I have suffered from abdominal pain/discomfort, constipation and bloating for many years. I go through days of being unable to have a bowel movement and when I do go I never feel satisfied. I have been able to "manage" this myself over the last couple of years with diet (no more white anything!) drinking lots of water and a routine that involves eating my breakfast and morning coffee at the computer, which has helped to make me more regular. I generally can now go every morning, but I still have very bad abdominal pain/cramping and never feel satisfied by the bowel movements I have. They are often soft and diarrhea like (although they can also be hard, little pellets, or look normally formed but be impossible to get out). I also still go through bouts where the constipation returns despite my effots, and if I don't do my regular morning routine, then I am definitely screwed. Throughout the mid part of the day I feel pretty normal (for me - which means still slightly bloated and abdominal discomfort), but then in the evenings I often get very bloated and have bad problems with flatulence. What it comes down to with me is that I pretty much always fell like I have to go but can't...it sometimes feels like the muscles controling bowel movements just don't work properly. I've never had a real "diagnosis" - just a couple of different doctors saying "It's probably IBS." I've been going through a very bad spell with a lot of pain/bloating this week so went to see another doctor who basically did no examination at all and gave me trial samples of both Zelnorm & Dicetel. I've never had any tests done (except for a blood test for thyroid problems by one doctor) and told him this, so he also gave me a referrel for an abdominal ultrasound, which I still have to schedule. The doctor was quite a quack and I was very dissapointed after taking the morning off work and waiting for an hour to see him. This was a walk in clinic as I don't have a family doctor, but I've also made an appointment for a consultation with a family doctor in a couple of weeks. I don't know if she will be good, and apparently this consultation is not a real appointment, just a get to know her session. After this she will schedule a physical and then officially be your doctor. I'm just so frustrated by all of this and really want to do something. I am sitting here with two different prescription drugs in front of me but no real tests or diagnosis for my problem.....Is it safe for me to just try them and see what happens as this doctor suggested? I am concerned about side effects...I don't know much about Dicetel but have read up a lot on Zelnorm (ever since I saw those belly TV ads and thought - that's me!). I'm concerned that a lot of the side effects of these drugs are the exact problems I am trying to get away from! Since my stool is often soft, I have a feeling it will cause diarrhea and flatulence, which I am not to eagerly looking forward to. I also do not want to become dependent on medication.....without knowing exactly what my problem is and what's causing it. What do you guys think? Should I try them or wait until I can get into see a good doctor who will hopefully be more thorough and run some tests? It's just so difficult to find that it might take a while! I'm sure this bad spell I'm going through will pass as all the others do.....I really just wanted to see someone this morning who would understand and offer some real insight on the problem, instead of just getting me out with a quick fix. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!