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I am a 50 year old woman but my IBS-D symptoms showed up around the age of 48.

Here are the symptoms I exhibited: Runny stools, several times a day - more prominent after eating a meal. Rumbling gas and discomfort in my abdomen. Bowl movements early in the morning and occasionally during the night when awakened from sleep. Explosive diarrhea. No weight loss. Fear that I would not make it to the bathroom in time. Fear that passing gas would result in soiled clothing. Embarrassment using public toilets and even embarrassment in front of my husband. Fear that I would have to leave my classroom to rush to the toilet - I'm a teacher. Occasional small amount of bright blood when wiping.

Here's what I tried: Eliminating gluten from my diet - did not help. Eliminating all artificial sweeteners from my diet - did not help. Began adding Activia (yogurt) to my diet - a good thing to do, but did not help.

Finally, when as I was getting closer to becoming 50 and did not have a doctor, I made an appointment. However, a few weeks before my doctor visit, I decided to do the one thing I had put off doing - stop drinking coffee.

I had a headache for three days but pretty soon my bowels returned to normal. It took a few days. It was the coffee! I realized that I drank 3-5 cups of regular coffee a day. It had totally messed up my digestion. Fortunately, I can drink decaf without any problem and it feels good not to be addicted to caffeine. However, a week or two ago, I tested myself to see if I could go back to regular coffee. I had a cup on Monday, one on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday. All the old symptoms came back and it took a few days to return to normal. For me, coffee is not worth it.

I hope this helps someone. I shared my findings with my doctor and she was thrilled that I had been proactive with my health. It feels good to have normal stools and no fear of public life. As for the small, occasional amount of blood when wiping, it was a result of trauma from the explosive diarrhea.
 
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