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I am fairly sure I have IBS and have had it for many years. I always had a "nervous stomach" as a child and as an adult it got worse. As long as I can remember, I have suffered with upset stomach. I never get constipated, but go from having perfectly normal bowel habits for a couple of days, to having mild upset stomach in the evening for a day or two, then back to normal. Every so often, I get what seems like a stomach bug starting in the evening with very back upset stomach and diarrhea with pains in my stomach and the following day have intestinal pain then am better. No-one else in my family gets it so I know its not a bug or food poisoning. Recently, these episodes are becoming more frequent.
So, I am really fed up with it all. I have not been to a doctor about it so have no formal diagnosis. But i know there must be lots of things I can do in a self help sort of way. I have been putting it off and putting it off, but I think I really have to do something now as I am so fed up with it all.
People who have been through it, can you lend me your wisdom for a start please?
Have you tried anti-spasmodics? This is one of the first things that I had suggested to me. Buscopan and Colpermin are the most common but there are others, a GP should be able to recommend but you will probably need to try a couple and see what works for you, they don't work for everyone but can ease the intestinal pain.
In terms of diet, NICE now recommend a low fibre diet, if you google this there will be several meal plans etc and sites that go through what you can and can't eat. For many sufferers alcohol and caffeine are a no no.
Linseed/fybogel has also been recommended to me as well as a daily sachet or half a sachet of movicol. This can help with bloating/constipation if you ever have that.
Depending on severity of pain they can also prescribe certain (low doses, 10 or 20mg instead of the 100mg you would take for depression for example) of a type of anti-depressant. This helps to block the pain signals and is successful in about 50% of people in most recent clinical trials.
Think that covers most things. Have you kept a food diary to see if you have any triggers?
Oh yes, most importantly, don't self diagnose! Chron's disease and coeliac disease present in a very similar way to IBS so it is worth ruling them out in the first instance. Do go to your GP and talk all of this through with them.
Thanks for the reply. One of the things that has put me off ever doing anything about changing diet is the idea of going low fibre. Except for the chocolate I scoff which I know I shouldn't, we try as a family to eat a healthy diet high in fibre. We make our own bread from spelt flour, eat bran cereals, whole grain pasta, lots of fruit and veg etc. I had a virus of some kind for 10 days a while back (Or could it have been an IBS attack of some kind?) that would not shift with cycles of diarrhea. The GP put me on a "white" diet - it was horrible.
Interestingly, I did some food exclusions recently. My ds3 is now 11 months, but during his first 6 months I went totally dairy free as he seemed to be reacting to dairy in my diet through breastmilk. At one point when his colic was very bad, I also did cut out wheat. However, I seemed to react very badly to things like rye which I tried to substitute. I would get terrible wind and bloating.
Interestingly, I do not get any wind at all (well, maybe once a day tiny one!) and no bloating that I have noticed. When I am not having an upset stomach, my stools really do seem totally normal and "formed". But the frequencey of diarrhea (though do you call it dairrhea if it is not watery? Perhaps very loose stools would be a better description) is what is worrying.
You might not have to cut out everything high in fibre, my gastro consultant told me that bran is the worst, he told me to avoid it at all costs - that might be enough for you.
I'm ok with brown bread and I have fruit for breakfast and a yoghurt instead of cereal and toast. Salads for lunch and for dinner tonight for example I had lamb steak with salad and roasted veg. I think my diet is fairly healthy overall.
Stress and anxiety definitely make a big difference for me.
I was diagnosed with IBS by an nhs dietician and try to follow a low residue diet. it does help, too much fruit / veg skin + pips, roughage, caffiene does make it worse. Tap water is also bad for it, so I try to have as much mineral water as I can afford.
I had dreadful IBS until I tried the slimming world diet, a few weeks in and it disappeared completely, only ever comes back when I go off plan too! Diet is mainly fruit and veg with very limited cereals, seems to work for a lot of people!