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happy tales: men with ibs-d page five

The tale of...Peter (14 January 2008)

My first IBS attack was after a long night of partying five years ago. After this, there was never a social event that didn't hold some distress for me. The main problems were long journeys and dinners. After dinners I had to run to the toilet, but of course, in the most embarrassing moments I was far away from any nearby convenience. As with other IBS-D people, half of my attention during social events was always on the toilet door. I found myself constantly worrying whether it would be occupied or not, what people will hear when I am inside, etc… It was really exhausting.

I could manage long journeys by not eating and taking Imodium before them, but these actions didn't help with the horrible distress and small panic attacks which awaited me on the bus or in the car. What a loss if I think about how much I could have enjoyed, the nice view or a long and calm sleep as most people do. But I tried not to miss any events because of IBS.

After a couple of embarrassing events, I decided to learn a relaxation technique where I can visualize situations and prepare myself for them. Unfortunately the psychologist who taught me this convinced me of the delusion that it is 'all is in your mind, this is not a body thing'. Subsequently the technique helped me a lot to fight the panic attacks, but couldn't help the body functions heal.

These years were when I became religious. If I only take the psychological benefits from being religious, it helps me understand that not every event, not even within my body, is always in my control. I have to accept that if I was destined to suffer from this syndrome, I have to firmly keep on healing myself, because I can learn a lot from it about my body and soul.

I saw that being in the city and the stress of work caused a lot of suffering from IBS. I decided to get out and move to another country, into the desert. As an engineer, until then I didn't know what it meant to do physical work on the fields. This decision was part of my thinking that I won't let IBS have control over me, and I won't let nice things pass because of it.

A year ago I decided to see a gastro specialist. She diagnosed me with lactose intolerance and IBS, and gave me some medications. But instead of taking them I went to see a doctor who was also an expert in homeopathy. She collected all of the information including my health history and family relations, bodily and psychological reasons for IBS. She gave me argentum nitricum and aloe, and other treatments. Because of them, most of the body symptoms of IBS left me. I still have problems with distress in social events and journeys, but I think it won't last long.

E-mail Peter: [email protected]

The tale of...Jeff (30 June 2008)

I have had dyspepsia (excess stomach acid) on and off for about 15 years, and it has been worst for the past three years. Several months ago I developed IBS symptoms and my GI doctor confirmed that IBS was probably what I had. My symptoms were less severe than a lot of people and consisted mostly of bloating and constant pain with some diarrhea. Symptoms came and went in three or four-day cycles.

I tried the IBS diet by Heather Van Vorous, and it kind of worked. The best thing about that diet was that I ate healthier (although my IBS was not cured). I then tried the hypnotherapy CDs (IBS Audio Program 100) from Great Britain, and those worked better than the diet. I also used meditation and yoga (which I have practised for years), which worked on my IBS-related stress but not really on the IBS.

However, the breakthrough for me was unexpected. I was on a camping trip about two months after my first symptoms had developed and I stopped at a beautiful overlook. The sun was coming up, the weather was perfect and nobody was there but me. It was one of those perfect moments after a couple of tough months struggling with IBS.

Suddenly, I had this feeling from who knows where, and I said out loud 'I am not going to let this IBS run my life starting right now'. I said it right from my heart, and I have never felt stronger about any statement that I have ever made. I felt like that statement was from something larger than myself.

Since that moment, my symptoms have mostly disappeared. The other day, I tried this with the dyspepsia and it has worked, although the experience was not nearly as strong. I guess in the end, I no longer give IBS any attention nor do I feed it any mental energy. I don't follow the IBS diets, although I do eat healthily and avoid certain foods/beverages.

Obviously, it is not so easy for many IBS sufferers, and it is impossible not to give attention to your guts when they are ripping apart. However, I did find that not giving it attention was the best remedy for me. I am fairly convinced that it will not come back in force for me. Don't infer that I think 'it is all in your head'. I don't - I am just sharing what worked for me. Good luck to everyone.

E-mail Jeff: [email protected]

The tale of...Dutch (8 July 2008)

My wife had a bottle of liquid aloe vera around the house and I decided to try it for my GERD...the day after I took it my stomach started to feel better. I have been taking it for about two weeks and my IBS is 80% better. I take George's aloe vera. No additives, no water added, two ounces twice a day after a meal. You can take with juice or water or as is. There is no taste. I can't believe how much better I feel...Oh and guess what! The GERD is gone!

E-mail Dutch: [email protected]

The tale of...Pete (23 July 2008)

I no longer have IBS! I had been diagnosed with IBS and had suffered with it for 12 years. My worst symptom was regular explosive diarrhea right after breakfast and right after lunch. As you can guess, it limited my social life and I had some really close embarrassing moments during those 12 years.

During those 12 years the doctors would listen and said that it was IBS and they always gave me a diarrhea medicine. On 4 January of this year, my daughter said that she had a friend who had the same symptoms and that I should be checked for an allergy to wheat/gluten.

Instead of getting checked out, I cut out all of wheat-based foods - breads, cookies, donuts, cakes, soups, some candies, some sauces and soups, all cereals other than cornflakes, and on and on...within one week of my removal of wheat products from my meals, my diarrhea went away. And I have only had diarrhea twice in eight months! I'm a normal person again. Just think, after 12 years I cured myself with the help of a friend. A wheat, rye, and barley-free diet is not the most pleasant diet as you eat a lot of corn products, but it's a God-sent cure for me.

E-mail Pete: [email protected]

The tale of...Joe (7 January 2009)

I had been suffering from IBS-diarrhea symptoms for about five years. I first noticed it when I was about 27 and found myself needing to use the bathroom far more urgently than I had to previously. My first real 'experience' was when I was forced to use a bathroom stall with no door in a busy, dingy bar. Of course I had scoped out the bathroom situation earlier, so at least I knew there was no toilet paper and that I had to grab a handful of bar napkins before heading in so I had that going for me.

Those sort of things happened to me with annoying and frustrating frequency for the next few years. The usual that I've seen from other stories on this site. Fear of places without ready access, always having to quickly excuse myself after dinner, never leaving home without at least three Imodiums, etc.

Anyway, the happy part comes when I read that fiber sometimes works for IBS-D sufferers. This seemed pretty contrary to conventional wisdom to me at first but after reading more about the explanation of why this is so and figuring I had nothing to lose (it couldn't get worse, could it?) I gave it a shot. Apparently insoluble fiber helps absorb excess fluid in the stool and soluble provides more bulk.

That was about a year ago and I am 95% better. I still have to be careful what I eat (no, I don't need a second slice of double chocolate fudge cake) and I still carry my emergency Imodium but I am so much better. I am not afraid to go shopping and don't force friends to wait while I try to go before we head out. So, while I am not 100% a regular person (pun intended) I have my life back and I am enjoying doing the things I used to love.

I just take the recommended dose of Metamucil before each meal for a total of 15 capsules a day. Five capsules in the morning, five before lunch, and five before dinner. A little annoying, sure, but beats the heck out of the alternative! Good luck to everyone out there. I know what you're going through. If you haven't tried fiber, give it a shot. It took my body a few weeks to adjust to the increased fiber intake so don't get frustrated if you don't see benefits immediately. If it works, and I hope it does, you too could experience the happiness that comes with normal, solid movements...funny how the little things make us happy!

E-mail Joe: [email protected]

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