Posted 12 April 2009 - 11:00 PM
Update!!As I have never got on well with HRT I decided to try black cohosh (Femular by brand name rather than Remifemin). Within a week of commencing this my bowel habits started to become regular and predictable, also softer and more 'normal' looking. although I continued with the laxatives as I was not sure what would happen. After about 3-4 weeks I suddenly (overnight) developed a really strange type of diarrhoea (not the usual type you get with gastro). I also became nauseous and the bloating blew out of all proportion. There were also a few other symptoms. This went on for another 3 weeks and it was thought at the time that I may have had a systemic candida infection since I also developed vaginal thrush for no apparent reason (I normally only get this after antibiotics). I went on the candida diet but did not get any of the expected die-off symptoms, and the diarrhoea started to ease (I had lost 5kg by this time - a lot when I only weighed 50kg to start with). At this time the doc also did a stool test and told me I have blastocystis hominis which may have been the cause of the symptoms. I stopped taking everything but the Benefiber while I had the diarrhoea and once it started to ease I only went back on the black cohosh. To my surprise I was able to continue with no laxative assitance whatsoever. The motions became regular and normal. I did find though that after about 10 days I started to get diarrhoea symptoms back and so eased up on the black cohosh again. This cycle went on for a few more weeks and after discussing it with the microbiologist at QML the doc decided that the parasite was probably not responsible for the symptoms, but she didn't think the black cohosh was either. After a lot of internet research on the side effects I have found that it is highly likely that the black cohosh was the culprit, but as I could control it by varying the dose it wasn't a major concern. My main problem with this treatment came when red grapefruit came into season and I had one or two every day for a bit over a week. I found I started getting odd symptoms including dark coloured urine. When I did a bit of research into this I found the symptoms were the same as those attributed to grapefruit interaction with a number of prescription medications, except I didn't yet have jaundice. Being a herb there is little research available on the black cohosh, however it is known to affect the liver. The liver is also the issue with grapefruit/drug interaction. I put two and two together and gave up the black cohosh and the grapefruit but each time I tried either the symptoms started to come back.Rather than risk my liver further I have reluctantly switched to HRT (Sandrena oestrogen only gel) and have been on that for a few weeks, working through the migraine phase. I am pleased to say that the bowels have continued to be 'normal', like clockwork each morning, no tearing or bleeding, even coping with the extreme stress and emotional trauma this week of relationship meltdown. I also have no other symptoms of the IBS (as discernible from normal digestive ups and downs) and am gradually trying different foods back in the diet (even chocolate!!), so far with no nasty effects. I am still taking the Benefiber but am hoping that a bit further down the track I can cut that out as well. And I haven't put back on the weight I lost either.I was told when I had my hysterectomy that I may go through menopause early. Since the IBS set in not too far down the track after the hysterectomy I am now wondering if I haven't had IBS at all, just reducing oestrogen levels, and as the oestrogen levels depleted further with time, so the apparent IBS symptoms increased and would not settle down. I will never know for sure, but it seems more than likely to me that if only someone had thought to test my hormone levels 5 years ago I may never have had to go through all that I did.