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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading forums here and there on the net for years, along with personal stories of fellow IBS-D sufferers. I have friends and family that are aware of my 'problems' along with a loving partner I met 8 years ago and has stayed with me throughout. Although sometimes (actually make that most of time) you feel like you are alone with it, it's reassuring that people close to me have always been there for me. Whether that was my Mum buying special teas for me (thinking that would help stop the times my bowels felt they were literally disintegrating from beneath me!!) or when my girlfriend would try searching the internet when I had new symptoms, trying to find a clue on how I can feel better.. It's nice that although I was embarrassed that others knew of this 'problem' I had, the support was always there. When I took days off work because it just became so bad, my mum would make me feel better with soup and toast.

I slowly began to get the symptoms of IBS-D when I was around 15 years old. I remember, as before that my bowels were 100% normal, probably close to sometimes being a little overly constipated at times. I never had a bad stomach, even when I was really ill with the flu and not even that bad when I had food poisoning once when I was 10. I still blame it on the acne medication I took during my teenage years, I mean surely taking an anti-biotic at such a young age for a year or 2 continuously is going to have some side effect afterwards? If I had a 2nd chance at that choice, I would surely have never had the medication. In fact anyone at that age I warn against it, as at least acne is a modern day side effect of a poor choice in diet. As my mother always said your stomach was linked to your face and if you eat too much chocolate it causes spots. Well I ate a sh*t load of chocolate when I was a kid so was bound to get two of the most embarrassing conditions as a young teen, fatness and spots. :)

It started out as little stomach pains and then slowly started getting worst and being triggered after certain meals or foods. I remember at times the pain was like someone had stabbed me right in the intestines and wriggled it around for kicks. I remember at times I could hold the urge to defecate in, but it wouldn't be a good idea as I would feel like absolute ###### for hours and keep getting the re-occurring pains til I went to the toilet. Then I started having problems simply wiping myself clean, the feeling of incompleteness was always there and I would scrub red raw my anus just to feel clean and 'finished'.

It has really impacted my life at every point and I wish the world woke up to this 'functional disorder' as it really doesn't make you function at all very well. Having my life over the past decade dictated to by my bowels has angered me. I know there is no cure in sight to us sufferers due to a lack of intensive research into how it can be prevented in occurring. Why it occurs in some but not all people should be a hotly debated and researched area. I know the majority of medicinal treatments out there are pretty useless and rely on you using them for long periods of time to get any effect. I think that is absolute rubbish, if something truly works, it should work pretty quickly. If we were presented painkillers that took a month or so to have any effect, who would bloody buy them!!?

Anyway, back on track and I am here today, 12 years since being diagnosed. After having this problem for so long, I no longer get the severe intestinal cramps I was used to in the early days. But that's from changing my diet to not have trigger foods. That helped me for a bit get some relief but the past 12 months has had my problem take on new shapes and forms. My stools are never solid, they are always unhealthy and take ages to pass fully and it feels seriously like acid is exiting my body! It doesn't matter what I eat or what I don't eat, there are always bad. It has got much worse in the past few months as I recently decided to take a year off to travel the world. I have been in Asia for the past 5 months and thinking that would make my condition better from the diet, etc.. Well I was severely mistaken! Things have got worse and worse until I had enough. I decided I needed to try a few things as my last ditch attempt before travelling any further and not being able to enjoy backpacking around half the world.

I read on this forum about the potential that Calcium Carbonate had for IBS-D sufferers, well I took them for a few weeks at the recommended dosages and under the conditions laid out by the lady on this forum. They made things even worse! I would really not recommend them for any IBS-D sufferer. You will have easier to pass stools for a while, but you will have more urgency and they will mostly be liquid. AVOID!!

Then I read about a little something called Psyllium Husks. I had heard and read about them for years, even going as far as buying a bottle a few years back and not using them. Like most IBS-D sufferers, the idea of trying new things is daunting, I can understand. When you have a 'system' and a consistent day to day lifestyle. You don't want to upset the 'balance' of things. That is why even when introducing pro-biotics into my diet years ago, I did so very slowly and carefully. I had a job and career that I wanted to maintain! Shitting my pants in a meeting I couldn't get out of because of something new I wanted to try to help my 'problem' wasn't what I wanted to do.

