Posted 23 August 2018 - 03:27 PM
Hello everyone -- I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 29 - at the time, I was suffering from a lot of abdominal pain after a entering a stressful deadline-driven job. I am now 57. I have the type of IBS that can go dormant for years. After a year-long flare-up in 2000 when I changed jobs again, I had no problems ever again -- until last year.
Shortly after my elderly father died last summer, and I was adapting to another major life change at the same time, my symptoms came back with a vengeance. I was getting abdominal pains, bloating, diarrhea and even urinary discomfort and frequency. Given my age, and the 17 years that had passed since my last big flareup, I panicked and went to the doctor, convinced I had some form of cancer. I had an abdominal/pelvic ultrasound and abdominal/pelvic CT scan done, along with bloodwork, urinalysis, etc. The only thing that showed up was the possibility of mild IBD. The doc referred me for a colonoscopy to confirm, but I chickened out and never had it done. The thought of it sent me into paralyzing panic. I also suffer from severe health anxiety and depression, and had already worked myself up into such a state of fear that I ended up in ER one night because of suicidal thoughts.
Later, I ended up going to a naturopath who suggested a gluten-free diet, along with probiotics and a product called GI Restore by VitaAid. I also drank peppermint tea and had some acupuncture sessions done. This seemed to work for months, and I didn't have any issues from March until the end of July this year. Then at the end of last month, the diarrhea started again. The only stressor I can think of is that I was worrying about a laser procedure I had done on my eye last month. Additionally, I have a vegetable garden and was eating a lot more fresh veggies than I normally do. (I soon discovered that raw tomatoes go right through me, although they never used to -- my stool would be full of tomato skins.)
The diarrhea started the day after my eye procedure and has continued on and off ever since, so it's been nearly a month now. The diarrhea is intermittent, only occurring two or three times a week in isolated bouts. In between times, I'm borderline constipated. I won't go at all one day, have hard stools the next, then diarrhea the next, then the cycle starts all over again. Today, for example, I passed hard stool this morning, then had a bout of diarrhea this afternoon. This was the first bout of diarrhea since last Wednesday, so I'm feeling very frustrated and upset because I thought it might have been finally going away. No such luck. I have no symptoms during the night, only during the day -- when I do get the diarrhea, it usually occurs in the afternoon or early evening. And after that one bout, it doesn't happen again for another several days.
I can't figure out what's causing the problem. I'm still taking probiotics, have gone back on the GI Restore, and am drinking lots of peppermint tea, but it doesn't seem to be making much difference. I have remained gluten-free since the spring. I am considering the FodMap diet but am not convinced that's going to help either. I'm taking liquid Imodium after every bout of diarrhea, and that helps, but then the diarrhea just recurs again a few days later. I tried taking Metamucil for a few days, and that seemed to help too, but it was giving me stomach pains so I stopped it. I have been on a low dose of anti-depressants for years. I upped the dose last fall when I wasn't able to function, but don't want to keep doing that if I can help it.
Yes, I know I should go back to the doctor, but he'll only refer me for a colonoscopy again, and I really don't want to have it done. I know someone who had one done and ended up with a severe infection that nearly killed her -- the damage it did has ruined her life. I'm thinking of returning to my naturopath next week, although I don't know what more she can do either. However, I am thinking of having a stool test done to check for parasites, and bloodwork to check for celiac, assuming it doesn't cost too much. All I do know is that I am getting very depressed and anxious about it all -- and of course, that just makes my symptoms worse because I'm obsessing about my bowels. I just want to be done with bowel problems and get back to my life.
What do others do to get a flare-up under control? I realize that if I do have mild IBD on top of IBS then my problems are complicated, but the GI Restore is supposed to help with bowel inflammation. I try to avoid foods that I think will aggravate my symptoms but it's getting to the point where I'm wondering if almost every food is giving me a reaction. I like the idea of getting more soluble fiber via Metamucil, but the psyillum husks seem a bit harsh for my digestive system. I remember my mother taking Metamucil years ago after she was diagnosed with diverticulitis, and I have read that it's good for IBS and IBD (Chrohn's and colitis).
Any thoughts or discussion would be hugely appreciated. <3
Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:35 AM
Posted 10 September 2018 - 05:03 PM
I am a newcomer here too and I can relate to so many of your thoughts. First and most importantly, you are not alone. Unfortunately there are many of us that suffer like this and it is really unfortunate that the medical community can't do too much about it in some cases. I am one of those cases too where nothing seems to work for very long.
I would also suggest that it is sound advice to get the dreaded colonoscopy done because there could be something more serious going on that could be addressed if caught in time. By not doing it, you wont have the opportunity to get a plan together and that isn't good. It is horrible to do, but find a way to make that happen because your life could depend on it.
Take care and I hope you find some answers soon.