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Q&A about IBS: Post your questions to panel of experts - ANSWERS BACK

(59 Posts)
HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Oct-13 10:23:51

We're delighted to team up with Buscopan IBS Relief and a team of experts to offer practical tips and advice to help you take back control of your IBS.

The panel includes: Gastroenterologist Dr Anton Emmanuel, Dietician Helen Bond an IBS sufferer Nicola Gill, who's had the condition for 10 years and has learnt to control her symptoms most of the time!

Submit your questions before Sunday 21 October. We will send over a selection questions to the experts who will provide answers to try and help you better understand, control and cope with your IBS. The answers will be uploaded to this thread on 11 November.

This Q&A is sponsored by Buscopan

Suddengeekgirl Thu 17-Oct-13 10:00:58

Why has my IBS-d changed to IBS-c after 12+ years?!?

I knew how to handle IBS-d, now I'm back to square one. :-(

I asked my GP who very helpfully suggested I google it! hmm angry

Belo Thu 17-Oct-13 10:30:40

It has been suggested that my DD2 (8) suffers from IBS. Often after eating she needs to disappear to the toilet. She will be in there for about 15 minutes whilst she has her 'explosion' (sorry if this is too much info!). It was a bigger problem when she was younger as it led to a lot of accidents. Now she seems to know how to manage it. She knows that she needs to get to a toilet ASAP as she feels her stomach go hard and starts to hurt. When she was 4.5 the doctor referred her to the hospital and they found nothing structurally wrong with her. The doctors said that it was probably her age and a lot of children aren't properly potty trained at that age. She had been since the age of 2.

Could she have IBS? And if so, what could I do to help her?

Thank you.

turkeyboots Thu 17-Oct-13 10:42:27

How to I learn what sets off my IBS? How long from eating does it take for the pain to start? Is it 2 min, 2 hours or 20 hours? As I don't know this I cant figure out what is causing the problems

maudpringle Thu 17-Oct-13 11:07:58

Is it safe to use loperamide fairly regularly?
Some weeks I travel quite a bit and I just can't trust my bowels and need to know I won't have any accidents.
Thank you

JacqueslePeacock Thu 17-Oct-13 12:12:49

Belo, your daughter's symptoms sound identical to mine. Poor her. It's not much fun.

I've had what I assume is IBS-D ever since I had a bad case of food poisoning about 12 years ago. My only symptom is diarrhoea. Every time I've seen a doctor/consultant about this, he/she has said that the diarrhoea sound too serious to be IBS and has ordered a whole load of horrible invasive tests, which have all come back negative. Nonetheless I still can't get a diagnosis of IBS as every time I mention it to a healthcare professional they order more tests. I've given up now and am trying to manage it myself, but I'd love some actual advice on how to cope with it on a day to day level (which I've never received from a doctor).

Interestingly, it disappeared completely the whole time I was pregnant and for about a year after, and I was over the moon. Sadly, it came back with a vengeance this year. Why would pregnancy have helped so much? And, short of having another baby, is there anything I can do to replicate this miraculous effect?!

JacqueslePeacock Thu 17-Oct-13 12:13:50

Turkeyboots, it sounds like you need an exclusion diet to figure out what might be triggering it for you.... Have you seen a dietician?

turkeyboots Thu 17-Oct-13 12:22:03

No dietician for me. Off to beg GP for a referal next week. Have IBS-C but given the D type advice at first so am a little despairing at my GPs knowledge of IBS

Dolallytats Thu 17-Oct-13 12:55:02

I have had IBS for several years now(and it is a huge contributer to me getting panic attacks and becoming agoraphobic) but have always wondered why I can eat a food sometimes, but get an IBS attack from it at other times. It makes things very confusing!! Also, there are things I can eat seperately but not together (I can eat mince beef with separate potatoes and veg, but can't eat a cottage pie, for example), do you know why that might be?

