I am 49 and have had IBS since my teen years. My family has some history of IBS, but I have always had it the worst. I was in a serious accident when I was 15 and hospitalized for three months. It was during this time that I had the first real bad attacks of IBS.
Things calmed down in my gut until my early 30s. My wife had serious medical problems which caused a serious amount of stress in my early 30s and this set off the bad symptoms of IBS that I have suffered from ever since that time.
I have gone to many top gastro doctors and none of them helped. They told me that this is not a life-threatening condition, but I was never worried about that anyway. I have the serious constipation form of the disease and I can go up to two weeks without having a bowel movement. Then, usually out of the blue (but it usually is related to eating), I'll get intense cramps.
If I can't go to the bathroom on my own I will take an enema. It usually takes two to three hours and three to four Imodiums before I am finished. I usually feel better for a few days after that and then the cycle starts again.
I have tried things like Konsyl, Citrucel, etc as well as various drugs such as Levsin, Donnatal, Bentyl, etc. I also avoid spicy foods, red meats, dairy products and stick to a very bland diet of turkey, chicken, potatoes, rice, tea, bread (but very little pasta), some fruit and vegetables and avoid sweets (even though I love sweets).
I have had episodes in my life where the IBS was under control and I functioned normally, but usually something happens that sets it off. For
example, I was taking several tablespoons of Konsyl a day and having regular bowel movements over a period of three to four months.
Everything was fine and then, all of a sudden, I started having terrible gas. I tried to adjust the amount of fiber and change to another brand, but nothing helped. I went off the fiber and the IBS came back.
I have also found that regular exercise helps and this is good for you in any case. Clearly, avoiding mental stress is also important. I tend to agonize over things and that can set it off. Keeping a 'level head' is very important for those who suffer from IBS. But this is all 'easier said than done.'
At this point, I am just alternating between constipation and severe cramps and long episodes in the bathroom. I am not happy about it, but I view the IBS as a disability I have to live with. People survive with much worse things.
I try not to let the IBS stop me from doing things I want to do. For instance, when I was a teen I played in blues bands in high school and college, but stopped in my 20s. In my early 40s, I started playing again and got to the point where my band tours nationally. Two years ago, I drove cross country on a tour. It was difficult and I ate very carefully, I lived on Pepto and Imodium, but at least I did it. It is a drag to have to live your life around your gut, but, you have to focus on what is positive in your life.
I'm a 52 year-old male with IBS and as everyone else has said it takes over your life. I wake up every morning very early with cramps in my back and in my stomach. When I first told my doctor he asked where the pain was and I had to tell him it was different all the time. He basically told me that there was nothing he could do. He said watch my diet and take an antacid.
Didn't work, I'm still waking up at 4 or 4:30am with the cramps and until I have a bowel movement of some kind I have the pain. It changes your personality or at least that's what I have found, I can't talk or be social in the morning because of the pain. It's some comfort to know it's not all in my head!
Wow - I stumbled on this site and read through some of the tales and I've got to say I know what each and every person here is going through. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone. For as long as I can remember, until the age of 22 I would have to find a toilet and find it quick right after I ate. All of my friends knew this and if we went out to eat, we'd have to wait and stick around for a couple minutes before we left because I'd have to wait to feel that dying urge to empty my bowels.
Anyway, from the age of 22 on (I'm now 25) I've been facing bouts of constipation and cramps and gas and it's just so unbearable at times. I read on the homepage about the pain that person was going through, and I can relate 100%. As soon as that first wave of pain hits, I just want to retreat to my house to my safety spot and just be alone. That way the pain isn't as bad. Normal people would probably just think 'Well, if there's pain, go to the bathroom', but it's just not that easy. Sometimes I could sit somewhere for 10 minutes and can't make anything happen.
It affects my work, and it affects my relationship with my girlfriend as far as not wanting to go out or go on vacations because the stress of
leaving my 'safety zone' just really gets my body all worked up. Anyway, just wanted to let anyone out there who may be reading this know that you're not alone. There are many people suffering. And it is just as hard for all of us to talk about this with those who just don't necessarily understand fully the pain that we go through.
The tale of...Everett (December 2006)
My IBS affliction isn't nearly half as bad as everyone else's, but it's still something that is extremely aggravating. About four months ago I
happened to get a stomach bug that caused acute diarrhea for two weeks straight, accompanied by a high fever, night sweats, all that fun stuff.
After two weeks the diarrhea cleared up, but then I noticed that I had mucus in my stool. Sometimes, I feel like I have to pass a stool very badly, but then all it turns out to be is a tiny bit of mucus. I went to the doctor and it turned out that I had a very small hemorrhoid and a 'minor case' of IBS.
I now have some bloating, along with passing mucus in my stool all the time. I don't particularly have pain. However, my stool seems not to smell the same as it used to (disgusting as it sounds, I feel like it just smells different). And I don't know if this is from the mucus or from bacteria or other things that shouldn't be there.
I have been taking Fibercon now twice a day but it doesn't really seem to be doing anything. I am wondering if anyone else has had the mucus and strange smelling problem, or am I alone on this and should I ask the doctor to do more tests to see? I never knew such a widespread thing could be so aggravating to my health!
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS and I have been enduring it ever since. When I first encountered it I was a highly ranked amateur cyclist. I was also involved in martial arts, competition squash and other social sporting activities. I was 27 at the time.
During bouts of IBS, whenever those terrible moments passed on the toilet I also suffered chronic fatigue where I found that all I could do was stumble to bed and pass out having no energy. I suffered not only the affliction of IBS but the humiliation of having those around me make statements that I was just being lazy because I kept my personal pain of IBS to myself. It's not something you can share in detail with others without making them feel off.
For instance, how could they understand what it is like to go to the toilet 15 times a day, crying your eyes out as you pass a movement where it feels like hot lava is draining from your body? How could they understand bursting hemorrhoids just by going to the toilet?
I must admit that during my years of having IBS my diet has not always been appropriate. Whilst I was a cyclist, the high carbs and calories needed to provide my body with enough energy to do the sport as well as compensate for IBS was probably not good for me.
As I write this, I have just came from the doctor's surgery, where he stated that I did not have IBS due to the symptoms that I gave him regarding the past few days. I had just looked up on the internet some information that confirmed my symptoms, but my own family doctor sees it as something else.
To put the icing on the cake, he told me that there is are no known medical facts about patients with IBS suffering with a total loss of energy
after passing bowel movements. This affliction as I call it seems to be the 20th century affliction due to all the unknown chemicals that go into our
body from all the food that we eat, and I am sure that one day in the future our affliction will have an explanation, but that day is not here yet.
In closing I would like to say that I have not found any real answers to helping myself, except that I have watched certain types of foods that
increased the IBS and that the IBS decreased as I began to avoid those types of foods. I still have the IBS cycle of three weeks of two to three days constipation followed by movement and then at the fourth week I will have a week of IBS where I'm passing lava each movement together with blood.
All I can say is that I deal with it, I try to live a normal life without it interfering so much, but there are days where it does. I am just trying to deal with it one day at a time.