this stuff out onto the curb. How do you like that?'
So the solution, for me, is to eat regularly, food that doesn't include lots of sugars or fats/oils. On top of this, I have a tablespoon of psyllium husks per day and three peppermint capsules. If I only have the psyllium husks my stool is fairly consistent but my bowel movements are more frequent. The peppermint capsules slow down the movements to once per day or so. The other day I had McDonald's coke, fries and a burger - that night and until the next day, mid-morning, I had gas and rumblings.
If you want to check the effects of sugars on your system, drink a coke and see if you have lots of gas about two or so hours afterwards. If you want to check the effects of oils/fats on your system, make a salad and put a fair portion of oil on it and check what it does to you.
Because of my experiences, I believe that stress is the beginning and the end for me - everything seems to stem from that. I never thought I would say that, because it sounds so airy-fairy, but see for yourself, it can lead to bad eating habits, which lead to everything else.
Good luck working out what seems to cause your system issues. I spent ages trying to work it out and I got very unhappy at times and frustrated. I am glad to be posting a happy story on IBS Tales...finally.