Reastie Thu 17-Oct-13 15:16:21

I have IBS and gluten intolerance (diagnosed by gastrointerologist). I find that I have to eat meals/snacks regularly or the hunger somehow can cause an IBS attack. If I'm too busy etc to eat I get an awful painful bloated painful tummy like my IBS attacks. Sometimes I can feel on the cusp of it coming on and I eat something and I can sometimes stave it off but it's frustrating, especially as I can't always stop and eat something. Is there anything I can do to stop this happening (other than eating obviously!). Any advice or tips on how to cope with it? I tend to find starchy foods like oats/muesli work the best when I get this type of pain and bloating, but I have no idea why!

TerrorTremor Thu 17-Oct-13 15:57:48

Can IBS be worsened by pregnancy or a c section?

Pre pregnancy it was not too bad but been playing up a lot post pregnancy and that was 6 months ago.

tillyo Thu 17-Oct-13 17:37:01

Hi I've had ibs for just over 5 years now. I want to diet as I need to loose a lot of weight but find anything high in fibre sets my ibs off badly. Too much fruit and veg can leave me in bed for days. What's the best way to get round this?

openerofjars Thu 17-Oct-13 19:34:25

I've been told by my GP that what I have (diarrhoea, constipation,one-sided abdominal pain) is probably IBS, but what do I do next? I have been advised to try fybogel & peppermint oil capsules but given no other information.

JacqueslePeacock Thu 17-Oct-13 19:59:04

tillyo, have you thought of low carb?

Meglet Thu 17-Oct-13 20:35:19

I've been tested for coeliac disease twice as my consultant said my symptoms look like coeliac. Negative both times. But whenever I eat a virtually gluten free diet my stomach and bowels are so much happier confused.

What is the current thinking on low-carb / gluten free diets with regards to IBS? Both types of regime help my stomach. And intense exercise works wonders.

WritermumK Fri 18-Oct-13 07:44:50

I have had tummy problems for a few years now, my colonoscopy looked healthy but the biopsy showed chronic inflammation (My doctor said this was common?). My doctor says my body is digesting food too quickly which means I don't digest iron properly and therefore my levels plummet and make me feel really poorly. I can't seem to have milk, even the lactofree stuff makes my symptoms worse. However I get flare ups where I feel really sore and my symptoms are pretty bad.

BuzzardBirdBloodBath Fri 18-Oct-13 10:02:25

Is it possible to take Buscopan if I am taking Lansoprazole?

Also have found that not eating wheat has an effect on my general health but tests for coeliac disease come back negative.

Onions have suddenly started making me feel really unwell about 12 hours after I have eaten them...especially red onions.

The pain in my back this the IBS?

Mouseface Fri 18-Oct-13 12:31:11

I take massive amounts of morphine for chronic pain that is going to be a part of my life, for the rest of my life.

I have episodes of unpredictable chronic diarrhea and episodes of chronic constipation and which are so utterly painful and leave me feeling nothing but completely fed up and sometimes unable to leave the house because I'm scared of soiling myself.

I've stopped eating wheat, breads, pasta, white rice, and refined sugars and since then, my cramps have reduced, my stomach isn't as bloated, my bowels are more settled and I have more confidence that I can go to the toilet when I get the urge which is now a gradual sensation, and no always a dash to find the toilet.

That said, I will only go out shopping etc where I know there is a toilet. blush

But things are better, for today at least. I also make sure I drink 2.5 pints of water each day.

I am taking Omeprazole for the levels of Ibuprofen I am taking.

I too wondered if I could take Buscopan and if it would work for when I have bad days?

BIWI Fri 18-Oct-13 19:53:04

Low carbing definitely helps to keep my IBS at bay. I can always tell when I've overdone it on the carb front as eventually I start to get those tell tale cramps.

I started low carbing to lose weight - it was a sudden realisation that I hadn't had any episodes that made me realise that the food I was eating could affect my IBS. When I was being diagnosed, the only food-related issue that the hospital focused on was how much fibre I was eating. I was told to increase the amount of fibre that I ate - but that only made matters worse. The response of the doctor was 'oh yes, it does affect people like that'. No suggestion as to why that might be hmm

ugglyboots Fri 18-Oct-13 22:39:20

Why does my IBS go when I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

I've only ever seen a GP once (15 years ago) about my IBS and have never been formally diagnosed. He just suspected IBS and told me to try avoiding certain food groups. I now avoid wheat and diary. Is it important to have tests to diagnose it properly and to put a healthy diet in place?

