I do not have anything good to offer you. I am new to the group. My wife is the one that is suffering with the ibs. She has suffered for 30 years but it would come and go. It seems now it has come to stay. Leeann it is so good to hear yours has subsided that is encouraging. My wife has had the same symptoms as everyone else. She has lost 25 pounds that she did not have to lose. So now looking in the mirror in the morning is another challenge. I have tried giving her everything from CBD gells to Tylenol. It seems what helps the most is a hot towel on her abdomen and ativan .5 mg. I hope no one minds that I am writing this instead of my wife, but the care giver battles this too. I wish everyone well and I will keep in touch.
I can relate to your wife's suffering. I've suffered from IBS for 37 years on and off, but these past two years it has come back with a vengeance. I developed what they call silent reflux (laryngopharygeal reflux or LPR) in 2017 and went on a low acid diet, which is all about eating clean, no processed foods whatsoever, but fresh produce, wholegrains, that sort of thing. The interesting thing is that around the same time I started on this diet I developed new symptoms of IBS--very different from previous IBS flare-ups. This was the pressure bloating, which is just as described on this thread. Horrid, horrid thing! I could put up with the LPR symptoms and even the normal IBS symptoms, but the pressure bloating takes the cake.
Since then, my very extensive research in this area led me to a great gastroenterologist based in the UK who specialises in IBS. It was he who explained that the pressure in the upper abdomen is NOT gas but dysmotility. Basically, the bowel is like a factory line's conveyor belt, moving smoothly along in what we call peristalsis. What happens with dysmotility is that the movement is disrupted (usually due to involvement from the central nervous system) and so while one area of the bowel moves faster, another moves slower, and yes, air can get trapped in between these movements and cause the horrible pressure. This is the short explanation version of this syndrome. It's a big thing with IBS sufferers and is mostly controlled by the brain. I'm sure many of you have heard of the Gut-Brain Axis. Therefore, because IBS sufferers are super sensitive to the smallest stimulus many of them feel the pressure (whereas a normal person would not), and this pressure can also involve diaphragm function, which explains why some people find it difficult to breathe. But no matter how horrid it is, the pressure bloating (as we all call it) is not dangerous, but many of us develop fear of eating because of this. Eating seems to exacerbate it. I lost 28 pounds as a result of FEAR of this pressure plus the fact that I was eating really clean food in order to get the silent reflux under control, but it was mostly the fear of eating and the fear that I had an "alien" creature trapped inside me, trying to come out--just like in the first Alien movie, for those of you who can remember this movie
The interesting thing is that although the pressure comes and goes, and can switch on even on an empty stomach, I find that mine is worst when I walk into the kitchen and am about to start making dinner. it's like an alarm clock, I tell you! I wrote to this professor in the UK about this, and he assured me that he has thousands of patients who go through this and that the brain is what drives it. And so I started talking to my brain, yes, I know it sounds a bit cooky, but hey, I'll try anything once. And believe it or not it started to work after a while (and this is because the gut is controlled by the vagus nerve and the vagus nerve is what controls the fight/flight response) and the first thing that closes down when you're faced with a sabre-toothed tiger is your digestion, and the brain basically sends all your energy to your muscles so you can either fight the tiger or run away. So the trick is to tell your brain that there is no threat at all and so it can stop sending these signals to the brain.
I'm now studying neuroscience and neuroplasticity (rewiring of the brain). Basically, when these kind of things happen often enough as in chronic pain, IBS, reflux, etc, etc, the brain produces neural pathways that will send false alarm signals at the slightest stimulus, which could be stress, anxiety, bad memories, or even something as simple as a change in the weather.
I don't want to waffle on, but the US is really ahead of all other countries with studies in this kind of thing, which they call mind/body syndromes, or psychophysiological disorders, and no, it's not all in your head. The culprit is the brain and the neural pathways it produces. This has been proven time and again, especially with phantom limb pain! If someone loses a limb, how can they still feel pain (as if the limb is still there?); the brain is the culprit! And this is what happens in things like IBS: neural pathways that produce all sorts of symptoms, but the good thing is that this is not hurting the gut, it's all to do with the brain. Of course one must ensure first there is no pathology involved eg. tumours, blood, etc, which could point to serious conditions.
But I digress. I was interested to know why your wife lost so much weight. Was it similar to what happened to me? She ate less and less in order not to feel this horrid pressure?