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Hey all,I know I have previously asked how long people have IBS for. However, this time I am asking how do I know if I have post-infectious IBS? Reviewing my medical history:Feb 2009 Diagnosed with HayfeverJune 2009 Bad case of pilesJuly 2009 Diarrhoea lasting 1 week, first suspected IBS, taken to hospital when really constipated.July-Jan 09-10, Followed a strict wheat, lactose and gluten free diet.Feb 10, flare up of IBS-D, lasting 1 week, and every typical symptom of IBS.April 10, seen consultant, thinks IBS, various blood tests of which I am still waiting for results. Following a strict elimination diet set out by a nutritionalist.Around the time of the intial Flare-up in Feb 2009, I had been binge drinking and eating the night before.Over the summer when it was really bad, I was under alot of stress to find a house.Feb this year was due to a binge drink and eating night (around my birthday).When I'm stressed I have IBS-D. Usually IBS-C but now alternating. In Dec 2009 I had unprotected sex and took the morning after pill - could any of this be related to an STD? The nutritionalist thinks I may have a yeast infection. Also around that time I took antibiotics for a chest infection, I found these upset my stomach so after 10days I stopped taking them - could this also be related?Basically, I am trying to work out the cause of my IBS, the initial trigger which started all this off and then to estimate how long I may have it for.Anybody have any ideas? I'm getting really depressed over this!Soph.
 

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Well unless you happened to go to the doctor during the GI infection and got a stool sample you probably will never know for sure that any specific infection triggered your IBS.What triggered it really doesn't change how you treat it.When the study people who have proof of a GI infection the rate of IBS in them is much higher than in people who were lucky enough to avoid a GI infection in the time period used for the study. Although if diarrhea lasting a week came shortly before the IBS started up that is fairly strong circumstantial evidence. Especially if was more than just a few loose stools kind of diarrhea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kathleen,would you suggest that mine was a combonation of a bad course of anti-biotics, bad lifestyle (went to university so binge drinking and eating), stress and yeast infection?If so would recovery/remission be estimated between 2-5years or is this something I will have to contend with for longer than that?I'm only trying to discover the intial trigger so that I can avoid have the same problem years down the line.I am hoping to recover - but I do feel like it's one thing after another i.e. I take one step forward and two steps back.I know it will be a long process, but I just want to know whether this is a temporary thing or whether it is something I'm always going to have.Soph.
 

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I know it will be a long process, but I just want to know whether this is a temporary thing or whether it is something I'm always going to have.
I don't know Soph but it is near impossible for anyone to predict exactly how long they will have IBS before or IF a remission is seen. Many of us never learn our initial triggers. Most of us don't. No way TO know for most of us.So the only thing one could say maybe is try to eat right, (ie: don't binge drink etc.. ) do the healthier things if one can. But even then.. there are no guarantees. There just is not enough known about what causes IBS for any of us to say with any certainty what will prevent it or bring about a remission or how long one could have symptoms. In my experience trial and error in attempting to find symtpom management usually involves many instances of one step forward and two steps back. Just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
BQ,that is exactly what I struggle with the most - is my IBS going to last forever. I think if I had a definate answer I could accept it and move on. Because I can't I keep thinking the worst case scenario and I won't do things I want to do because I think "oh god, what if I have a flare-up or diarrhoea". For me my life is now IBS, it's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about at night. I'm seeing a specialist and I'm dreading that she'll turn round and go "we've done all the tests we can do, now it's up to you to manage it."Basically, all I can see in my future is IBS and nothing else... no wander I'm depressed. I'm seeing a counsellor but really if I think that I'm going to have IBS for the rest of my life I may as well just give up now.Soph.
 

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The "what if it lasts forever, I'll never have a life" is the type of catastrophic thinking that tends to make dealing with any problem (health or otherwise) much more difficult to live with.It also tends to keep the depression going which also makes things more difficult.Of course stopping that thought pattern is generally easier said than done, but may be worth talking over with the counselor to see what you can do with it.At least IBS is something that can go away and is something most people figure out how to manage. So many people have diseases where nothing can be done and there is no hope at all.So try to focus on there is hope, it isn't going to kill you. You aren' slowly becoming locked into a paralyzed body or anything that actually will make it impossible to do anything, and if you work at it you are most likely going to find something that will help you manage it. I know that is also easier said than done. Please keep working on treating the depression because that is usually much more what keeps people from living life fully than the IBS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Kathleen,thanks. I know I am an all or nothing person so I get disheartened when things don't work straight away. My problem is I have such uncertainty and feel that I have little control over it. With me I know I blow things way out of proportion. I know it's the mental barrier that I need to get over not the physical. Physically I rarely have diarrhoea but I'm in such a high anxious/stressed state that I either induce it or focus on an issue which really is not that prodominate in my life.I will continue with the counselling - I need to accept the fact that I have IBS (still suspected as I'm undergoing tests with a specialist over the next couple of months). I hope once I have a confirmed diagnosis, control the anxiety/stress, review the intial trigger and triggers for IBS-D flaring up and hopefully work with the specialist to find methods to defeat this, that I can then begin to accept it and move on.Easier said than done but I want to beat this - I know it will take time, I just don't want to be stuck in the same situation for years to come.At least this forum gives lots of support!Soph.
 

