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HiI have suffered from 'stomach issues' most of my life, particularly during periods of stress. I am a long-time vegetarian, yoga practitioner, but prone to anxiety and depression. I get diarrhea when I am stressed and usually have a bowel movement 1-2 times a day. Two weeks ago, I started experiencing stomach pains, nausea, dizziness. I assumed I had the stomach flu. Two days ago, I had to go to the ER due to severe stomach pains; I thought i had an ulcer, or perforation or something. The pain literally made me cry. I also had lower back pain and a sharp pain under my left ribs, all the way to the side of my body almost. I was admitted and given pain meds, and an xray on my abdomen which showed large amts of stool. I was prescribed Prevacid, Senokot, oxycodeine for pain, and told (in so many words) that I was constipated. I also mentioned to the doc that I have been under a great deal of stress (we moved to a new state, financial problems and on top of that, a federal audit last month--which ended fine, btw). He seemed to think the problem is LIKELY IBS, although I am seeing a GI specialist this week.I have a very high pain threshold, and with 2 young boys, I rarely take the time to go to the doctor unless it's severe. So this was bad. I could barely stand up. Anyway, since my release on Monday, i have taken the senokot, 3 pills daily, I have had 3 bowel movements, only the last of which felt complete,and it was very loose (probably the result of the laxatives). The doc told me that the pain killers will cause constipation, so I am trying to take as little as I can. I am still experiencing nausea, dizziness, overall fatigue, and the insomnia is still bad (I fall asleep at around 3:30 and wake up at 7:30 am. This is from someone who until the last 6 months has slept like a ROCK--8 hours nightly, nothing could stop me from falling asleep, not even 2 expressos at 11 pm).I have been doing some research, and have begun taking probiotics, and carefully monitoring my diet. I do eat a lot of fresh veggies, and indeed was a raw vegan for a year last year during which I felt wonderful. But now I am concerned about eating too many fresh veggies, raw fruits etc. Right now I am tending towards constipation, but historically, my stomach issues have been about looser stools, so don't want to swing the pendulum the other way either. Just trying to figure out what's going on with me, and what to do. I have taken out Heather V.'s books from the library, but am concerned about the emphasis on refined grains (pasta/white bread) and whether it will cause me to be more constipated. Again, i understand IBS has multiple components, but just want to do what's right for my body.As an aside, I am a trained acupuncturist (not practicing) and Chinese Herbalist (certified and trained for 4 years) and have in the past treated patients with IBS. But it's interesting, you don't realize quite how complex or debilitiating something can be until you've experienced it yourself. I think I am supposed to learn something here
Thank you for any advice. I would love to learn more about what has worked for others; I am reading the forums with interest!JanePS I take Flax Seed Oil daily, the probiotics are new, and have always eaten a lowfat diet with minimally processed foods. I drink a glass of wine a day, and have 1 cup of coffee in the morning. It has never been a problem in the past, but given the 'new' developments, I am wondering what I need to give up (and yes, for me, giving up alcohol and coffee completely would be hard LOL)
 

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Generally alcohol and caffeine loosen stools so if you tend to constipation they may not be a bad thing, even if they tend to say all IBSers should cut them out.IBSers generally tend to fair better on cooked foods, especially veggies, rather than raw (which does tend to go with the Chinese approach that IBSers often have issues with spleen energy so should eat more cooked foods, I'm studying Qi Healing
). Fruits can help with constipation, particularly the raw, dried or juice forms of apples, pears, plums, peaches and cherries. These fruits have sorbitol in them and that is an osmotic laxative so helps to keep things moving. Unfortunately cooking those fruits gets rid of the sorbitol.You might pay attention to your fiber and water intake. Sometimes a bit too much fiber can be just as problematic as too little so if you track that for awhile you may find what the balance point is for you. Heather's diet tends to focus on the soluble fibers (so what you get in grains when the bran is removed, and some of the starch counts as soluble fiber as some of it--the resistant starch--you do not digest). Of the whole grains, whole oats tend to have the most soluble fiber, and if that isn't enough for you, you could try some psyllium if you want more natural or citrucel if you want something less fermentable. Heather has a fiber she recommends (and sells on her website) and some people do well on it as well. Some people like ground flax seeds so you might look into using the whole seed rather than just the oil, or in addition to it. You can add ground flax seeds as a topping for cooked veggies or in cereals and a lot of other ways.I find peppermint often can take the edge off the pain and generally isn't constipating like narcotics or most of the anti-spasmodics are. Peppermint tea or I even use Altoids (they aren't vegan so you might look for a peppermint candy that doesn't have gelatin in them that also have a very strong peppermint flavor with real peppermint oil. Some people like the enteric coated peppermint capsules. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/280/18/1585 is a paper that came out a few years ago with a formula of Chinese Herbs that seemed to do well in a clinical trial so might also be something you would find interesting.
 

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Jane--So sorry tohear about your "situation" I have very recently (the last 3 months or so) been experiencing IBS symptoms and they seem to be getting worse. I have an appointment with an acupuncturist/herbalist this week and am optimistic. So far I have tried Heather vandorhiss (www.heloforibs.com) diet. At first I found some relief but no certain now since the gas pains have amped up. I am taking Citrucel regularly to try to control constipation with some success though I am not sure if this is contributing to gas pains, etc. I feel exhausted and drained and quite overwhelmed. Not sure whether the bread/pasta is helping or hurting. So I think I might try an exclusion diet as mentioned on an earlier post to try to understand more about what is happening. I will keep you posted Much luck P.S. I am also a yoga teacher, long time meditator and have had a relatively healthy life style for many years. By the way--you might want to eliminate coffee and alcohol and see if that helps. It did help me. Dawng
 
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