Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.
What the heck is going on with my bowels? Long. Detailed. Possibly not for the faint hearted.(39 Posts)
Sorry, this is a bit of a stream of consciousness...
The current sorry tale started on Easter Sunday with an unflushable monster of a turd. Honestly the most dense thing I have ever known. Put it down to a few days of over indulgence.
However, since then, things just haven't seemed to be normal. I swing between soft and sloppy (though no diarrhoea) and hard and painful and everything in between.
Currently feel like I'm constipated, but I currently have a horrendous cold that means it hurts to push, so not sure if it's that.
I constantly feel like I need to poo, and that I'm never cleared out, but I don't know if I'm just at a point where I've forgotten what 'normal' feels like, IYSWIM.
I am constantly full of wind. Very gassy, hefty farts, but don't often smell. Except for a few days a couple of weeks ago when they were horrendous
A coupe of times at the start (in days when I felt constipated) I tried laxatives (the muscle stimulant kind) and while it did cause some movement, it didn't feel like it had really hit the spot/cleared me out.
I have been really quite bloated throughout, and at times really quite sluggish and tender. I've tried to keep my water intake up, and get plenty of walks in, which seems to give minimal help.
My diet probably isn't ideal, but also isn't terrible, and certainly hasn't changed in any noteworthy way.
If I'm being honest, I've probably always been aware that my bowel movements might not be normal - problems with constipation as a child, then later on issues with bursts of unexplained diarrhoea, though that was at university, so in hindsight diet/alcohol intake probably played a big part! Pooing has always played a far larger part of my life than it should do!
I'm at a point where this is constantly playing on my mind. Most of the time I'm going maybe 3-5 times a day in small amounts, then go a couple of days with nothing (though feeling like I need to).
I recognise I probably need to see a GP, but I do get quite anxious and emotional about seeing them, so like to be as prepared as I can be.
if you've made it this far!
So - my questions - What sort of things might they investigate, and what sort of questions could I expect? Does it sound like something that needs looking into? Is there anything I should be trying first at home?
Perhaps IBS? I had a period of bowel issues and had a colonoscopy, I was convinced I had something seriously wrong with me. It was fine and I just have 'a touch of IBS'
What's your fibre intake like? I know when my diet isn't good I have problems similar to IBS but almost disappears when I eat properly.
Fibre intake probably not great, though I do eat a fair amount of beans (low meat diet for various reasons).
I haven't noticed any link between foods and whether it's a good day/bad day. I do have an intolerance to rice, and it feels nothing like that, which is much shorter and sharper!
I admit to knowing very little about IBS - my impression has always been that stomach cramps are a key factor? That's probably about the one thing I haven't had. Unless you count when I suddenly need to go, and practically have to waddle...
Would describe that more as a bum cramp than a stomach one.
I've had some success with active yoghurt (activia).... but maybe that's like suggesting ginger biscuits to someone with hyperemesis. Sorry if so OP. Hope you feel better soon.
What about trying colonic irrigation?
It would give you a good clear out and at least you'd know what felling 'empty is like'
Not at all, Emily. At least iOS not think so. No idea really!
Rational head says you have a point about CI. Squeamish me is running away screaming!
Just quickly read through the NHS page on IBS and aside from cramps, it's all there. It's a GP trip, isn't it?
Is it worth me keeping a food/movements diary for a couple of weeks before going, or better to go sooner rather than later?
Improving your diet and some bowel training might well help. High fibre cereal. Whole meal everything. Lots of veg. I find porridge with added milled flaxseed/linseed and raisins is good. Other excellent food is salad with olive oil vinaigrette. Olive oil on anything helps. Processed food and sugars not good. Try to empty your bowel once a day. Half hour after breakfast is good. Glycerin suppositories are good to stimulate a lazy bowel.
IBS is really individual, so you have your own set of symptoms and triggers. Cramps are not always involved.
In my experience, IBS is diagnosed when other "testable-things" (crohns, celiac, bowel inflammation, etc) are ruled out. There's no diagnostic test for it or anything. You can be prescribed certain medications (actually often to help with cramps or gut spasms) but usually it's a "managed condition" where you need to work out your own triggers and restrict diet/activities until you've found what works for you. Lots of advice on places to start on IBS sites on the Internet e.g. common triggers (not all triggers are food/drink related for example stress or tiredness can also play a part).
I'd caution against colonic irrigation. If nothing else, it will further disturb the balance of your gut flora (etc). It flushes everything out, including things you need. It doesn't sound like your currently sensitive gut would enjoy it....
I'd go sooner, as worrying about it won't help you, or your poor bowels, either. Poor mite. Get thee to quacks! If they want you to keep a food diary, they'll ask and make a subsequent appointment. Try not to worry too much.
You should definitely go to the GP ...but ...
TMI time ...
20+ yrs ago I had salmonella, pooed water for over a week, got better for almost a week and came back with a vengeance (I pooed fresh blood ) - can't really remember but I think I did poo a day later and it was ok - not water, not quite normal and no blood - then a day after that I ended up in hospital seriously ill (with something else), on bed rest, using a bed pan, on codeine and given nothing for it - I didn't poo for 4 days - then they gave me increasing doses of lactulose and then glycerine suppositories -it took almost 2 weeks for me to manage to poo....and by then I was off the codeine and allowed to move around.
