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Hi everyone, I have been cured from severe IBS-D for several years now and am ashamed with myself for not posting my story earlier as I had lived off these forums for as long as I can remember. As for my story:

Up until mid-2008 I had severe IBS-D for my entire life. Anytime I was in an environment where I wasn't completely comfortable with the people around, I would be in constant anguish. To be more specific, it was the fear that I would not be able to make it to the bathroom or for there not to be a bathroom, or for people to know I had to go to the bathroom (all specific to making "#2"). In school this was especially horrifying. I would go to the bathroom 10-15+ times a day to just try to either "clear my system" or in panic that I had to go or for whatever other reason. I would literally have panic attacks in class as my thought process was, "I can't get away with going more than one time during a single class," or "what if they don't let me go" or anything else that freaked me out. Tests were even worse as you could imagine! This went along with terrible gas and bloating and constant diarrhea due to the constant anxiety. I believed my problem was completely physical and would not eat all day sometimes and live off of anti-gas and anti-diarrhea pills. My life was in almost constant anxiety and depression (except when I was in a comfortable environment like home or best friends house). I could go on for hours about what it was like but lets move on.......

After I finally broke down to my parents and went to a Gastroenterologist they diagnosed me with IBS (after some tests and what not). At this point I was given certain meds (I'm sorry but forgot given how long ago this was - maybe 2006) and added things like soluble fiber and other changes to my diet. After a certain hopeless amount of time, my doctor realized there was nothing else he could do and referred me to a psychologist. I met with her for about 6 months, and while it did not help me, it was nice to talk to someone about all the details of my problem. Once she realized she could not help me, she referred me to a psychiatrist (prescribes medication). After meeting with the doc several times, he started me on low levels of Xanax (maybe 0.25 mg) to be taken when needed as well as Zoloft. The Zoloft did nothing, while the Xanax help a little. Not very much though since my episodes were VERY frequent and the medicine just made me tired. He then switched me off of Zoloft and onto another AD (I'm sorry I forgot the name) and slowly upped my Xanax to 0.5 mg and then to 1 mg. Nothing truly "Worked" until what I believe was my saving grace: Paxil (Paroxetine) (40mg).

I started on Paxil at around June of 2008 (at the beginning of the summer). I am not sure when I officially realized it but by Sept 2008 (at the latest) I was fully cured. However this did not come without side effects. I became significantly manic and this happen to fall right when I got to college. I never went to class (I was an A student in high school) and partied ALOT. By the time January came (and I saw that I did horrible in school) my body had better adjusted for the medicine and I was not nearly as manic (still didn't do as well in school as I had - however my grades did improve as time went on). I stopped taking the medicine (cold turkey on my own - DONT DO THIS - thanks god I didn't have a bad reaction) about 14 months ago and the IBS never came back (Thank GOD!) Once I came off of the medicine my grades went back to how there were in highschool (3.8-4.0) however I realized how anxious i was in general (IBS happened to be were I was focusing most of that anxiety). You might ask me was it worth it (having the manic reaction, not doing as well in school as I could have), and I say, ABSOLUTELY!!! I actually have a life now and am not hiding from the world. I can only hope that everyone else on this site can find the answer I did. I'm not saying definitely go take ADs (anxiety might not be your problem and a natural or less intense cure would be much better!). What I am saying is that you must explore all options and that there IS HOPE!! Thats something I never had, ever.

Since coming off Paxil, I have had a lot of general anxiety come back (social and daily small things) that is just that CONSTANT thinking and analyzing of everything. About 8 months ago I decided to start meditation because I was just not that happy and always stressed. It was so bad that I had a constant twitch in my eye. So i did my research and decided to give meditation 10 minutes a day. THE BEST decision I ever made! All I did was sit down in a quiet room and "practiced" thinking about nothing. That is was mediation is, reconditioning your brain from that constant thinking! Within 1 month I began seeing what I could do during those 10 minutes. The only thing I can compare it to is a natural high (like I had a couple of drinks). Not until I realized about 3 months ago that I had to actually apply this "tool" to my everyday life did it actually start to REALLY amaze me (this explains what I am working towards - same thing as "nirvana" -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_death ). Meditation is a tool that I believe anyone suffering from anxiety (many people with IBS) can benefit from. It may take time and hard work (very hard to not think about anything, believe me) but once you build that tool and apply it to life, it can change everything. Just keep an open mind and stay persistent, it takes time!

In summary, my IBS cure: Paxil (Paroxetine 40mg)
My overall general anxiety cure: Meditation (however its going to be a long-term work in progress)

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!
 

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IBD?? or IBS?? Big difference.. so which one were you diagnosed with?
 