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Soph you must understand that you may never know what the initial trigger was. I would work on controlling your thoughts away from the negative and more towards the positive. You may indeed have it "forever" but??? Loads of people have chronic illnesses and live very full and productive lives. And I find what helps me keep perspective on IBS is remembering there are WAAAY worse things to have.I find what helps me avoid that catastrophic thinking that Kathleen was talkign about is actually confronting in my mind "my worst fear". And then answering these questions: What is it? (my worst fear) How would I handle it? Once I answer those..... the fear no longer exists. And I can move forward.Have you read this article Soph?"Healthy Thinking for IBS" (Personally I think one could apply this article to many chronic illnesses.)http://www.ibsgroup.org/node/515
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
BQ,I am trying to book an appointment to have some cognative behavioural therapy so I hope that will help. Thinking about my worst case scenario would be: that I had IBS for life and I didn't know the triggers and I had alernating D/C. The reason why I'm obsessing over the inital trigger is so I can work out how long I'm going to have IBS for - I think I'm really pushing things out of perspective. I'm just going to have to accept my current condition and not dwell on the future. Again it's the uncertainty. I know there are worse conditions out there, one of my friend has diabetes, the other has epilepsy - I've asked how they cope and they say there is nothing really they can do about it, they manage the best they can. I think it's just going to take time for me to come to that stage. I have just read the article and realised that I fit into 4 of the 5 categories: fortune telling, all or nothing thinking, awfulizing and shoulds. It was very enlightening and I will discuss this with my counselor.I'm a control freak, hate uncertainty and am very impatient all of which are being tested by my IBS. Do people ever fully recover, I know it's a chronic condition but does this mean life-long or just a few years? Thanks for your advice.Soph.
 

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I'd say somewhere in 50/50 to it goes into remission by the 5 year mark vs lasts longer than that. I know that is so helpful.There is no way to predict who is in which group and knowing the start date will not help you predict.If you need a hard date I think they usually do from "when symptoms started" as that is usually fairly close to whatever infection might have triggered it.The thing is some people find something that substantially controls the IBS at any time, your symptoms and controlability at the 5 year to the day mark does not even really predict the future. I know you want to predict but it really is more a go along for the ride kind of thing.Usually for the studies on PI-IBS they look one year after the GI infection as that allows for the 6 months or so where it doesn't "fully blossom" into IBS. Anyone can have a few weeks of a dodgy colon after food poisoning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Kathleen,from that information I think I can safely say I don't has PI-IBS. Mine really started around May/June last year and I cannot see me improving since then. If I am looking at a 5 year stretch I think I can cope with that. It's if I think about it lasting for the rest of my life that I become depressed, but this happened literally overnight - I was nervous before an interview and spent the rest of the week in the loo - so I think I presume that it can just as easily go away overnight.The main thing for me is to be patient. I have an ultra-sound test in under 4 weeks and am on a waiting list for a colonoscopy.I think I will focus on getting through to the summer - end of June.I'm at uni and have alot of stress - exams, finding a house next year, financial worries, assessments/deadlines. I'm going to stress management classes. But I really need to focus on getting through till the summer. Once the stress has all gone I can really think about things.Thanks for your help - I'll keep you both up to date on the progress of my test results. Now going to have a nice hot bath and try not to worry about a presentation I have to do tomorrow! Soph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey,just thought I'd keep you all up to speed with my situation.I've been put on mild anti-depressants by my doctor to deal with anxiety (amitriptyline). I also spoke to him about my intial cause and like you guys said you may never know. He believes mine was more than likely a combination of factors built up over time. He also said that I would recover. In his experience of 30years he's never met someone who has had IBS their whole life! It's just going to take a few years to get over. I want to know your opinion as my other friend has IBS and her doctor told her that she'd never recover: her symptoms would wax and wane over time.I have 2 very different conflicting views and I'm in limbo about what to believe. Will I have this for the rest of my life, where I go through periods of good and bad spells or will I recover in a few years?Soph.
 

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Do you want to listen to your doctor and be reassured, or do you want to spend a lot of time being anxious and stressed knowing that makes your IBS worse and makes it much less likely you will recover quickly?No one can give you a guarantee that on June 16th, 2012 your IBS will be gone forever.Usually either it fades on its own or people find something that helps control it. However raging anxiety and control issues that need a firm end date written in stone aren't doing you any good. Keep getting treatment to help with that, and work hard at letting things be rather than demanding completely consistent and exact answers. No one can give you that, and you'll just hurt yourself insisting they must exist when they don't.I know that just going with the flow and seeing what happens and working in each moment to be present (rather than living in the past or projecting into the future) isn't easy but if you want to get better faster you really do need to learn how to do that. Not just for healing the IBS but also for dealing with all the other things you cannot control and cannot predict. It is like saying you can't move forward until I prove 100% that at your house you will get 12.75 inches of snow between 3 am and dawn Christmas Eve 2015.Somethings cannot be predicted. Sometimes you just have to choose whatever bit of information eases your mind and just get on the ride and see where it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Kathleen,I've taken what you've said on board. I had my first cognitive hypnotherapy today. The therapist believes that my IBS is just due to stress. We're now working on ways in which my body can handle stress differently aka not coming out with an IBS flare up and addressing my anxiety. If my IBS doesn't change or I can't find alternative ways for my body to respond to stress she said I may just have to accept that this is how my body responds to stress. Either way the future is looking brighter. I've now had a doctor and therapist tell me that I will recover and that the vast majority of my symptoms if not all of them are due to stress.So basically I need to change how I respond to stress and hopefully eradicate my IBS symptoms. Everyone is individual and different - so stress may not be the cause or trigger for some. I believe that my IBS was caused by numerous factors and is now only continuing to be a problem due to my high stress and anxiety levels. Once I address these my IBS should go away just as quickly as it came.Overall it's given me more motivation and a positive outlook.Soph.
 
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