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It's getting to the point where my IBS is starting to affect my life, in particular work.
I've had time periods over the past 15 or so years where it has been particularly bad, but since my son was born 18 months ago it is far worse. My periods have become very heavy since the birth and for that week each month I am having to run to the toilet at least every 2 hours I would say.
Any small amount of stress results in me being on the loo constantly, not great as my job involves presentations, deadlines etc.
I've been to see the gp probably around 5 times regarding this over the years. I've been told to keep a food diary and to try meditation etc for stress, but no other help offered.
I have close family history of crohns and ulcerative colitis (mum, grandmother and maternal aunt) so I'm worried it could be something more, but my symptoms are nowhere near as bad as theirs.
If anyone has any practical tips that could help I'd be very grateful. Cutting out foods etc hasn't worked and avoiding stress is almost impossible.
So sorry you are having such a tough time. Have you had blood tests to check for inflammation of the illnesses you mentioned and coeliac disease?
You say you have eleminated but have you done it for a sustained period of time? Have you tried a probiotic? Not a yogurt based one but one that is pure like symprove? I have used that and it took some time but it did work. Have you had any further investigations like a camera?
Have you tried or would you be willing to try alternative therapies? I have used acupuncture in the main but also think reflexology helps. I was particularly bad when my youngest was small and it took a good 6 months to stabilise but the acupuncture did wonders.
I would insist on being referred to a gastroenterologist for further testing. My IBS (if that's what it is) came on suddenly after the birth of my second child nearly 4 months ago. It's been really debilitating and doesn't seem to be affected by stress or diet - it's just constant everyday. I am now having a gastropscopy and colonoscopy on Tuesday to rule out other causes. The gastroenterologist mentioned that IBS should not be diagnosed unless other conditions have been ruled out. Hope you get better soon
Have you tried the FODMAP diet? It works in 75% of people as long as they stick to it carefully.
As the PP says, IBS is diagnosed if other conditions are excluded first.
Have you kept a food diary? I did this and it still took me ages to realise my problem was garlic. It's in everything!
I hope you crack it soon. X
I would ask for a referral to a gastroenterologist so IBD can be investigated (& hopefully eliminated). I have Crohns & am always shocked by the number of GPs who diagnose IBS - my gastro consultant insists IBS should never be diagnosed unless every other possibility had been ruled out. Yet IBS seems to be the go to diagnosis for every bowel issue. Hope you manage to get it sorted soon
Thanks very much for your help and advice all, I will reply properly later - poor ds has been sick all day, so I have quite a bit of urgent carpet cleaning
I'm sure DH has colitis or diverticulitis. Will he see a doctor? No he will not. I'm not sure what foods to give him these days. Everything seems to give him bellyache and gas.
Have you had any medication? I am on Colofac (prescribed by GP) and take Buscopan (in chemists/supermarkets) if I feel a cramp. However a GP said to me just the other day there are other drugs you can try.
Have you been tested for Coeliac? I think one in a 100 people have it. You could also read about something called Non Coeliac Gluten sensitivity (disclaimer: I don't know much about this) I gave up bread for months but have been having some over Xmas and seem fine, so confusing!
Any change in bowel habits or unusual weight loss should mean you are investigated properly (rather than the GP telling you 'oh well you probably have IBS' as PPs have said.
there is a theory that a lot of IBS is actually something called Bile Malabsorption (or something like that) but I don't know what reaction you would get from your GP if you asked about that! it's a minefield.
Only anecdotal, but solved mine by cutting out all wheat and corn/maize/cornflour.
It seems like everything in the fodmap us exactly what he was told to eat for another issue. It worked really well to, so I am a great believer on food as your medicine.
Thank you all so much - I've seen a different gp every time, but as soon as I mention that I can't see blood in the stools, it's an immediate IBS diagnosis - I'm sure at least partially influenced by my past medical notes. I've had no investigations - no blood tests, no camera etc. My aunt was diagnosed with Crohn's when she was actually tested for RA, she thought she had IBS for years - but her symptoms were worse than mine.
How long do you think I would need to eliminate Mini - to be honest, I've only done various things for a few months at a time and stopped when there was no improvement.
I think I'm going to ask for the same Simmi - interesting that yours also came on after childbirth.
I'm going to look up FOODMAP - thank you to everyone who recommended that.
I have not tried any medication mystery, to be honest I'm a bit scared to take anything not prescribed (and I've never been offered anything) - but anything to stop the cramping would be welcome. I actually find the hypnobirthing techniques I learned during pregnancy most useful when dealing with my excruciating bowel cramps!