Why does IBS come about as a result of food poisoning (as in my case?) Does it ever wear off/ get better?

JacqueslePeacock Fri 18-Oct-13 23:01:51

ugglyboots, are you me?! (See my post upthread).

Toffi Sat 19-Oct-13 01:42:16

I'm wondering if stress/anxiety levels can set bouts of IBS off? i cant seem to figure out any particular foods in general that trigger it in myself and the attacks seem random, although drinks on the other hand i know to avoid red wine because on the rare occasions i get to have a glass or two that does seems to be a trigger. Also I'm wondering if cooking oils/fats etc can possibly be a trigger to a bout of IBS?

Suddengeekgirl Sat 19-Oct-13 06:32:57

Toffi - my IBS wa like that - before it chaned and I have to start from scratch.

I think mine was actually started by the stress if lab work at uni - 2 afternoons (12-6) a week of being highly stressed/ anxious. sad
If I'm nervous now you can find me in the loo! blush

I also have to avoid very fatty/ greasy foods - chip shop fish and chips is terrible! sad

TiredDog Sat 19-Oct-13 07:17:52

Why was I asked if I had IBS as part of my pre assessment for a hysterectomy? (Random sorry)

BIWI Sat 19-Oct-13 09:16:51

Oh yes, Toffi - emotional conflict is a definite trigger for me.

I'd had IBS-D for about two years before I got pregnant, the whole time I've been carrying DS I've had no symptoms at all! Is it definite that the IBS will come back once I've had him?

babyjane67 Sat 19-Oct-13 11:40:54

I didnt even know there is an ibsc or d!
I was told my symptoms were ibs by gp but only ever had an abdominal ultrasound scan which was other tests
Have had it for about10yrs now
Have been given fibrogel,movicol&spasminol tabs which worked for a while then stopped working!
So dont use them amymore but am now on omeprazole tabs for gerd
Have laid off 'dark'drinks eg red wine coke etc as these seemed to make it alot worse but other than that havent changed diet etc

KateBeckett Sat 19-Oct-13 11:41:13

Whenever I go to the doctors about my IBS type symptoms I feel like I get fobbed off - told to look at the Internet, try avoiding dairy etc.

How do I get some proper advice on controlling my IBS and finding out what my triggers actually are? (Like others up thread I have had success on a gluten free diet, but tested negative for coeliac after 3 months of eating a gluten heavy diet)

My main sympom is really bad colic type pains which leave me in agony and occasionally vomiting from the pain. If I catch it early enough, tonic water and mints help, but not always. Any other ideas how I can deal with this crippling pain?!

whatswronddownthere Sat 19-Oct-13 14:06:13

i have suffered from what the gp said was IBS for years, although i have had no investigation. I have had private testing for intolerances etc but nothing has come up. If I eat a large meal, i instantly have an urgency to get to the toilet within about 20 minutes. i am in agony with cramping pains and unfortunately it has really affected my social life. I have stopped going for meals out with friends, if my husband and i go for a drive, i can't stop and have a nice lunch or dinner or eg fish and chips at the seaside, as i know i won't be able to go to the toilet for 20 minutes. i have had 2 accidents where i haven't made it to the loo on time and the idea of being caught short is just awful.

the gp prescribed me with mebeverine to take before eating but to ne honest they didn't help.

any advice would be gratefully received.

BIWI Sat 19-Oct-13 14:42:30

I would seriously, seriously, seriously recommend that you see what effect it has if you low carb. So cut out all bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and sugar (including fruit) for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

I was diagnosed with IBS -d about 5 years ago after many years of symptoms.

Then 3 years ago I was rushed into hospital after a routine appointment with my GP. This was due to very high ( 200/125) blood pressure. It was also found I had hypercholesterolaemia ( can't remember how high but doc said was one of the highest he had seen) - now this is nothing to do with lifestyle or diet- I am not overweight and my diet is good, these are hereditary.

Since I started the tablets for the bp, cholesterol and recently for hypothyroidism, my IBS has almost disappeared! It was so bad I was house bound... I was incontinent a lot. But I am now able to live normally again.

I wondered if the bp, or the meds I am on now are the reason for all this?