But anyway, after reading more about Psyllium I decided I would try it, I thought the worst case scenario is that they would make me constipated.. and after IBS-D for all these years it didn't sound like too half bad idea! :) As I am currently living in China, getting hold of anything remotely western in medicine is extremely hard. However luckily there is a international food store with health products in town and sure enough they had some of the tablet form of Psyllium Husks by GNC. I started taking 2 tablets with every meal - 3 times daily (in hindsight I should have taken smaller doses to start and work my way up to more, as the stuff is pure fiber!!). After 24 hours I started feeling different, I went to the toilet and 'completed' without any feeling of needing to go more. I got up and walked out of the toilet slightly startled at what had just happened, even saying to my girlfriend, "that's weird, my poo wasn't entirely horrible and I feel kind of empty!?". She was like "That's good I guess??" - Talking about one's poop to your other half isn't exactly the romantic conversation you want to have.. But romance kind of flys out the window when you have IBS-D, especially when half way through sex you realise that you really can't 'maintain' as there is another urge that needs sorting first :)

So it's been around a week since I started taking Psyllium Husks, and I can honestly say of everything I have taken over the years (Pro-biotics, acidophilus, carbon, calcium, other fiber products, immodium and upping fruit intake / fiber / meat, etc...) this is my far the best thing I have taken to relieve me of my symptoms.

To explain what it does.. Basically I take 2 tablets with each meal, usually half and hour before so the tablet is digesting a bit before taking food down and make sure I drink a full glass of water as the stuff forms a gel that takes in about 8x it's volume in water. The Psyllium 'binds' to water and your food, helping the transit a pleasant one, through your bowels. When it gets to the other end, you will poop fully formed stools (not 100% but near enough!!). The only negative I have found so far with them is the gas / flatulence lol it's pretty bad and smells, however I hear that soon that will stop / slow down as my body gets more used to the additional fiber in my diet. Also the other thing is I get a sudden urge to go to the toilet about an hour after lunch, the feeling is like a light version of the cramps you get with IBS, so you think 'uh oh, here something bad is coming' but it comes out fully formed and cleanly. It's so weird, but I can't believe how within 7 days the stuff is working like a treat! I was so scared that in a few weeks when I start travelling again I will be in a bad situation. But now I feel confident that I can eat properly and as long as I continue with these, I won't have anywhere near as many issues as before.

I could go into further details of the other stuff these tablets do, but in essence it helps cleanse your colons, removes toxins that have built up, lowers cholesterol and helps control sugar levels. When I am back in the west, I want to try out the powdered form of this stuff, as I assume it will have a better effect than even the capsule version.

I know this was a long post, and I hope that to someone out there it offers some reassurance and maybe if you have had similar experiences as me and feel like there is no end in sight or help at hand, these might help a little for you and make you feel better.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Otherwise good luck to everyone out there and know there's always someone else that shares your same problems. If you find something that helps you, put it on this forum as it could help someone else and change their life. It's early days with Psyllium, but I smile thinking these might just be the salvation I needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not really. As I know I have only been on the Psyllium for almost 2 weeks. I know that many of the annoying things will start to go away soon, such as bloating, gas and urge to go so often. Already I am starting to see that feeling go away and I am becoming more regular. I have been reading in this and other forums about the benefits of taking pro-biotic supplements combined with the Psyllium. As that will help with inflammation, gas and bloating. Problem is I am in China and products like VSL probiotic supplements aren't available anywhere. I am going to try finding something similiar or taking plain old acidophilius when I am taking the psyllium.

I'll keep this updated with my progress. But these do really help, it takes a while to get to a nice medium but I have high hopes still.
 

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This post is so great for its honesty. I think a great support network is so important. I too have a great partner who accepts me even though I have such an embarrassing syndrome! What's even harder though is not eating his family's food because of the culture gap (it seems like I'm being rude and they don't understand that my stomach is so ridiculous...and that I'd love to eat but I might explode!).

I will try the husks. Metamucil is the Australian version of dried powder that you add to water. I took it a week ago but it just made me so gassy. I felt like a balloon! Might try it again though - you can see it start to form into a gel even when you mix it with water. Got to be careful that you have enough water with it though as it can cause choking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey IBSQuestions - thanks for the reply and great to hear someone in a similiar position to me! My partners family also eat a different cuisine to what I am used to. Going over there for dinner was always traumatic as mostly everything had chillies, cabbage and fried food! Some of my worst offenders.

Maybe try the capsules first that are pure Psyliium Seed Husks, any brand will do but make sure it has nothing else in it (additives / artificial colouring / bulking ingrediants). You just need the Psyllium. It also means there isn't such a choking hazard, but you still need to make sure you drink plenty of liquids. I had similiar effects for the first 2 weeks, with the gas and bloating slowly fading. I'll be honest, the first 1-2 weeks aren't the best however you see the effects instantly coming through in other ways that will become evident soon after starting with it!

:: UPDATE AT 2.5 WEEKS INTO PSYLLIUM SEED HUSKS ::

Ok, so it's been 2 & 1/2 weeks since I started taking Psyllium Seed Husk Capsules. I thought I would provide an update on my progress with them and directions I have been following and tailoring to get the best effects.

