Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:09 PM
Hi there IBS-D ers,
I am sure you get sick to death of people posting these questions and usually I do my own internet research, but I've been coming up with nothing that can answer my question! So I am hoping you might be kind enough to help a girl out
I am 23 yr old normal weight female, vegan & lactose intolerant. Previously normal perfect BMs, once or twice a day. I had stomach ulcers as a child and I have acid reflux from time to time (GERD). I don't smoke and drink very occasionally in moderate amounts. I am just wondering about some symptoms I've been having and hoping you can tell me from your own invaluable experience of IB-D flare ups how long they last and what is typical for you...??? I know the symptoms of IBS very closely coincide with colon cancer and I don't mean to be a hypochondriac but my dad had stage III colon cancer at age 21 and his mother died of it at 50. No genetic diagnosis has been made. I have gone to the Dr. and been referred to the gastroenterologist although had to wait 5 weeks and have since been booked for a colonoscopy in a month's time. Blood tests showed no anemia and normal levels.
So I have a month to go till the colonoscopy and trying to put my mind at ease until then.
My main symptom is diarrhea. Practically every day, (5 times a week) although I can occasionally have a bit of constipation if this diarrhea stops me from eating and drinking normally. But mostly it's just diarrhea, and not the watery kind, more like the unformed mushy (sorry to be gross) kind! It happens throughout the day , morning noon and night. Sometimes in large volumes and other times in small amounts frequently. It doesn't wake me up from sleeping.
The diarrhea started out of the blue in January (2.5 months ago) and hasn't gone away despite me cutting out caffeine, not taking any pills/ sweeteners and experimenting with my fibre intake to try make it go away. Even if I eat plain bread or a bland diet I still get diarrhea.
My other symptoms are:
Indigestion (heartburn, epigastric stomach pain after eating)
Bloating that goes up and down
Blood only a FEW times and could be from the trauma of the constant diarrhea.
Weight Loss of 5 kgs (the diarrhea makes me not want to eat and I have been under significant stress with a break up, death in the family and work issues)
Anyway, I am trying not to think the worst as I have to wait a month for the procedure. And I haven't told family or friends as it's embarrassing and don't want to cause unnecessary worry.
Please can you tell me how long your flare ups last? Like would they be constant and not go away for over 2 months? I know IBS is not typically associated with weight loss, but surely if you are bloated with diarrhea, you don't eat as much? I still have an appetite when I'm not feeling gross.
I occasionally have normal bowel movements and diarrhea in the same day within a few hours, is this typical of IBS? The fact that I can still have one or two normal bowel movements in a week to 10 days makes me feel like the probability of it being a tumour/ obstruction is less as it would always be diarrhea then surely? So that reassures me that it could be functional.
Please tell me basically what your IBS-D is like so I can understand more if that's what I might have Thank you!
Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:02 PM
It is unique to each individual. For some they can last a day or two. Others a week or a month.. others.. years. Just depends on the person. So there isn't any confusion.. You mean IBS-D not IBD right? (IBS-D means Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diarrhea predominant. IBD means Inflammatory Bowel Disorder.. an entirely different and much more serious disorder.)
I occasionally have normal bowel movements and diarrhea in the same day within a few hours, is this typical of IBS?
Of course you are concerned about colon cancer with your family history. But right now ... live in the moment. You are cancer free as far as you know right now. So live that way. You can spend your life worrying about your medical family history... or... you can choose to live each day to the fullest without fear. Your choice.
I have loads of sinister stuff in my medical family history. And yeah currently I have IBS, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. I check more boxes than I leave blank on those medical history forms. But... I get out there and try to make the most of each and everyday I am blessed with.
Hang in there.
- Emma T likes this
Posted 27 March 2014 - 02:07 PM
Thank you for your reply It is good to know it's not necessarily something to worry about and that my symptoms could be explained by IBS-D. Hopefully I'm not going to be the person who gets year long flares... :/ I had no idea how disabling it is to have to constantly rush to the bathroom and wonder when it's next going to strike again.
Do you think that means I can put off getting a colonoscopy and start just trying to manage it myself? I'm awfully young to have such an uncomfortable procedure..so I do wonder if it's truly necessary.
Good luck managing your diabetes, high blood pressure & IBS, sounds like you've got your hands full !
Posted 27 March 2014 - 03:22 PM
Did your Dad have a polyp disorder (where he had hundreds and hundreds of polyps) as colon cancer that young (even with polyp disease) is pretty rare.
If he had tons of polyps you may need the colonoscopy to see if you have a bunch in there as well (as a very very small percentage of polyps become cancerous) Although usually if you have that family history they'd be telling you that you needed screening by now for that. Usually the risk of getting the polyp issue is about 50% if you had a parent with you, so usually they are pretty watchful of that.
While the lists overlap, usually IBS is very obvious and obnoxious symptoms you always notice. Colon cancer often is vague and maybe I kinda have that symptom sort of thing. So that you have lots of obvious issues tends to point more to IBS.
FWIW a lot of IBSer find the all starch all the time "bland" diet actually tends to keep the diarrhea going and do better when limiting starches and grains (low fodmap diet).
Anyway with the family history it probably isn't a bad idea to get the insides looked at just to be certain you aren't forming way too many polyps way too early.