TheBreastmilksOnMe Sat 19-Oct-13 20:47:56

How often is coeliac disease misdiagnosed as IBS and what is being done about it? It's very damaging being incorrectly diagnosed as having IBS when it isn't.

Meglet Sat 19-Oct-13 21:30:58

toffi after all my investigations coming up clear my (lovely and non woo) consultant said my IBS was almost certainly caused by stress. Apparently my brain / bowel messages are shot to pieces. You'd never have guessed with me being a working single parent sad.

I think my c-sections and hysterectomy didn't help either. I often wonder if there are some adhesions sticking part of my bowel to some other internal organ hmm. My poor bowels are probably fed up with being shifted around.

MissSmiley Sat 19-Oct-13 23:25:21

I think maybe the pregnancy hormone relaxin helps with IBS symptoms while preg and breastfeeding. Buscopan also relaxes the muscles I believe. Incidentally my undiagnosed ceoliac disease had me hospitalised with diarrhoea while pregnant.
I terms of coeliac disease being missed it is not widely known by GPs that antibody tests can be wrong but a stomach biopsy can be really helpful if it's still suspected. HLA markers for coeliac disease can be useful to rule it out. I think the presence of other auto immune diseases can make antibody tests unreliable (this is just a hunch no proof).
I'd suggest ask for more testing until you are sure. If you are coeliac and not suffering with ibs even the tiniest bit of gluten will make you ill so going light on carbs can help but won't intimately make you well. You don't have to have diarrhoea every day. I know several people who became ill in cycles. Also you maybe also have secondary lactose intolerance which is probably what is causing the cramping and urgency. A year after going gluten free I'm still off normal milk.
I hope this helps. It means a lot to me. It took me over 15 years to be diagnosed and caused my infertility.
I am happy and healthy now though but it's been a long road.
If just one of you with ibs realises it might be sero negative coeliac disease then I won't have rambled in vain.

MissSmiley Sat 19-Oct-13 23:34:26

I can really relate to the colic type pains. I had these for years before any tummy symptoms. But bizzarrely only about twice a year. Eventually it was after every meal. Someone would have to rub my back and eventually after hours it would subside.
Narrow tubes and indigestion are what we used to blame it on...
And I can't bring myself to talk about accidents even now. Way too embarrassing - just know you are not alone.

PenguinBear Sun 20-Oct-13 00:18:20

My question is: how quickly after eating something my body doesn't agree with can IBs symptoms appear?

If I eat a certain type of take away, within 20 minutes I am stuck in the bathroom with accompanying stomach cramps. Why do I get such a quick reaction when the food obviously hasn't reached my intestines? It has happened numerous times so definately isn't coincidence.

Also wondered why sometimes I feel incredibly nauseous and then about 5 minutes later the stomach cramps start?!

endeavoured Sun 20-Oct-13 02:34:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

isitme1 Sun 20-Oct-13 04:34:57

My ds is 3 and currently undergoing tests.
Is ibd and ibs the same?
He suffers from blood in stool, mucus poo, aches and pains in arms and legs and cramps.

blue2 Sun 20-Oct-13 07:50:56

I've had massive problems with IBS for over 20 years. Tried everything. Had investigative surgery, the lot. Cut out wheat. It helped a bit. Cut out dairy - also helped a bit. Went on a low GL course for about a year under a nutritionalist . Felt better, but still not great. Tested twice for coeliac disease, twice negative.

Eventually - after massive row with my GP who said I was wasting money on charlatans, and I asked her quite what else I could do as her stupid suggestion of living off Immoduim and Senokot for the rest of my life wasn't an option - she referred me to a dietitian at the local hospital.

I was put on a FODMAP diet for 8 weeks and then went back to see the dietitian. Its an elimination diet that takes out a range of foods that aggravate the digestive system. It was discovered in Monash University in Melbourne Australia and Kings College in London are the UK branch of this eating plan.

I felt as though my insides had healed a lot in those weeks. I've reintroduced the foods slowly that I was off for 8 weeks, and now I know what sets it off.

I'm now lactose free, wheat free and egg free. Mushrooms are a no-no too! (My insides turn into non stick for 48 hours afterwards!). I also go easy on pulses, brassicas and loads of veg. Most raw veg I cannot eat either.