Thank you all - your comments have convinced me that I need to push for further investigation, I felt like I was making a fuss over nothing before - my concerns always seemed to be dismissed by the gps I saw.
I've never had blood or mucus in my stools, even during a flare up. Not everyone has typical symptoms & my consultant said the blood can be hard to spot especially as most people don't examine their stools that closely anyway. I'd definitely ask for a referral given your family history, if nothing else it'll put your mind at rest which might help your symptoms. Take care.
Thank you Pinot - interesting that you never saw blood/mucous, I think I will make an appointment tomorrow and ask for a blood test to look for inflammation markers. I'm concerned now that the longer I leave it the more damage will be done if I have an IBD rather than IBS.
I haven't seen blood/mucous either - I think I read that mucous is consistent with IBS. OP when you said your relatives' symptoms were worse - how were they worse if you don't mind me asking? can symptoms caused by an IBD be controlled by drugs do you know? Thanks and good luck
Sorry to be graphic, but my aunt in particular (who has crohns) has passed out from the pain and regularly had diarrhoea on her bathroom walls due to the force of her cramps. She also had aching joints which is why she was tested for RA).
We were looking at IBD symptoms online and my husband mentioned that I often seem fatigued - he is right, but I think I've been tired for so long that I just kind of accept it as normal. I haven't mentioned it to the go before, come to think of it.
My aunt has been on steroids and immunotherapy (Humira) to treat her crohns but the side effects are awful. My grandmother had her colon removed and has a stoma. IBDs have an awful impact on the patients life - I'm hoping I "just" have IBS.
Try not to worry, I've had Crohns since my 20s (I'm 48 now) & it's only in the last 5 years that I've been really ill. I had 2 quite nasty flares & had surgery last Feb - now been in remission with no symptoms for 10 months. Ask for a faecal calprotectin test (you'll need to provide a stool sample) as this tests for inflammation in the bowel & is more accurate than the normal crp blood test. The problem with IBD especially Crohns is there are so many different symptoms & not everyone shows typical symptoms - I definitely didn't & needed a CT scan to confirm my diagnosis as every other test was inconclusive. Please let us know how you get on
Just had my colonoscopy- I literally did not feel a thing - sedation is a wonderful thing. No cancer, IBD or anything else. So back to square one! Good luck OP x
Thanks Mrs Pinot - how did you get diagnosed originally if you don't mind me asking? I've got an appointment for Friday, so I will ask about the stool test.
Great news Simmi - so glad it's none of the things mentioned - must be frustrating not to have a diagnosis though.
Yeah it's really frustrating. I'm seeing the consultant again next week to discuss next steps. He thinks it may be related to my birth injury as I suffered a 3rd degree tear. Never heard of that causing ibs symptoms though. It's so frustrating. I am in pain or at least uncomfortable every day now. It started off being an intermittent problem but now it's pretty much constant. I'm still on maternity leave but wouldn't be able to work with this condition. I'm not leaving the house much and am getting increasingly depressed. Just don't know what to do. Sorry to hijack your thread OP just needed to vent
OP, I see that you found hypnobirthing helpful. Have you tried hypnotherapy for IBS? It can be amazingly effective - so much so that it is available on the NHS in some areas. Google "Peter Whorwell" and "gut focussed hypnotherapy" for more info. It's amazing how much control the mind can have over the body. As you mentioned your IBS is very sensitive to stress it sounds like you could be a good candidate for it.
I've been referred at last - thank you so much for all the help.
Simmi, I'm really sorry to hear that, my SIL has a similar tear and she still has problems with it 2 years later because it just didn't heal. I don't know if she has had bowel issues too.
Flumpty, that sounds fantastic, thank you. I've always found hypnotherapy to be extremely effective for birthing, insomnia etc.
DS has stomach problems. He had diverticulitis a while ago and has dreadful pains etc. It's better goes aeay when he eats light (and avoids curry) exercises and isn't stresses (some chance!).
Would something like aloe vera colon cleanse help?
My 'IBS' was also largely caused by garlic intolerance! Plus I suspect leek isn't great either. Garlic is indeed in every ready meal now! I also found the mini pill helped matters a lot as it seems to slow things down. I rarely have problems now, whereas 'IBS' used to ruin my life.
Yes - he can't tolerate garlic at all which is a pity because its good for the heart.
Maybe I should put him on the pill!
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