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IBS sufferers, please lend me your wisdom.....

(16 Posts)
IlanaK Thu 25-Jun-09 20:42:50

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?

Ewe Thu 25-Jun-09 20:50:51

Grrr, IBS is so rubbish.

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?

Ewe Thu 25-Jun-09 20:52:49

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.

IlanaK Thu 25-Jun-09 20:54:20

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.

Ewe Thu 25-Jun-09 21:00:40

Your diet could certainly play a part then, could you try a low fibre diet for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference?

This is a good document from NICE.

Noonki Thu 25-Jun-09 21:04:42

I would look at getting tested for chron's and Coeliac.

Then I would do a food exclusion diet.

I did and found out I am massively wheat intolerant and that it caused me years of health problems that have since all cleared up.

I know of two people who had IBS who have since found out they have food intolerances.

PS spelt is a form of wheat if you want to try cutting it out.

Also you have to be v strict in the period you are giving up or else it may skew results.

IlanaK Thu 25-Jun-09 21:08:30

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.

littlerach Thu 25-Jun-09 21:10:41

I have had to cut out quite a lot of "brown" foods, and as a veggie it has been a PITA.
But it has made a difference.

I have also cut right down on cheese.
And broccoli.
sad

I also eat a lot less at each meal but have small snacks if I ma hungry between.

I was presrcibed mebervine but haven't taken it as others have found it not at all heloful.

I have also used loperamide for relief, as i too suffer mainly with diarhoea rather than constipation.

IlanaK Thu 25-Jun-09 21:12:48

How does one eat healthily without brown/high fibre foods?

littlerach Thu 25-Jun-09 21:14:14

Moderation I htink.

I eat a fair amount of fruit and veg and pulses, but I watch what I eat and monitor if it effects me.

But the worst thing for me is stress, definitley.

Ewe Thu 25-Jun-09 21:18:34

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.

ReneRusso Thu 25-Jun-09 21:24:11

agree with sensible things like get tested for crohn's and coeliac. However, you could also try drinking peppermint tea every day. This cured my (self-diagnosed) IBS.

IlanaK Thu 25-Jun-09 21:40:54

Ok, having read up now on Crohns and Coeliac, I definately don't think my symptoms fit coeliac. However, crohns is a possibility. It is hard to know though as the symptoms are similar to IBS.

Meglet Thu 25-Jun-09 21:41:28

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.

You can google low residue diets.

Hormonesnomore Wed 01-Jul-09 22:16:23

I've found that a daily bio yogurt & linseeds help more that the anti-spasmodics my gp prescribed - but my IBS was constipation-based (with bloating & painful trapped wind).

Hope you find something helpful soon, it's a horrible, disabling condition.

AnitaBlake Wed 01-Jul-09 23:35:01

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!

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