IBS occurs for so many reasons, but if you suspect its food related, then asking to be referred to a dietitian via your GP might be a good idea. FODMAP info online seems a bit scarce, probably because you should do the diet supervised.

QueFonda Sun 20-Oct-13 08:01:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sparkle9 Sun 20-Oct-13 08:56:24

I've felt fairly certain that I have IBS due to an urgency to go to the toilet, terrible stomach cramps, awful flatulence etc. I seem to be badly affected when I eat too much dairy - especially ice-cream or creamy pasta dishes and when I drink alcohol. Are these common triggers?

Is there any point in seeing my GP? Other posters seem to suggest this is a pointless exercise. Can IBS worsen over time? Does IBS after TTC/conception or pregnancy? Could IBS be a symptom of another problem? I ask as someone who is now being referred to an infertility clinic due to a short luteal phase and I'm just curious.

Lots of questions - sorry!

Meglet Sun 20-Oct-13 09:06:54

sparkle go and see your GP. Mine did take a few visits to get their arse into gear but I've since had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, abdominal scan and blood tests. All clear so at least I know my insides should work properly. Now I just see a dietician every few months now while we try and tweak my diet.

Sparkle9 Sun 20-Oct-13 09:15:27

I've been at the GP more this year than ever before in my life so I might leave it a bit! I moved house and then started TTC (and had a short illness) so my new GP surgery has seen me more times than my old one did in 8 years. I don't want them to think me a PITA and if doesn't look like they could actually DO anything to cure IBS.

mousmous Sun 20-Oct-13 10:53:12

why are gp's so keen to diagnose ibs without prior investigation.
a family member went with annoying and worrying symptoms i.e bloody, slimy stools, cramps, diarrhoea.
instead of investigating they were told it's ibs and to learn to live with it...
private and expensive investigation then showed something was amiss but therapy is working.

NorbertDentressangle Sun 20-Oct-13 13:23:45

I regularly get symptoms that match those of gallstones/gall bladder problems (pain up under my ribs, particularly on the right, and pain round to my back. Only eased by hot water bottle). This can happen every 4-8 weeks, lasts a day or two (not solidly) and then leaves me feeling almost bruised for a day or two.

A scan showed no problems with the gall bladder and the doctor suggested it is a type of IBS (part of the gut going into spasm). They gave me meds (I've tried Buscopan and Mebeverine) but TBH they don't seem to make a difference but I wondered if thats because I only take them when I've got an episode rather than all the time? Do they have a cumulative effect?

I don't really get any of the bowel/poo related IBS symptoms, I can't pin it down to certain foods and to me it doesn't seem like any type of IBS that I've heard of.

Does it sound like IBS to you? If so what can I try to stop this pain recurring?

KateBeckett Sun 20-Oct-13 18:10:14

Norbet - that is the pain I get which I described as 'colic-type' pain. Hotwater bottles and warm baths a go-go here when it starts!

When I get a particularly severe bout of IBS, this is what happens:
- Sharp acid-type pain in my stomach (left hand side, up near my ribs)
- I go completely pale, pure white
- Profuse sweating
- My arms and legs go freezing cold and tingly, like pins & needles
Then the pain intensifies and gets stronger and stronger until I hyperventilate and/or faint.
This usually happens if I haven't eaten for a while and then grab a quick snack, especially something sugary. I get it maybe 4 or 5 times a year.
On a day to day basis, I get sharp stomach pains, gas and diarrhoea.

The only thing that really helps is lying completely flat on my back, getting under a v warm blanket, having a hot water bottle and a cup of peppermint tea.

CaptainRex Sun 20-Oct-13 19:57:48

I get stress related IBS and have done for about 15 years, tried various medication and nothing seems to make much difference.

However my question / problem is that around the time I ovulate but not every month, I am kept awake most of the night with an agonising pain around my diaphram area from my intestines. I've been presceribed mebverine which doesnt seem to help as they think its colic related to my ibs but dont seem very interested to causes or what I can do to not get this awful pain.

girliefriend Sun 20-Oct-13 20:26:10

BIWI what do you eat?!

