Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:15 AM
I am a 27 year old male living in Hong Kong. I came across this website when my IBS-D was worst. I told myself that some day I would recover from this dreadful illness and share my story here. My IBS has been brought under control, and I wish to share my experience here.
In about late 2010 or early 2011, my bowel habits began to change. Defecation took longer and longer, stool was often loose (“muddy” is the best way to put it), and there was always this sensation of not having quite finished passing out stool. I didn’t do anything about this for a while.
In Feb 2011, things got worse. I began to have frequent watery diarrhea and chronic abdominal pain. But the worst nightmare was fecal incontinence, which began to occur on a daily basis. I consulted a doctor and received a colonoscopy. The diagnosis was “proctitis”, but subsequent consultations with three gastroenterologists dismissed it as a misdiagnosis. The gastroenterologists told me that my diarrhea and incontinence are symptoms of IBS, which I had never ever heard of before. I was also told that there was no cure for IBS, and they could only give me anti-diarrhea medicine and psyllium fibre to “firm up the stool”. My stool never firmed up, it just got even softer and mucous-rich despite the medicine and the fibre. The incontinence also worsened, and being a hygiene freak, I couldn’t stand it and began sticking my finger inside my rectum to clean out the feaces inside. It hurt horribly, but I did it anyway in the hope of preventing incontinence from occurring (which never worked) and making myself as “clean” as possible.
In Oct 2011, I had on average four times of watery diarrhea every day. I could not function properly at work anymore, due to the long time spent inside the toilet, fatigue, and the constant fear of needing the toilet when busy at work. I was forced to give up my job and began staying at home. I thought spending some time away from the stressful work environment would do me good, but I was wrong. The IBS worsened.
After consulting several gastroenterologists and each giving me the same answer that there was no cure, I turned to treatment from practitioners of Traditional Chinese medicine (“TCM”), who prescribed both Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. However, despite the treatment, my condition continued to worsen. Between May 2011 and Feb 2012, I consulted a total of 12 TCM practitioners, all to no avail. Some of these practitioners were very famous in Hong Kong, and some were even professors teaching TCM at local universities, but none of them managed to help me even a tiny bit. In the mean time, my psychological health also suffered, and I was diagnosed by psychiatrist with severe depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
By Mar 2012, I had lost all hope of recovery. However, I decided to give it one last try. This time, I chose the TCM clinic at Yan Chai Hospital (a public hospital) in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong (which is where I live). I didn’t care which TCM practitioner would be allocated to me anymore, since I thought it would be useless anyway. A young TCM practitioner, who was in her early thirties and who then was a fresh graduate from the University of Hong Kong, was allocated to me. Her diagnosis (note: TCM diagnosis) of me was that I had “weak spleen and weak kidney” (TCM terminology, referring to a weakened general digestive system) caused by a mixture of factors, including my “body type”, my frequent consumption of cold beverages, anxiety and depression. She opined that I had a “cold” (as opposed to “hot”) body type, to which symptoms such as tendency to have watery diarrhea, general fatigue, shortness of breath, and feeling of coldness in the limbs can be attributed. She prescribed herbal medicine and acupuncture. I took the herbal medicine twice daily, and had acupuncture twice a week.
In the following six months, my condition improved slowly but certainly. Frequency of bowel movements reduced from up to 6 a day to 2 a day. Abdominal pain became much less frequent. The stool slowly firmed up and the incontinence was gone. By Aug 2012, normal bowel movements had resumed, and I no longer had to “clean” my rectum with my finger, because each bowel movement was firm and complete and there was no longer any incontinence. I returned to my work in Sept 2012. Today, I cannot say I have been cured of IBS, but it has certainly come under control, thanks to the young TCM practitioner at Yan Chai Hospital. In my case, IBS is psychosomatic, by which I mean it has to do with both my physical and mental condition. Due to my “body type”, I cannot consume cold foods or beverages; otherwise I get diarrhea and abdominal pain. Moreover, whenever I get too stressed at work, I get anxiety attacks and diarrhea follows. But these remaining symptoms of my IBS can be easily controlled by taking anti-diarrhea and anti-spasmodic medicine. My IBS is now well under control and no longer messes up my life.
Posted 28 September 2015 - 09:00 PM
God, could u tell me the name of that young TCM doctor at 仁濟醫院？I saw a TCM doctor in the mainland, and am currently taking his herbs. My major symptoms differ from you a bit, but he also concluded that I 脾腎虧虛. I have taken his herbs for a month, but still have no significant improvement.