Help I Think I Have IBS

Updated on February 12, 2008
H.F. asks from York, PA
26 answers

Hello ladies, I was wondering if anyone could help me with what i think is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) I have had it since the beginning of December. I went to my OBGYN and she said that she could give me a pill that started with a B i can't remember the name but I asked her if it was for me to still keep trying for a baby and she said no so I denied it. Now I don't have a regular doctor yet I'm looking for one now taht i like. I'm sorry to keep going on but my question is does anyone have this problem and was able to control it if so please tell me how or what to take. I'm so tired of leaving my house and having to find the nearest bath and I can't even make it to MD to see my family anymore because of the diarrhea.

Thanks so much in advance
H.

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to thank everyone for telling me what worked for them and don't worry I'm going to try everything until something works.

Thanks again so much
H.

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A.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi there H.,
Well, unfortunetly I have dealt with that in the past and from time to time I still do. I personally don't take anything for it but what I do is cut certain things out of my diet. Can't do certain fruits, any dairy (drink soy), no coffee, even alcohol (although I pick my battles). It's hard for me but I find it's helpful when I do this alone. I understand that there are different degrees of it as well. It's no fun. Also, my MD said it's also caused by stress. A 2 and a 4 tear old will do that to me! Hope this works for you!
A.
www.greensthewaytobe.com

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R.Z.

answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with the tip on trying probiotics from the other responder. I dealt with IBS for a few years(and still do to a certain degree -- can't eat heavy cream or drink alcohol). My best treatment has been from www.helpforibs.com, and the Acacia fiber supplement (has prebiotics -- similar to probiotics) that is sold on that site. The site and products were created/offered by a girl who suffered from IBS her entire life. The Acacia fiber regulated me (I had the diarhea, pain, cramping, and then it would alternate with constipation). Acacia doesn't work like Metamucil or anything -- it actually will slow things down if that's your problem, and it completely disolves in water and its tasteless. Also, the fennel tea is excellent for relieving the cramping and preventing attacks. I took Pamine which was an antispasmodic drug prescribed by a gastroenterologist (took it before meals), which would help too. But it was following a low-fat diet, using the Acacia, tea and practicing yoga that helped. Also, I think that my hormones played a big part in my IBS. I had NO IBS symptoms during my pregnancy and haven't had any since I had my baby 2 months ago. So, the cause for me could have been bacteria overgrowth in the gut, hormones and stress.

There can be many different causes and treatments for "IBS", which is why it's so hard to find a good treatment from a doctor. You just have to try different things and see what works. I found the message boards at www.helpforibs.com really helped a lot for support and questions when you're just so frustrated.

GOOD LUCK and I hope you find relief soon.

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R.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

hi H.,

I am a father of two with IBS... everytime i'm at a library, walmart, home depot, or any other inconvenient place it rears up. its funny and humbling to recount all the times i've pooped myself :) it is stress related and your emotions play a part. if you rub your belly in a counterclockwise direction that helps. try breathing deep and telling yourself to relax. also - it is likely that you have candida albicans - yeast overtaking your gut... you can go on a low carbs high protein and greens diet to get rid of candida. also - again the gut is where you process emotions - constipated people hold on to their emotions and ibs people need to take time to feel them and process them... check out this site www.earthclinic.com for wonderful ideas on combatting yeast. everybody should know about this website - it is made by people and its a forum much like mamasource with real peoples feedback and insight.

hope this helps

peace,
Sol

www.livetolovetolive.com

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S.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi H.,
Yes, I know of many people who have had issues with IBS. Sometimes if you have too much stress (who doesn't??), or have had a course of antibiotics, it can disrupt the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Hopefully it is that simple and getting a good pre and probiotic that is acid resistant will alleviate it. You hear about this in "Activa" yogurt, but a good culture from the health store in capsule form is much better without the calories. Another help can be plant enzymes (not digestive enzymes that aren't plant based), so your food digests better. Hope that helps you! If you want some product specific info call me or email me directly at ###-###-#### or [email protected]____.com I am a Certified Natural Health Professional and would be happy to answer further questions. S. P

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A.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I have been diagnosed with IBS several months ago. I have learned to regulate my troubles with diet and exercise. There is also a very good book out there called IBS for Dummies. It is very informative and helpful on how to control the symptoms. I just happened to start dieting and exerciseing to loose weight and this got my IBS in check. I still have certain foods (greasy, heavy in sauces) that send me to the potty but I just avoid those foods. If I have a craving for pizza with pepperoni I eat it. But know that I will be spending some time in the potty and need to find a good book to read. LOL.
Speak with your doctor about your symptoms. You can manage it. It just takes trial and error.