I seriously think I would starve if I cut all of that out of my diet! grin

girliefriend Sun 20-Oct-13 20:37:05

I had terrible IBS when I was 18 and it had a huge detrimental affect on my mental health to the point that I became very anxious all the time and more or less agrophobic. It was an awful time but somehow I managed to get myself better, was fine for about ten years and then it started again!!


I keep off milk as that does not help but would struggle to find enough to eat if I cut out wheat, I find too much fruit or veg sets me off as well. Also even small amounts of stress are not good, have to reign in obsessive thoughts about 'will there be toilets...' as don't want this to take over my life. Have lost track of how many times I have had to grab my dds hand and shouted 'run' as we pegged it to the nearest loo grin poor kid!!

BIWI Sun 20-Oct-13 20:53:25

My meals are protein-based - so meat/fish/eggs, plus salad or vegetables. Not really that restrictive!

I also eat a lot of yoghurt, usually for breakfast (full fat, always)

BIWI Sun 20-Oct-13 20:55:15

... and always high fat, so lots of butter, on veg or used to fry; olive oil-based dressings on my salads, lots of cheese.

LegoCaltrops Sun 20-Oct-13 21:27:16

Hi - sorry for the essay by the way. blush

I've had IBS symptoms since I was about 6-7, am now 32. I mostly can't go to the loo, occasionally urgently need to. Tried several medications, including Buscopan, without much success. Buscopan recently left me unable to go to the loo for a week as totally constipated. I try to stick to a very high fibre diet, otherwise I can't go at all.

I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy (camera up bum) a few years ago which was excruciating & has left me with permanent pain & ongoing frequent bleeding, I also can't always tell when I need the loo until about 5 minutes before it's too late so I'm sometimes pretty desperate & in a lot of pain & bleeding by the time I can find a toilet. The hospital confirmed there was nothing sinister going on, but apparently I have a severe fissure which refuses to heal & keeps reopening every time I have an 'episode'.

I've worked out, over the years, that I'm sensitive to a number of foods which increase my problems. Including wheat, animal fats, onions, certain spices (especially chilies) meat if I have too much, mushrooms, bananas, sweetcorn. The list goes on...

The doctor really isn't much help, I don't know if I'm not asking/saying the right things, if they are just not bothered, or if I'm just asking for more help than is actually available.

I've had a blood test a few years ago which ruled out coeliac disease. Is there anything I can do or is it really just a question of living with my symptoms & making the best of it?

Smugsmuggler Sun 20-Oct-13 21:54:38

Is there such a thing as hepatic flexure syndrome?
I get almost all my pains on the right side generally 2 inches above and to the right of my belly button. Sometimes the pain goes down to my right lower abdomen. Sometimes it seems to go up and into the chest/lower ribs. The pain is not bad enough to stop me doing anything and I actually don't take anything for it, but I often stand chatting and absent mindedly rubbing the area at work etc.
I do get a bit of bowel disturbance, often 3-6 small ribbony or loose stools a day, but thankfully enough warning to get to the loo. The most predictable thing that sets it off is wine, boo hoo, not sure about other triggers. I have had an ultrasound, endoscopy, colonoscopy and various blood tests and I have had these symptoms for 4-5 years, only relieved by being pregnant!!It was heaven!!
I am fairly satisfied with the diagnosis, but occasionally I worry because I have never read of anyone else having symptoms in this location, except for one vague report on "hepatic flexure syndrome". Usually it all seems more central/lower/left side. I guess it would reassure me to hear someone else has the same pattern. Anyone?

HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Oct-13 09:13:54

The Q&A is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated. We will send over a selection of questions to the experts and post their answers on this thread on 28 October 11 November.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 04-Nov-13 14:32:30

Did I miss the answers to this? HeatherMumsnet says answers on this thread on 28th October... confused

HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Nov-13 15:00:40

Hi JacqueslePeacock, sorry for the delay in posting the answers. We should have them back on 11 November. I've updated the dates on the thread.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 04-Nov-13 16:12:56

Aha! Thanks for letting me know. Am eagerly awaiting the answers.

HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Nov-13 11:04:39

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions on IBS. The answers are now available and can be viewed here:

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