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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a 42 year old mother of three, who works full time as an engineer. I have just been told I have IBS, but am not comfortable with that diagnosis. Please let me tell you my history.In my twenties, I started suffering from bowel incontinence, but only in libraries, book stores, and grocery stores. This sometimes lasted for several weeks, but then may not reoccur for a few years. My doctor said these were anxiety attacks, and I did notice they occurred during times of stress. I started using these as �warning signals�, and knew when they occurred that I either had to deal with something, or take time to slow down. As a result of a family history of colon cancer, I started using Metamucil once a day.I had been treated for mild depression twice during this time. The first time was a result of graduating from college, getting married, moving 600 miles away, and starting a new job. The second time was after my father died.A year ago, I was hospitalized with abdominal pain. Quite suddenly, I started burping frequently. I would burp 2-10 times a minute for 15 � 60 minutes, five to ten times a day. Some of these burps were so deep that they were extremely painful, and accompanied by vomiting. A Gastroenterologist was called in to do a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy (upper & lower scope). The conclusions were that I had an underactive stomach and an overactive colon. Also, my stomach and duodenum were inflamed. My gallbladder, however, is fine. I was sent home with Levsinex (2/day), Reglan (10 mg, 4/day), and Pepcid (20 mg, 2/day). My diet was severely restricted for awhile, and I didn�t eat normally for about 3 months. I hated the Reglan because it made me so tired; with three very active children and a full time job, I don�t have time to be tired! I weaned myself from the Levsinex and Reglan over a three month period, but continued taking the Pepcid. I still burped several times a day, but it was fairly painless.I was told that stress was a factor in my illness, and so I started in counseling in April, 1998. I started taking an antidepressant, Paxil in August (20 mg, 1/day). I also took a couple excellent courses at work, one focused on how to get more of what you want from life; the other taught how to be a personal coach, which is very helpful both at home and at work. This past December, I wanted to find the cause of the burping. I restricted my diet to bananas, rice, apples, toast with butter, fruit yogurt, eggs, and milk. (I continued on the Paxil and Pepcid.) Within three days I felt FANTASTIC � no burping, and more energy than I�d had in well over a year. This is a difficult diet to maintain through the holidays, and as I ate holiday foods, the burping returned. A few weeks into the New Year, I saw my family doctor. I told him I wanted to find the cause of my intestinal distress. We agreed that I would start again on the diet that worked in December, and then add one new food every three days, keeping meticulous records. He also prescribed Propulsid (10 mg, 4/day), �just in case�. After a week of the diet, I was still burping. I decided to start the Propulsid, and see if it would help. At the same time, I also started eating more �normally�. After three days, the burping was worse: more frequent and deeper. I called my family doctor, who referred me to the Gastroenterologist I had seen in the hospital the year before. My appointment was for a week later. In my desperation, I went for a massage. As the therapist worked on my belly, she was amazed. She would clear my intestines of gas, and the gas would instantly reappear. She said there was a never-ending supply, and she couldn�t imagine where it was coming from.I continued to feel worse and burp more. I was able to make an appointment with a Resident (my family physician was on vacation). She did blood work and took a stomach x-ray. My blood was very normal, but the x-ray showed lots of gas all through my digestive tract. She suspected an obstruction, and admitted me to the hospital. My burping was as frequent and as deep as it was the year before, including the vomiting.At the hospital, I did a barium swallow with upper GI. There was no blockage, and the radiologist was surprised that the barium moved as quickly as it did, considering all the gas I have. The Gastroenterologist again asked me about stress. I truly feel that it is significantly lower than it was a year ago, due to the counseling and antidepressant. I was released from the hospital. The doctors (Family and Gastroenterologist) said I have IBS. They changed my Propulsid dosage ( to 20 mg, 4/day), recommended I use the Metamucil four times a day, and told me to �learn to live with it.� I am keeping the appointment with the Gastroenterologist, which is Tuesday, Feb 9. I want to know the underlying cause of my problems; I don�t want to just treat the symptoms. I also don�t want to be diagnosed with IBS just because he doesn�t want to spend the time to figure out what else it may be. My questions include: What is generating this endless supply of gas? Why do I expel 98% of it through the mouth, and only 2% rectally?  If I do swallow a lot of air, why has this only been a problem for the past year? (I am a slow eater and talker)  Why have I continued to burp over the past year?I�d appreciate hearing your reactions to my history, and answers to the following questions: Does the diagnosis of IBS seem reasonable? I do suffer from occasional D (once a month, except during these annual �spells). C is not a problem, because I use Metamucil. Also no problem with reflux. In fact, I feel better when I lay down; I sleep well. But nothing I�ve read about IBS mentions the extreme burping I have.  Are there other questions I should ask the doctor? Are there other tests that may be helpful?Thank you for taking the time to read this long dissertation, and to help me, because I�m not sure what to do next. I've found this forum to be a wealth of information, and am so grateful that it exists!
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
MaryT:
You sound like such a delightfull person!--- I am sorry that you are made so uncomfortable with the burping. There is a very simple solution to the burping--- take very light peppermint tea with any meal, please steep it in a tea pot first and then pour into cup. You will still burp in the beginning but it will diminish. (you can get peppermint tea in any health food store) I had such a burping period about 30 years ago and a naturopath recommended the tea. The other issues are beyond my experience. The best to you, belle
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If the X-ray showed you had excess gas, then it is probably true. However, I am a bit confused about the massage therapist who cleared your intestine of gas. How did she determine you had gas to begin with, and how did she know she cleared it (where did it go? did you burp?), and how did she know it reappeared?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The massage therapist kept moving the gas upwards, and I kept burping. I should have said she tried to clear the gas, but even though I kept burping, I still remained full of gas. We knew I had alot of gas because I was distended, the gas kept rumbling, I was burping alot, and nothing got any better.[This message has been edited by MaryT (edited 02-06-99).]
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am also having this problem not as bad as yours but I have it everyday, sometimes I cant get a burp to come out and this is painful, I ask my dr about creon(a tip from Flux) and he looked at me and said NO in a angry way. I am in the process of finding another dr due to the fact this one will never give me a referral to a specialist and I cant afford to go on my own, but hopefully I can find someone that will listen. I know how u feel with all the gas and burping and I too want to get to the cause of it.------------------Peter
 

