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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am 22 years old and I was just told today that I might have IBS. What should I do first.. I knew things were wrong.... how can you not... but I did not know there was a name for what I was going through..Any help or advice would be great
 

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Generally there are a few standard recommendations that may be useful.1. Find out if you have "red flag" symptoms of other disorders and make sure you get tested for anything else that you need to. http://www.ibsgroup.org/main/diagnosis.html Most people with typcial standard IBS symptoms when tested extensively have IBS, so how much testing you need may vary from minimal to a whole lot depending on what is going on with you. Extensive testing in IBS patients can make symptoms worse so some doctors do less testing when symptoms are very typical and "red flag"s are absent.2. Based on your symptoms (diarrhea predominate, pain, constipation, etc) you may need to talk to the doctor about medications. http://www.ibsgroup.org/main/drugs.html is a good resource for that. Non-drug treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Hypnotherapy may be appropriate for you as well.3. Start keeping a journal of your symptoms, what you eat, what is going on when you get symptoms. The idea of this is to start to identify any food triggers (like for diarrhea caffiene, alcohol, sorbitol in certain raw fruits, greasy food are common food triggers) or other triggers (like physical stress from not sleeping enough, or emotionally stressful things). If you know your triggers you can do lifestyle modifications to help minimize symptoms.Some people find various books listed here http://www.ibsgroup.org/main/books.html to be pretty helpful as well.K.
 

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BEWARE! THIS IS A LONG POST!!I'm 25 and was diagnosed with IBS last fall.A Web site that has been particularly helpful for me is: www.eatingforibs.com, administered by the author of the book, Heather VanVorous, "Eating for IBS". The FAQ section (http://www.eatingforibs.com/faq.htm#solublesupplement) has a wealth of knowledge in it. I have been following this diet for three weeks, and feel 50 percent better. Basically the information boils down to FIBER! FIBER! FIBER! (the soluable kind, not the insoluable kind). Foods that are naturally high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, pasta, rice, potatoes, French or sourdough bread, soy, barley, and oat bran. These starchy foods are also high in complex carbohydrates, which are an important source of readily accessible fuel for energy. Nuts, beans, and lentils are also good sources of soluble fiber but should be treated with care, as nuts are high in fat and both lentils and beans contain some insoluble fiber.Soluble fiber should ALWAYS be the first thing you eat on an empty stomach, and it should form the basis of EVERY snack and meal. Your goal is to keep your colon, and thus your IBS, consistently stabilized by providing it with a regular supply of soluble fiber.Here's an excerpt from the Web site: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~How should I take a soluble fiber supplement? What kind? Where do I find them?The dosage information for IBS that I have been given by doctors and fiber supplement manufacturers, and that I believe works best for preventing IBS symptoms, is as follows: For the powders (Citrucel, Benefiber, non sugar-free Metamucil) start at 1 teaspoon twice a day and over the next week or two (or three or four) work up to 2 tablespoons twice a day. If you're using pills (Equalactin, Citrucel, Fibercon) start at 2 pills twice daily and work up to 2 pills four times daily. You can also mix and match the powders and pills (for example, take the powders at home but keep the pills on you at work or for taking before restaurant meals). If you're combining powder and pill supplements, I think it's definitely best to make sure that your total daily dosage is equal to what it should be for just the pills or fibers alone. You don't want to take the maximum dose for the pills and then take the maximum dose for the powders on top of this. If you do not see a measurable improvement in your symptoms within one week of using the maximum dosage of a soluble fiber supplement, this could certainly point to a problem other than IBS, and you should see your doctor again. If you have any questions or concerns about the dose and frequency of taking soluble fiber supplements, check with your own physician. For all fiber supplements, make sure you have a large glass of water with each dose, and drink fresh water frequently throughout the day as well. Soluble fiber needs water to work - this is essential. I believe you can take soluble fiber supplements every day for the rest of your life, and this should really help your IBS. If you're at all prone to bloating or gas avoid Metamucil and Fybogel (psyllium) and try Equalactin, Citrucel, Fibercon, or Benefiber instead. Outside the USA, look for Benefiber (avoid Normacol, which contains a laxative), or order one of the non-psyllium supplements online at hardtofindbrands.com (Equalactin) or medichest.com (all other varieties). Also, be aware that the sugar-free versions of the supplements can contain artificial sweeteners, which can trigger IBS attacks. In addition, citric acid is often added to orange-flavored supplements, and this can cause acid reflux in some people. If these are concerns for you, choose a sugar-sweetened or unsweetened, unflavored variety of supplement. Aside from the concerns about psyllium, there doesn't seem to be one type of soluble fiber supplement that is more or less likely to be well-tolerated by people in general. There is a great deal of individual variation here in how someone responds to any particular supplement. So if you have gas or bloating from starting a supplement that doesn't disappear after a week or so, don't be discouraged, just try a different brand and perhaps a different formulation (the pills instead of powder, or vice versa). It may take several different tries to find the supplement that works best for you, but the results can be well worth the effort. The USDA recommended minimum fiber intake for adults is 25 to 35 grams daily, and soluble fiber should account for one third of this amount. Some scientists actually recommend up to 60 grams of fiber a day, so the USDA recommendations are not maximum dosage limitations. The typical American eats only a meager 10-15 grams of fiber daily. For comparison, the average fiber intake in China is 33 grams of fiber a day, and it ranges as high as 77 grams per day in some regions.Dosages and fiber content for common soluble fiber supplements: Benefiber provides 3 grams of soluble fiber per tablespoon dose. One tablespoon of Metamucil smooth texture orange and original texture orange (these are not the sugar-free varieties) contains 2 grams of soluble fiber and 1 gram of insoluble fiber. Two Metamucil wafers provide 2 grams soluble fiber and 1 gram insoluble fiber. Two Fibercon tablets contain 1 gram soluble fiber.Two Equalactin tablets contain 1 gram soluble fiber.One tablespoon of Citrucel provides 2 grams of soluble fiber. Two Citrucel caplets provide 1 gram of soluble fiber.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THIS IS ALSO HELPFUL:How can the same IBS diet work for both diarrhea AND constipation?! The IBS diet is based on soluble fiber foods, and soluble fiber is magic. Why? Because unlike any other food category (fats, insoluble fiber, protein, etc.), it soothes and regulates the digestive tract, stabilizes the intestinal contractions resulting from the gastrocolic reflex triggered by eating, and normalizes bowel function from either extreme. That's right - soluble fiber prevents and relieves both diarrhea and constipation. Nothing else in the world will do this for you. How is this possible? The "soluble" in soluble fiber means that it dissolves in water (though it is not digested). This allows it to absorb excess liquid in the colon, preventing diarrhea by forming a thick gel and adding a great deal of bulk as it passes intact through the gut. This gel (as opposed to a watery liquid) also keeps the GI muscles stretched gently around a full colon, giving those muscles something to easily "grip" during peristaltic contractions, thus preventing the rapid transit time and explosive bowel movements of diarrhea as well. By the same token, the full gel-filled colon (as opposed to a colon tightly clenched around dry, hard, impacted stools) provides the same "grip" during the muscle waves of constipation sufferers, allowing for an easier and faster transit time, and the passage of the thick wet gel also effectively relieves constipation by softening and pushing through impacted fecal matter. If you can mentally picture your colon as a tube that is squeezing through matter via regular waves of contractions, it's easy to see how a colon filled with soluble fiber gel is beneficial for both sides of the IBS coin.As a glorious bonus here, normalizing the contractions of the colon (from too fast or too slow speeds) prevents the violent and irregular IBS spasms that result in the lower abdominal cramping pain that cripples so many IBS patients. This single action alone is the reason I don't eat anything on an empty stomach but soluble fiber. Ever. The only foods I want to trigger my gastrocolic reflex are soluble fiber, as that's the only way I can keep those contractions (and thus my life) normal. I routinely snack on small quantities of soluble fiber foods all day long, every single day. If I don't have a chance to eat or I'm not that hungry, I'll take some Fibercon tablets or a glass of Metamucil or Citracel (these are all soluble fiber supplements - NOT laxatives). My goal is continual stability, and a steady ingestion of soluble fiber insures this. In the short run this strategy allows me to prevent IBS problems from snack to snack and meal to meal, but in the end it adds up to long-term stability from day to day, week to week, and even month to month. I've never found a better method for completely preventing IBS symptoms than basing my diet on soluble fiber foods.You can keep your IBS stabilized each and every day by basing all meals and snacks on soluble fiber foods.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Hope this helps! I have had GI problems for the past ten months, and have tried EVERYTHING, and the implementation of the above information has worked the best for me.Good luck and be well!!julie
 