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Thanks Hon and so glad you are feeling better! And thanks for letting us know what has helped you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My psychiatriast suggested Paxil or Prozac.. I didn't imagine it would help with my IBS, I thought the side effects of diarrhea would just make everything worse.
Mochamloki, there are many potential side effects (always must weigh the risks and benefits) and for me finding a cure was one of the only things that mattered at the time. If you believe your IBS is driven by more mental factors (for me I realized it was mentally driven when I saw how situational it was) you may want to consider something along those lines. I would suggest doing ample research before though.
 

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I heard that Paxil has sexual side-effects such as making it difficult/impossible to get an erection/ejaculate. Also that you are not allowed to consume alcohol/you will have a serious IBS-D reaction after taking alcohol.

Did these affect you? Those don't sound like it makes Paxil worth it.
 

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A lot of people with IBS-D have bad reactions to alcohol when they take no medications of any kind.

Some medications do interact with alcohol but usually not only in someone with a specific illness but not anyone else.

Some antidepressants have sexual side effects in some people. Don't do it to everyone, and depends on the risk/benefit profile for a given person. I mean some people have IBS where they aren't having sex or sex is a big trigger for symptoms so may not find a different reason for a lack of sex life that big a deal.
 

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what i have heard is that you can start on the normal dose and, some time later, back off and get such a minimal dose that the side effects you don't want are minimal and the one you do want (fixing the D) is still present. My concern is with long term--memory loss, neuropathy, that sort of thing. I don't want to fix the d and end up with tremors., but that's jus tme.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I heard that Paxil has sexual side-effects such as making it difficult/impossible to get an erection/ejaculate. Also that you are not allowed to consume alcohol/you will have a serious IBS-D reaction after taking alcohol.

Did these affect you? Those don't sound like it makes Paxil worth it.
Great questions!

I did have sexual side effects. Pre-paxil, as I mentioned, I had pretty bad anxiety and therefore you can probably take an accurate guess to how long my sexual performances lasted. After I started taking paxil, that aspect completely went away. However it wasn't all good because many times I would lose an erection mid way through. I think maybe a lower dose might have been perfect in regards to this, but who really knows. I don't condone this by any means, but I actually found a perfect medium by becoming intoxicated with a certain substance. Nothing to serious but I won't share this as I don't want to set a bad example here (I do believe it is important to share all the details here).

As for drinking alcohol while taking it, I never knew that was something I wasn't suppose to do (maybe I did and didn't care at the time - as I mentioned i was somewhat manic) but I didn't get any noticeable negative reactions to it - I definitely do not condone going against the doctors orders though!

Look, only you can decide whether its worth trying these types of meds. You have to do a cost/benefit analysis here. For me, it was a no-brainer, I was willing to do everything and anything to fix this problem that was literally ruining my quality of life. Let me know if you have ANY other questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
what i have heard is that you can start on the normal dose and, some time later, back off and get such a minimal dose that the side effects you don't want are minimal and the one you do want (fixing the D) is still present. My concern is with long term--memory loss, neuropathy, that sort of thing. I don't want to fix the d and end up with tremors., but that's jus tme.
I definitely understand your concerns. You have to do a cost/benefit analysis here and make sure you've at least attempted, other safer alternatives (e.g. changing your diet, seeing a psychologist (no medicine), meditation (I highly recommend- let me know if you want to know more), etc). As for me, I literally attempted every possible cure I can find, not including meditation (maybe I did and just thought it was bogus), and at that point I was willing to do ANYTHING to beat it.
 

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Hello, I know each one is different but I can share my almost two years on lexapro (cipralex).

A quick word about me first: I have diarrhea all my life. Recently I figured out that I have a gluten intolerance (*). Although I am not celiac, gluten gives me bad symptoms, even the slightest amount from cross pollution.

Now with lexapro: the diarrhea was constant, almost double than without it. Apathy also, a delay in ejaculation and reduced sexual appetite. The good thing was that I was relaxed, but this came out at a price: weight gain. I gained half kilogram each month. At the end of the two years I gained more than 10 kgr, a thing that by itself (the weight gain) is depressant. Apart from relaxation another SSRI advantage was the much reduced hyperhidrosis, this however is now in control with the elimination of gluten from my diet.

However not everything is bad, after a slow wean of lexapro, I was definitely more relaxed than before getting on it. I would say it has helped me, but I don't want to be on it again.

(*) of course I suspected about gluten intolerance for years but although I didn't consume bread products I was getting gluten from other sources like sliced turkey, tea with flavor, and therefore I couldn't be sure that my gastroenterological problems were due to gluten
 
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