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I think it is clear that you are somehow ingesting air. I don't know how, nor do I know why you are belching it back up, however.The peppermint tea could make your belching problem WORSE since it relaxes the upper esophageal sphincter allowing air to more easily exit the stomach into the esophagus.Peter, when you look for another doctor, watch out for any who like the one you were seeing now...
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have had the belching problem you mention from time to time, but all I can give you is sympothy! It is really amazing where it seems to come from--clear down around the bellybutton somewhere, right? My husband has actually jumped at times when it happens (it is so loud) because I really can't control it, and each one will go on and on for ever! Like you, this happens for periods of time (up to 2 or 3 weeks!) and will go away for no reason. I usually also have chest pain, caused from a spastic esophigus (sp), along with these episodes. Will say that anxiety meds seem to help. Sometimes wonder if the air is getting trapped because of the spastic esophigus (there's that word again).
 

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How interesting. My problem at first was trouble clearing my throat and excessive burping. My duodenum is also inflamed. Work on your diet it may be the only solution. If it helped before you may want to continue, adding one food at a time and see what happens. LOL
 

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Mary,I too burp very frequently. Mine started in high school (1986) when I got stressed-out and overate. I wondered for a period of time if I didn't have something called a hiatal hernia from the vomiting that occured when I overate, but after reading some books about such things, I convinced myself that this probably wasn't the case....and symptoms at that time weren't bad enough for me to care too much. In 1992, I was finishing up my undergrad work and starting grad school. The burping was fairly constant over those past 6 years, but like you I began to expel less gas rectally and in the spring of 1993, I was diagnosed with IBS (D-type). Three years later, I began a job that I love, working with people I love, and the wife I love got a good job too, plus I was closer to my immediate family. A dramatic reduction in stress to be sure! However, the IBS persisted. Since I was told when I was originally diagnosed that stress played a big role in IBS, I began searching for an alternative diagnosis. I was motivated to continue this search when I realized that there were components of my problem that didn't seem to fit the classic IBS definition--and at the top of my list is the one you mention...I burp 98% of the time to expel gas versus the other way. I spent about 2 solid years going to 2 different GI's, a GP, and even a holistic dentist (because I have some weird yellowish coating on the back of my tongue). I still have no solid answers...I do have some theories:1) There is a theory about IBS (which are gaining evidence to support them) having to do with fermentation in the gut. You mentioned the seemingly "endless supply" of gas...that could be where it is coming from. I had a hydrogen breath test which indicates that I expel more hydrogen through the mouth than normal when presented with a lactulose sugar solution on an empty stomach. I was told that this hydrogen response is evidence of fermentation...but the doctor who performed it also believed that the way to stop the fermentation was to avoid lactose--didn't help enough for me to continue it after about 3-6 weeks. However, I HAVE noticed that the most fermentable sugars (ie: High Fructose Corn Syrup which is now the norm in bread, pop, you name it) are far more trouble for me than the lesser ones like honey. Strangely enough, dextrose is highly fermentable as well, yet they put it in allegedly gas-reducing stuff like Gas-X! Fermentation is a complicated process, and determining precisely why IBS folks seem to be more prone to it (according to at least one study) and how to correct it without difficult diet alterations is probably a long way from happening! If fermentation is behind IBS, I'm certain that it can explain a lot of the weird differences between what each of us experience