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Hey claddaghprincess I wanted to write and say hi and welcome to the board! I was 22 when i was "diagnosed" as well (i'm 24 now), so i know sort of what you may be going thru. Kmottus gave you excellent advice (and usually does). Without knowing more of your symptoms i can't really offer more advice. I will say however, the book that was mentioned to you (Eating for IBS), while being very good in terms of some information - the diet just didn't work for me. It made me feel the need to cut out a lot of foods that i probably didn't need to. It is still well written and full of information and may help you, i just thought i would throw in the warning. -Kac
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the info.. I have read a lot about IBS today and I also have read many posts...My diet is very bad, I am probably the pickiest eater that I know. I do not eat meat and I usually only eat carbs.. I,for some reason, do not like the taste most fruits or veggies. Starting a new diet will be the hardest part for me. Also, I have kept track of all the foods that I have eaten before I get sick. So far,at least for the past year, I have failed to see a pattern. It is almost anything I eat whenever it wants to upset my stomach. I think this is such a problem for me only cause I am not at the point where I feel comfortable enough to use public restrooms which limits me to when and where I can eat. My Dr. did however mention some medications but he really turned me off by mentioning Prozax? Have any of you been told this is a form of treatment? Thanks you again for all the info I will continue to look into this more and hopefully with some support I will be fine soon..
 

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Antidepressants are actually a very common treatment for IBS.It doesn't mean the doctor thinks that you are crazy or anything.Serotonin is used by the brain for mood regulation, but it is also used by the nerves that control/sense the gut. IBS is generally thought to be a problem with these nerves, and for many people one or another antidepressant relieves the symptoms of IBS. Even at doses that are not enough to alter mood, so usually people take them at the low end or less than the lowest dose used to treat mood disorders. In one study where people were able to try several antidepressants something like 90% of people were able to get relief.K.
 
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