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sad tales: men with ibs-d page three

The tale of...Ryan (May 2005)

I am a 20 year-old male, with no known GI defects or complications that run in my family. For the past two years I have experienced many strange bowel symptoms. I don't know who to turn to. I have seen various doctors about my 'condition.' I don't know who to believe.

I have done fecal/urinal tests, had a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, biopsy, barium x-rays and so on. Even at my age, I don't understand what could be wrong and it seems the doctors just think I'm complaining about nothing.

I believe I am relatively healthy. I eat fairly well. I swim as often as I can. I have tried various drugs as well. The one I recently tried, Dicetel, a large bowel muscle relaxant, doesn't seem to have worked. I've been taking it for about two weeks. At first everything was normal, I felt great, then suddenly a few days ago the diarrhea started, then constipation.

I seriously don't know if anyone cares or has any ideas. I don't wish anything like this on anyone else. In this day and age we have the technology to find out what's wrong with us, the problem is the waiting lists. Good luck to everyone else.

E-mail Ryan: [email protected]

The tale of...Jon (May 2005)

I wrote here several months ago about problems with IBS and how it has been negatively affecting my life. In those months I've essentially come up with some tips that have helped me quite a bit and thought I would share them, and hope it helps some of you as well.

  1. Stay active. As scary as an attack is and as frightening as it can be, keep going to work, having your social life and exercising. I've found the more days I lay idle and be a couch potato the worse my symptoms will get and they will last much longer.
  2. Don't fret or stress. Worrying and concentrating on the disorder are going to do nothing but put even more stress on your mind and body. it will negatively affect you and the people around you the more you worry and limit yourself
  3. Find trigger foods that might set you off, or seem to correlate with attacks. For me I notice imported beers (loaded with preservatives) really give me aches, pains and dizziness. Onions, processed cheese, sour cream, fatty foods, candies, chocolates and sweets, as well as canned pasta (anything with a tomato sauce) tear into me as well, and eating one serving of them can literally handicap me for days. Yesterday I indulged and had a couple of beers, canned pasta and a hamburger for dinner, it was delicious, but 24 hours later I'm still paying with a very angry digestive system.
  4. As embarrassing as it can be try to release gas no matter where you are. It can be embarrassing and sometimes smelly but there's a reason your body is trying to get rid of it. I often think that if it's coming out like that, my body doesn't want it in there.

I hope this helps some people, I know a lot of it is common sense but it has really helped me a lot. At work on my lunch breaks I make a healthy sandwich with fresh deli meats and margarine. When I eat out I usually go to a local sub shop that makes everything fresh (including the breads) so you know everything is without preservatives.

I find cola and dark-colored sodas really irritate my guts to so I try to wash my food down with water or sprite, and juices can also bother me. These are my 'safe' foods, and in no way are they limited, there's still tons of options of things I can eat and still feel relatively healthy. I do have attacks during the week, but I only have a handful, and most of them are only a one-time deal, at the most I'll go three times then be done with it.

These changes have positively helped me, I haven't had a sick day at work in months other than having the flu. My relationship with my girlfriend has blasted off again, we're going places and doing things, plus my eating healthier and better has influenced her as well to do the same, which makes going to alternative restaurants and shops much easier.

Right now I am in the midst of an attack, but I can live with it. I do ignore it to an extent, I obviously can't ignore waking up delirious in cold sweats having to evacuate but I know it will pass and I find comfort in that. If anyone else has any tips/thoughts feel free to email me. Hope I can help someone out there!

E-mail Jon: [email protected]

The tale of...Robert (5 May 2005)

I have been suffering from IBS most of my life. It started when I was 20 years old. Didn't know what it was. The symptoms were just cramps that would come and go. They stopped for years and then in May 2002, my doctor put me on antibiotics. Then the symptoms really started. Horrible cramps/pain/diarrhea, etc.

It has now been three years and I have tried almost everything possible. Changed the diet, supplemented with soluble fiber (since I suffer from the diarrhea-prone IBS), nothing. I would feel fine for a week and then it would reappear again. I don't have a lot of stress so that isn't the problem. I think IBS is just a 'disease' that comes and goes and there is very little that can be done about it.

E-mail Robert: [email protected]

The tale of...David (July 2005)

My name is David Michael and I am 34 years old. I have had acid reflux (GERD) for over 10 years now. I have been on several different types of medicine for this until last year when I was finally put on Nexium which I am taking twice a day now.

I have been through an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy only showed internal hemorrhoids and the endoscopy showed the acid reflux and esophagitis. After the colonoscopy, I noticed I was starting to have problems going to the bathroom. I was constipated for a couple of days and then I would have a couple of days worth of diarrhea. I can't eat any type of beef (hamburgers, steaks), pork chops, chicken etc.

Month after month I have been having cramps, running to the bathroom when I'm going out somewhere (when I am working I always have to visit the bathroom first). Besides cramps, my symptoms are: nausea, stomach pains, constipation/diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue. I have been drinking ginger ale like it has been going out of style.

Well, last week when my symptoms got worse again, my boyfriend Jon (yes I'm gay) said enough is enough, called my GI doctor and got me an appointment. Finally today my doctor finally diagnosed me with IBS. I'm happy that I finally I know what is causing my bouts of constipation/diarrhea but I'm not happy that my doctor said that IBS medicine for men is only in the testing phase.

Is there anything over the counter that I can take to get rid of this constant pain? I am willing to talk to anyone about this.

E-mail David: [email protected]

The tale of...Michael (4 July 2005)

I am 26 years old and I have suffered with IBS ever since I can remember. My symptoms are that I can't go anywhere without needing to go to the toilet before I leave. If I don't need to leave the house I am fine and don't have any problems, but as soon as someone says 'Come on let's go' that's it, the pain begins and I am on the toilet.

I've realized that it's the fear of the whole experience that sets me off. The more I think about not thinking about it the worse it gets. Sometimes I think I am going crazy. My doctor has said it may well be my diet but I've tried no dairy, no gluten, no citrus fruits, no caffeine, everything, and nothing works.

I have had pain so bad that I thought I would die. I must say that IBS has held me back my whole life. All my friends/family think I am crazy and I know somehow I am. I've even found that it's getting worse the older I get. If I go out I plan where the toilets are in advance and this gets me worked up more. It's a horrible, horrible problem.

E-mail Michael: [email protected]

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