- Emma T likes this
Ph.D in Biology
Posted 27 March 2014 - 06:09 PM
Thanks for your well thought out answer If you are referring to FAP (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) then no he doesn't have that.. He had a few benign polyps as well as the cancerous polyps when his cancer was diagnosed which makes doctors question HNPCC (although he denied genetic testing and has been cancer free for 35 years) ..but with HNPCC the age of onset is usually 40 onwards..which makes me wonder if he has some kind of de novo mutation that wouldn't be passed on to us kids..but again I can never be sure! What do you think?
I know that given his history I am supposed to start screening at age 11 but I didn't as doctors weren't that proactive (I've lived in different countries with diff healthcare systems) and I've never had any bowel issues in the past so put off getting any embarrassing scopes... I know I need to man up and face the music sometime! It does not help that my gastro dr. is young and good looking when asking me about BMs and gas !! And I do feel like I am clogging the system though up by being a hypochondriac potentially...
As my blood tests were normal I am reassured that the probability of it being anything sinister is not that great. IBS is obviously my best case scenario, although I am finding the symptoms very interfering with my daily life, and due to the "ick" factor of digestive issues, I am not exactly disclosing my tummy troubles to my university professors or friends to get any support or leeway on my bad days as it all seems very personal and embarrassing.
When you had your first flare up was that sort of the "worst" time and then it settled in due course and now it's not as intense? Because my quality of life has really decreased since this all started and I hate the fact that it might never go away...so I am hoping it settles in some small way to be more manageable. I have started managing my stress better, another factor that makes it point to IBS is that this all started around the time I got dumped, had a relative die and had a stressful work placement inside a prison.. but the symptoms continue despite things in my personal life settling down a bit since then.
As IBS is so variable I really don't know what to expect in terms of what course my tummy might take in the future... What age was your diagnosis? Is 23 the usual sort of age?
Thank you for your help! xxx
Posted 27 March 2014 - 06:20 PM
I have had diarrhea-predominant IBS for over 30 years, and I was diagnosed with Biliary Salts diarrhea within the past few years. I go to the bathroom all the time. Sometimes I have diarrhea 10+ times a day, and then there are times I have normal BMs. And very rarely, I will even get constipated.
Sometimes the diarrhea is accompanied by excruciating pain, and sometimes no pain.
I feel as though I rarely have times when I am NOT in a flare-up. I've learned to live with it.
But my offer some very gentle advice to you? I was quite young (in my twenties) when I had the teensiest bit of blood one time on the toilet paper after a BM, and I happened to mention it to my internist. He was an extremely thorough type of doctor, and he wanted me to have a sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy. The thought filled me with dread! (I was a nervous wreck.......I had no idea what to expect, and the thought of it was soooo embarrassing.)
But I am so glad I followed through with it because he found 3 polyps, 2 of which were benign, but 1 was precancerous. And I was a young woman!
And the colonoscopy was not a bad experience at all. The prep for it is a bit uncomfortable (because of all the liquid diet you're on for a couple of days, plus the cleaning out of your colon by going to the bathroom so often) but it's not as bad as getting a filling at the dentist office, at least in my opinion. They most often give you an IV with medicine that relaxes you so much, and because it is an amnesic, you won't remember a single thing. Last time I had one, I remember the IV going in and the warm blanket they had given me, and I just felt more and more relaxed........and then I remember waking up and being incredulous that the whole thing was over!
And I was very young when I had my first colonoscopy. I am so grateful the doctor insisted upon it. Had I never had the colonoscopy, the precancerous polyp could be full-blown cancer by now.
So, I urge you to follow through, and you will at least know if there are any issues going on. Wouldn't that be nice to know? Sometimes NOT knowing is worse than knowing. You may have absolutely no problems at all, and if that's so, I'm sure you'd be so relieved.
Will you let us know how you're doing? I'm so interested. Best of luck!!
(P.S. In no way was I trying to cause you any undue alarm.....I am not a medical professional, and I am only sharing my own personal experience. Your experience is your own, and it may not in any way be similar to mine. I just wanted to be sure to come back and express that, because I was concerned that I might cause you to get frightened.........and that was not my intent.....at all. If I did, please do forgive me, Emma........ )
Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:05 PM
Teen/Young Adult through middle age is pretty typical for age of onset. A few are younger and a few manage to avoid it until they are elderly but usually by about 50 if you are likely to get it, you would have gotten it already.
IBS has a fairly good track record in clincal trials following people with post infectious IBS (so you have a diagnosis of food poisoning that was verified that gives you a definable start point) of fading by about the 2-3 year range, so it can go away/get significantly better.
I got it mid thirties severely (had some minor easy to deal with issues younger than that) and about a year in I did a round of Cog. Behav. Therapy as part of a clinical trial and I got significantly better during the 3 months and then got consistently better after that.
Ph.D in Biology
Posted 12 October 2019 - 02:52 AM
My flare ups never lasted more than 1 day or 2.
My current flare up lasted for 3 entire days and was somewhat worse than usual.
My flare ups ALWAYS happen after overeating which involves carbs and NEVER happen while I eat in moderation.
After a bowl movement I might feel an almost total relief but eating again
turns everything back on. I have noticed that initially the pain focuses at the upper left part of my abdomen (right where
my stomach is) and at later stages the pain moves to the lower part of my abdomen.
The only thing I find helpful during flare ups is fasting or eating a BRAT diet until complete recovery.
Medicines, whether against cramps, against gas or against pain, seem to have very little effect, if any.
I feel like there isn't really a correlation between stress to flare ups.
I do suspect that taking more than half a teaspoon of psyllium husk, which is very beneficial for me in general, might be
a trigger or a co-trigger of all my last flare ups. I am going to try half a teaspoon 2 times a day.