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A.M.

answers from State College on

I have IBS. I take Bentyl before I eat if I'm out somewhere. I'm also on Celexa now (not for the IBS), but it seems to help w/my problem. I keep Imodium on hand at ALL times. If I'm going somewhere more than a half hour from home, I take 4 of them. My dr was okay with that.

She also told me to cut out all chocolate, nuts, dairy and fresh fruits and veggies. Then introduce one at a time to see which were triggers.

I made it 12 hours (two different times!) on a drive to South Carolina. I just took Imodium and didn't eat until we got there! LOL

When I was pregnant, my symptoms actually improved. A lot of times, I guess symptoms get worse during pregnancy.

I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you, but know you aren't alone!

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A.D.

answers from Philadelphia on

For someone that was previously diagnosed with IBS...and given the drugs...let me see if I can help. First of all...IBS means that you have undiagnosed abdominal pain/cramping. It means the doctor has no idea what is wrong with you. I would urge you to see a gastroenterologist. If they still can't figure out what it is, I would go to a Nutritionist. It could be that you are allergic to something. When I turned 30...I started to get severe abdominal cramping with diarrhea. I had every test possible with no results. I finally went to Canyon Ranch and a nutrionist there told me that I was probably allergic to Gluten and/or dairy. I was told to stay away from all gluten and diary for 2 weeks (Yes 2 weeks. It takes a while to get this stuff out of your system). and then go and eat a pizza to see what happens. It worked! I got sick as a dog when I ate the pizza. I slowly added different foods back into my diet like dairy and oats...and have come to find that only wheat makes me sick. Having said all this...I strongly urge you to get a second opinion. You could have an underlying serious medical condition that your obgyn is unable to diagnosis. See an expert.

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E.F.

answers from Pittsburgh on

H.,

I have to agree with several of the other posters.. you need to be checked out for Celiac Disease if you haven't already. 1 in 133 people in the US have it, and 7 out of 8 of them don't know it. It could be lots of other things too, but make sure you get checked for CD.

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M.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I suggest meeting with a gastroenterologist so that you can get further testing. Many times people believe they have IBS, and sometimes find out it is something entirely different.

Myself for example, went through EXACTLY what you are going through. I knew where every bathroom was located in every single restaurant and store in Western PA. I'm not joking. About seven or eight years down the road I had found that I have Celiac Disease which caused the IBS.

I hope that you find out what is going on and that you can finally get some answers, medication, or diagnosis. That way you can improve your quality of life! Best of luck!

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L.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

My response is to try 2 things, but I am sure you're going to hear a bunch more that will help. One, if you drink coffee, stop or cut back. I know of 2 people personally that have IBS and the acid in coffee is a huge culprit. Two, go to a grocery store that carries KEFIR, it's a yogurt drink that comes in fruit flavors (definitely don't get the plain...sour). It's a little more sour than regular yogurt but contains 10 live active cultures (good bacteria that you need in your stomach/gut). After you get used to the taste, it becomes yummy to drink a glass each day. After about 3 days you'll be gassy, but that's good! When your body gets used to it in about 5 to 7 days you'll have replaced the bad bacteria in your gut causing diarrhea with the good ones that we all have already but in too low of numbers. Please trust me on this. I'm not a health freak or natural fanatic. I just read a national best seller and tried the stuff for myself. My entire family now drinks it, and my husband with IBS says it has totally helped him. And he used to have diarrhea more than 5 times a day! You have nothing to lose by trying, it's natural and made just like yogurt, but regular yogurt just doesn't have enough of the good bacterias that you need to replenish. If you want to research this, look up "Probiotics". Good luck.

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J.H.

answers from Erie on

The best advice you have been given is from Rachel Z. I too suffer from IBS (diahrea) www.helpforibs.org is the ONLY thing that has helped me! Please make sure that you are properly diagnosed with IBS before taking any medications. There can be so many different things going on with you: Celiacs, Lactose Intolerance, Colitis, Etc. please get a proper diagnosis!!! helpforibs.org will show you how to eat, what to eat, and what to avoid!!! I would suggest the Acacia Fiber and peppermint capsules.....if you have any questions please send me a message...I know EXACTLY what you're going through and will be happy to help!!! On another positive note, I have managed to "stabilize" myself through diet only without the help of meds...anti-spasmodics do help some people but left me with terrible dry mouth and feeling like a zombie :(....

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L.S.

answers from Washington DC on

H.,
I would love to send you a 3 day sample of Arbonne's vitamins. I have two girls on my team who have IBS and once they started our vitamins they claimed a new lease on life. Probably in part due to our digestive enzyme pill in the pack. This will not hurt your trying to get pregnant. Hopefully, they will be the answer you are looking for.