in terms of symptoms.Incidentally, have you lost tummy growling when you're hungry? My sister who is a C-type and myself a D-type both can get very hungry and not hear our tummies growl like we used to !2) I've also come to the conclusion that it is possible that the valves in our GI tract (for many of us, the ileocecal junction may well be the culprit) are simply malfunctioning sticking open at times or shut at others causing C, D, or the unexpected release of gas the wrong way...or not letting the tummy growl as it normally would?Keep in mind, IBS is classified as a "functional" bowel disorder...in other words, by its very nature, there won't necessarily be something that doctors can immediately see in terms of an obstruction or even inflammation, because according to the theory...it just doesn't work right--perhaps the way to look at it is like a computer. It is possibble to have everything look right in terms of having everything plugged-in and nothing melted on the circuit board, and yet what you see on the screen is that something isn't quite working correctly. A good computer person can rewrite a program or replace a chip that is behaving strangely and you're back in business, but we don't understand yet how the brain's software works and we certainly don't understand the chips and wires that make-up the central nervous system--in other words, we don't have a functional understanding of the GI tract, so there's little chance of understanding a precise cause of a functional disorder.Do doctors actually observe the functioning of the GI tract in us for a full day? No! And until they find a practical way of doing that, I don't see how they can ever get an understanding of something which is a functional disorder!A few months ago, when I came to that conclusion, I stopped my search for alternative explanations. I actually cried a bit because I felt (at first) like I was letting go of what little hope I had left of getting cured...I guess in a way I was doing just that. Now I put almost all of the hope I have in simply being able to manage things as best I can, and help others to do the same throught the support group I'm starting on my campus. What's left of that hope involves keeping an ear to the ground to see if anyone else who still is searching for an alternative explanation for their symptoms finds one that may help me. So Mary, please let us know if that happens for you!SteveE
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I also suffered from excessive burping. My physician said that I was probably swallowing air. It was so bad that I was beginning to sound like a frog and was afraid to speak out in meetings etc. It was so bad I could drink plain water and it would start. This went on for several months before I found out that I had gallstones and eventually had my gallbladder removed thinking it woudl stop the burping. Not at all, I'm still doing it but not to the same degree. I tried doing a process of elimination with certain foods and found whenever I drink carbonated beverages or dairy products, it starts all over again. Good luck!
 

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The fermentation issue could easily be excluded by fasting for a day or two. If the gas does not stop, fermentation ain't the problem.Also, fermentation occurs in particular parts of the gut, namely, the colon and it is probably impossible for gas to go back the other way.Also, dextrose could not possibly be fermented unless bacterial overgrowth was present. It is absorbed long before it reaches any significant bacterial population.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
SteveE: Have you tried the peppermint tea yet? Also I think if you tried some cooked white rice with your meals and in between it might stop the burping. Please give it a try for a week and let me know on this page if it worked. Feel better. MaryT Thanks for your reply. belle :0
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you, everyone. The Dr. asked for some more tests - bloodwork (endomysial antibodies & gliadin antibodies) and stool for ova & parasites. He switched me off Pepcid, and on Prilosec. I am not burbing as much. I'll incorporate some of the suggestions made here, and hopefully I can start feeling WELL again.
 
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