Went regularly after that - but had various problems - feeling like I'd never quite emptied my bowels, terrible wind, odd bouts of diarrhoea. I never did 'fat' poos...never more than 1.5 cm thick. This went on for 10-15yrs. At one point I was told I had IBS...(after going to the GP after terrible painful wind problems).
I had a friend whose granny had a bowel problems -they were trying to do a colonoscopy and they couldn't see her bowel walls - they kept giving her enemas etc...so I believe you can get a build up in your bowel.
I started reading about colonic irrigation as a treatment for IBS and was seriously thinking about giving it a try - but then there are associated risks. In the end I tried maximum dose of lactulose for a week, drank lots of water ...it gave me terrible really stinky wind - not nice to be around. I also did some two tone poos - lengthways half really dark and half lighter coloured. But it did solve my 'IBS' problems...never had as many or as bad digestion problems again.
I think now I would try Movicol - which is supposedly more effective than lactulose...has a stimulant as well? But I would say might be worth trying...
Are you drinking enough water? Constipation is often caused by lack of fluids- all the fibre in the world won't help if it's not being softened and helped along by fluids. Aim for at least 1.5 ltrs a day.
It's best to limit the 'bran' type of cereals because lots of people with IBS are intolerant to gluten so although oats are okay, you're better off getting your fibre from veg and fruit- figs and prunes will get things moving as well as fibrous veg like carrots, broccoli and beans.
Beans themselves can cause dreadful wind. I love beans but they pain me so much as well as making me poo too much that they are off the menu. I don't think I have 'true' IBS but anything with too much fibre tips me into the loose poo state.
Anyone got any useful links to dietary info, particularly on fibrous foods? Googling is jut throwing up lots of clickbaity spammy websites.
Tinned grapefruit segments, they will shift anything. And plenty of water try to shift it straining will give you piles
Actually too much bran type fibre can give you constipation if you aren't drinking enough fluids...
You can get stuff like fibrogel - which you dilute in water so it makes sure you are drinking enough.
But you are better sticking to fruit and veg ...
(And beans can make you windy but that shouldn't be painful - unless you hold it in...so in company etc...)
I've only read the OP but what you describe there is quite familiar to me. It is IBS, almost without a doubt. I have had all sorts of symptoms all my life, thought everyone did! and only went to the GP when I had curious low grade sensitivity in my lower abdomen which I was paranoid was either related to my kidneys (I have a history) or reproductive organs. Had a full abdominal scan which showed nothing amiss. GP insisted I had IBS, I insisted I didn't (I thought I would notice something in my bowel movements - this low grade sensitivity came with no obvious other symptoms). Anyway, long story short, GP was right and I was wrong.
He did tell me that IBS cannot be diagnosed in itself as it is so many different things to different people. But when everything else has been ruled out, and only IBS is left, that is what you have!
Beans are probably one or twice a week. Don't tend to notice adverse effects from non-baked beans, but maybe just haven't drawn the connection.
Also, I was warned off trying to eat a too high in fibre diet. Actually, it can make the IBS worse.
The best approach to IBS nowadays is to look up the low-FODMAPs diet and do it religiously for 4 weeks or so. Then follow the advice about how to reintroduce foods to see how you respond. It is tedious but there are no drug shortcuts to a healthy bowel for IBS.
Looking at FODMAP. Would be quite an adjustment, but it would be laziness not to try
It's also making me reassess my diet since things have got worse - it's been a busy time with work stresses and events and things. If I'm being honest we've probably slipped a bit too much into 'convenience' foods, and slipped into bad habits with sugary foods.
An overhaul in the next couple of days, once I'm over this virus, is definitely in order, whether that ends up being full FODMAP or not based on what the GP says.
Wrt diet- I up my fruit and massively and I also take acidophilus powder ( cheaper than probiotic milk)
I would NOT have a colonic irrigation.
I suffered all my life with similar symptoms, but not as severe. Stopped eating bread and pasta 2 years ago, and I can't actually believe how much better I feel. If someone had only suggested doing that 15 years ago my life would've been so much happier! I still get flare ups if I'm stressed or nervous but on the whole I'm cured. Good luck!
dame I hope I made that clear - I would not have colonic irrigation either! There are serious dangers attached to them. They are performed by 'therapists' not medics. If I had been offered an enema in a hospital I would have had one but not colonic irrigation...
In my long winded post I was trying to say I had a severely disrupted digestive system followed by what I think was long term faecal impaction. Treating that (with lactulose) solved the worst of my problems. It is something I would try again if needed...
I do still have slightly 'dodgy' guts - but nothing like I did have for all those years. I wouldn't say I've got IBS - although like I said a GP told me I had.
So I understand why people recommend colonic irrigation - but again I wouldn't have one...
Unlucky- I was emphatically agreeing with you!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.