Feel free to contact me ###-###-#### or go to my website www.myskin2.myarbonne.com. As a former RN, I would be happy to answer questions you may have and mail you a sample.

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A.P.

answers from York on

H.,
I was recently diagnosed with IBS after battling illness for several months with a misdiagnosis from York Memorial ER of diverticulitis. I was glad to see that you were from York too so that I could direct you to a great gastroenterologist which should be your next step. The symptoms of many different bowel diseases/disorders are so similar that it really takes a specialist, and often a colonoscopy (don't be scared) to really diagonose you properly. My family doctor was not helpful, as they followed the diagnosis of the hospital which was wrong.
I highly recommend Gastro Assoc. of PA on Southfield Dr. of just of the Leader Heights exit of Rt. 83 in York. ###-###-####) I learned there that 80% of women have some form of IBS and so many go undiagnosed so you're not alone in this. The pill with a "B" you were probably offered was Bentyl which is a smooth muscle relaxer for the intestinal walls which prevents the spasms that cause the painful cramping and thus, the diarrhea. I take hyoscamine which is also an antispasmodic. However, I am not sure that you can take these if you are trying to get pregnant so you were right to decline. It is absolutely in your best interest to double check any medications that the gastro may want you to take with your OB/GYN, even if the gastro thinks they are okay. It's not their area of expertise and it's better to be sure.
Since I'm in York, I'd be happy to talk to you more about this as you continue your journey. Email me anytime.

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F.H.

answers from Sharon on

I luckily don't have this but my mum and many of her female relatives including my sister do. They try to stay away from trigger foods. Some of these have been ice cream, nuts, wheat. They keep soluble fiber on hand for constipation. You have to be careful with the diahreea. You don't want to get ulcers! Maybe if this is starting to affect your lifestyle you may wnat to start some emdicine until you can get it undercontrol. Its important to be a healthy mummy!

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L.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

Have you sat down and looked at what you are eating? Sometimes two many oils in your diet can do it. Not enough fiber. May be stress and someting you could try is a massage. Might sound funny, but if you get someone that you feel right with and they know what they are doing. Maybe a good stomach massage might help, along with a full body. You chould be holding tension in your back and this is the way that your stomach is telling you so. Track your symptoms and watch what you eat. Look out side of the box before you are put on a whole lot of meds.

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J.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi H.,

Have you seen a Gastroenterologist? If not, you should go see one. They thought I had IBS a couple years ago and it turned out that it was Celiac disease. You don't take any pills for it, just stay on a gluten free diet. You might want to think about getting checked out just to make sure. Hope you feel better!

J.

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S.P.

answers from Scranton on

You could try a natural approach and see if it helps. I don't care for meds if you don't need them. Sometimes they can do more harm than good. Here is an article that may help you. http://www.webmd.com/ibs/alternative-therapies

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D.D.

answers from York on

Hi H.-
You have received some good advice...getting a proper diagnosis is important. If you have taken antibiotics, or have regularly used NSAID's like Motrin or Advil, it can wreak havoc on your digestive system. My 11-yr old daughter was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, and I believe it was brought on by all the antibiotics she had taken. MD's don't tell you to replace the good bacteria with probiotics when you use antibiotics. If it turns out your ARE diagnosed with IBS, I would recommend checking out the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Go to: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info and also pecanbread.com (they have a Yahoo group) for more information. Gastroenterologists and MD's generally do not try to treat with diet and won't guide you in that area, but it is definitely worth it to give it and try and see if it helps. You don't have anything to lose by trying it for a month.

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K.H.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi, just a couple of things for you to ponder, as i speak from my own personal experience. Following the birth of my 1st daughter, I began to have episodes of diarrhea. I thought for certain that I had colon cancer (as I am an oncology nurse, and that tends to be the first thing that i think in any illness). I finally made an appointment with a medical doctor. She ordered an ultrasound that showed i had gall stones. I was definitely surprised, as i had never had any other symptoms. No pain or dreaded gall bladder attack, as i had heard it described in the past. Also, I found that out that it is not uncommon for younger women to have gall bladder problems following childbirth due to the increase in weight and weight loss.
Another story, only from personal experience, is following the birth of my 2nd child, i began to have diarrhea episodes again. I had a change in jobs (to a more stressful position), i noticed that when i would become nervous or anxious i would have episodes of diarrhea. I was convinced that it was IBS. My doctor recommended to try Benefiber. It is an over the counter product. I thought she was nutts, to add fiber to help with diarrhea, but she was right. I sprinkle a tsp daily in my coffee or cereal and it works.
I know that i just gave you a couple of "what could it be's" but i hope that this helps.