My daily regime:

I take 6 capsules a day (500mg variety) so that equates to 3g of psyllium seed husk per day. Taken between 30 minutes and 1 hour before a major meal (so breakfast, lunch & dinner). I worked out that taking them at meal times wasn't nearly as effective as taking them a minimum of 30 minutes before my meals. Make sure to drink a standard measure glass of water with them, maybe even 1.5 glasses to ensure best efficacy.

I had a play around with the capsules in water to see how long the capsules disolve in PH neutral setting and how much water was needed to give the psyllium a gel like appearance and texture. In PH neutral it took roughly 45 minutes to and hour before the capsules disolved. From information and directions on various internet sources I found that this all stands up. So the stomachs acid makes it disolve faster, but you want time for this to go through before eating as it's essentially a pre-biotic. That stacks up as to get better results with this regime, you can combine with a pro-biotic like acidophilius taken with a meal as well.

I don't recommend starting off on these high dosages as your essentially adding A LOT of fiber to your diet in a very short space of time and being an IBS sufferer, you know how well our stomachs LOVE change! :) . However - I have the luxury at the moment of not worrying about side effects and can stay inside if need be and as the side effects (bloating, gas and potentially some light stomach cramps) aren't much worse than what your experiences are now anyhoo! Maybe start with 2 capsules at dinner time and then after a week add to lunch then after another week add to breakfast. Also this means any adverse reactions will come when your at home in the evening or the following morning before work. Makes sense right?

So 2.5 weeks in and I am already a different person. Of course I am still an IBS-D sufferer and have to avoid trigger foods. There is not much difference in that at all. So don't think this stuff is miracle in a bottle. However so far what it has meant is..

  1. Slightly slower transit times for my bowels
  2. Better formed / soft stools without any pains, incompleteness feelings. I actually finish without straining or sitting there for like half and hour!
  3. More regularity, meaning I can better 'schedule' my trips to the toilet so 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. Without feelings of needing to go in the daytime.
  4. Ability to 'tolerate' a wider selection of food. Please note the word 'tolerate', I don't get such an adverse reaction to certain trigger foods. I'm not cured :)
  5. When I eat something bad, I don't get any stomach cramps and instead have a bad stomach for less than 12 hours then back to normal. Take for example yesterday, I had a burger for lunch which had a questionable relish & toppings. It was a pretty awesome burger and no problems after eating, then in the evening had a really bad stomach (not as bad as it used to be though). Then this morning I am back to normal, regularity. Oh my god, this must be what it's like to be a regular person!
  6. My appetite is back! I haven't been this eager to eat for years, I don't feel like snacking as much though. I feel better able to eat a full meal now.

I will continue updating this entry until the 4-5 week point, which is when the Psyllium Seed Husk capsules will be at their peak effectiveness. Definately the side effects are nearly gone now compared to week 1 and I am now attempting to add acidophilus into my diet as the pro-biotic. My regime for that is starting off on 1 capsule with dinner, then increasing to 2 capsules at dinner in 7 days time and then in 14 days will get it up to 4 capsules a day 2 with lunch and 2 with dinner to see how that helps work with the Psyllium Seed Husks. Feel free to ask me anything below, I'll attempt to reply as soon as possible!
 

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Great something worked for you.!!!.....I was astonished that u got to know and try Psyllium husk so late because it was such household thing in our family even when i as kid. The internet is really bridging this gap of knowledge across world.

I also strongly believe that the antibiotic I took during 15-18 yr of age caused my IBS..but doctor do not agree.....

Pl continue with psyllium its but wanted to inform other similar things.

As read your state I will suggest two more stool former/softner.

1)Polyethylene glycol ; Brand name in US- MiraLAX (Polyethylene Glycol 3350 - OTC) ,according to docs its better then psyllium as it does not absorb body water and less gas.

2) Lactulose

One thought .....we are in a merciless natural environment....where survival is key....world does not care who died yesterday.....enjoy what is there and keep the search on till last moment of life maybe something is there at the corner... like a pile of psyllium husk :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Shank123 - thanks for contributing these recommendations! Great to hear from someone who also blames anti-biotics on the root cause. I am really worried at the moment, as my girlfriend suffered from Adult Acne and got put on Acne meds a year or two ago. Soon she will stop taking them so fingers crossed nothing happens to her, as she has a stomach of steel - I've never met anyone who can eat that way and not find punishment!

I always had heard of Psyllium, but never really thought much of trying them out. I don't know if other IBS sufferers are like me and hate to try something new that might make things worse! First treatment I ever got prescribed were peppermint oil tablets and gave up on them within a few days due to shitting out what felt like a tub of mints. :p

Love the quote, keep up the fight!
 
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