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C.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

hey H.,

you might have IBS, you might have something else. there are a few things i would try to rule out before you jump onto the IBS bandwagon. docs are so quick to prescribe drugs than to get to the root of many problems!

this will sound gross, but stick with me for a sec. if your diarrhea is watery, that might mean one thing, if it is like soft serve ice cream that's entirely a different story.

watery diarrhea would point in the direction of a bug of some sort or inflammatory bowel disease - which is totally different from IBS. IBS is related to psychological stress and varying hormone levels in your body, and IBD is a reaction of your immune system. you might have heard of crohn's disease... something like that. IBD will have to be diagnosed by your doctor.

if it's soft serve ice cream, it could also be IBD, or it might be a nutritional thing. that's going to require you to do some experimenting with your diet. two obvious things that people often over look is an allergy to gluten (wheat) and not being able to digest lactose (lactose intolerance). these are very common, yet go years without discovery because wheat and dairy are staples in the american diet! i found out i was lactose intolerant after 4 visits to 3 doctors only for them to tell me they couldn't find anything, so i decided to check it out myself. i cut out ALL dairy for a week - and lo and behold i was back to 'normal' (this was after YEARS of funkyness) within a couple days. it was amazing. try that first. it's the easiest one to do. if that does not help it, then try to cut out wheat/gluten. hard to do, but normal poop to me is worth it! there are online recipes and guidelines for what you can and can't eat.

you can also search online for other dietary problems other than those that pertain to specific foods/ingredients... but those are the two that are a)most common and b)easiest to self-identify.

IF one of these things work, then you will not have to take any medication, and it will never be risky for you to conceive. you would certianly have to monitor your nutritional intake, but that would be it.

IF none of them work (neither dietary or IBD), then i would consider making an appointment with a psychiatrist. IBS is actually a psychiatric thing more than a body thing. sounds crazy, but it's true. soooo many people have it and don't get the proper help for it. many gastroenterologists will end up referring you anyway. they should, at least. if they don't - find another one :).

good luck with all of this. bowels are never fun unless they are working top-notch.

C.
pax

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J.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

try writing down what you eat and see when the diarreah happens. I have been having the same problem, but there is certain foods that bring it on. I can't eat salad from a restarant or anything with alot of grease and not many fastfood places agree with me either..............what area are you from? I love my primary care doc, she is in monroeville, if you are interested let me know!

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K.D.

answers from Philadelphia on

My sister has it and she had looked at the medications but was afraid to try any of them. Apparently the side affects are pretty horrible. She has tried her best to regulate her diet. It is not as hard for her because she doesn't live here in the U.S. and where she is she can't get cow's milk anyway. That seems to be a major trigger. I also have a friend who has a very servere case and it has caused him to stay home much more often. He has taken the meds and says they are horrible.
I guess if you can try to regulate with your diet then do that before touching the medicines.

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S.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I have IBS, have had it since high school, but didn't find out until I was in my 30s. Doctor was probably suggesting Bental (Sp?) an anti spazmatic (sp?). But here are my suggestions. Keep a food diary - fiqure out what are your "trigger" foods and avoid them. Also try taking a fiber suppliment everyday (like Meticuil) sounds crazy but it pulls everything together and evens everything out (if you know what I mean). good luck.

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C.E.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi H.,

I have found eating a yogurt a day and managing my stress (anxiety and depression) as well as not drinking milk, but Silk (soy milk)instead helped me.

Good luck

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N.H.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Dear H.,

I had diarrhea since September and have just kicked it gradually and haven't had diarrhea for about ten days. It was awful! At first I suspected stress, so I went to a naturalist doctor who lives in Bridgeville (near Pittsburgh). She gave me vitamins and nutritional supplements that helped the stress and related problems like insomnia. She told me to cut out coffe and wine alltogether. I still had diarrhea. Then I got an awful toothache and the dentist prescribed antibiotics for the infection. You probably know that the antibiotics eliminate bacteria indiscriminately -- harmful and helpful! Well it got rid of my problem. I think I got some sort of parasite when I went abroad last summer, and the antibiotics killed it. Next time I travel, I plan to drink only bottled water. If you live near Pgh, you should go to Denise Happe. What she will tell you will help you, and her price is reasonable. Then if natuaral remedies don't work, maybe conventional medicine will. I still think that stress has a lot to do with our health.
Good luck!
N.

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K.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

I have Ulcerative colitis, which is along the same lines and I would also suggest that you find a gastroenterologist. This is what they deal with everyday. MDs, I do not feel, can do much for a person with any kind of bowl disease. They'll probably have you get a colonoscopy and go from there. Good Luck.

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