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IBS Information

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:07 pm
by Silverfeet
Well, I'm still in the situation where consultants refuse to officially declare me as suffering from PCOS (even though it's been acknowledged that "anecdotally" (ie, I've got several severe symptoms of PCOS but not in the right combination for the clinical diagnosis) I've got PCOS).

Four months ago, I had a foot operation. Because some of the medication they gave me clashed with the Pill, I came off the Pill (I wasn't going to sacrifice the painkillers!). My GP told me to stay off the Pill for four months to see what's going on with my body (I've been on the Pill for years without a break - ironically all the PCOS-detection tests have always been done while I've been on the Pill, I've always expressed concern about that, but doctors kept saying it didn't make a difference - I'm not convinced).

Just had a visit from Auntie Flo for the first time in months, and I was in agony from cramping and bloating. I have been for the past two years, really, but I had post-op infection complications, so they slapped me with some very high-dose antibiotics. The side-effects hit me hard, but the nurses decided they were hitting me too hard - even for the antibiotic I was taking (which is apparently notorious for side-effects). The doctor agreed and ended up concluding I've got IBS.

All my doctor really said to me was that I should eat a high-fibre diet, and gave me mebeverine and told me I could back this up with mintec if I wanted. I was a bit wary - for the past two years, I've been relying on a cup of fennel tea after food to ease my digestive problems, but peppermint tea makes issues... worse.

I made an appointment to see my dietician, and she was very useful on the advice about IBS (such as telling me the doctor's advice of eating a high fibre diet isn't necessarily good advice, I need to explore my food and find out what my triggers are).

I find it somewhat ironic that doctors are refusing to give me a clinical diagnosis of PCOS (or more accurately, recinded the clinical diagnosis they originally gave me in 2006), and now I'm found to be suffering IBS - they told me that PCOS and IBS is linked, although the actual nature of the link is a bit of a mystery.

Is there any advice people can give me about handling IBS? Any literature worth reading? What about diets? I had been trying the low GI diet, which my dietician said had a good reputation with PCOS sufferers, but now it's known I've got IBS, she admitted that a low GI diet isn't necessarily the best option for an IBS sufferer - after comparing my GI recipes books with the dietary fact sheet she gave me, I can see why!

I was thinking of becoming vegetarian, but my dietician has asked me to rethink that now. The trouble is that I already know that meat is a trigger for me - red meat I avoid like the plague, and even chicken is beginning to affect me now, so I've cut right back on it. The only meat I get on with is fish. As a result, I'm a bit stuck on how to plan my diet now that I know I've got IBS. Any advice would be appreciated.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:48 pm
by Kitty1973
Hi there, I've had IBS for about ten years now, and it is a real nuisance. In terms of diet, it's so personal, and it's just a case of finding out what actually triggers you. I know, for example, spicy food makes me really ill, and that garlic can be a no-no, which is annoying, as I love Italian food - I still eat it, but only when I know I won't have to go to work the next day! Things like tomatoes and peppers can be hard to digest too, and I rarely eat meat since it doesn't tend to sit well. For about a year I was virtually teetotal, as any alcohol really impacted on my tummy, but now that's okay, in moderation. I know that sounds unhelpful and random, but there's no right answer as it varies so much. I kept a food diary for a while, and that showed me real "red light" areas.

In terms of medication, I have tried the lot, and the one that helps me is Spasmonal - it's expensive so GPs often won't use it as an early option. I also take an algae supplement called Chlorella, which was recommended for acne, and has really helped my stomach too.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:16 pm
by Silverfeet
I've noticed the same food reactions - meat I cut out years ago. I can manage fish and a bit of chicken, but not to excessive amounts. Spicy food has a bad reaction with me, which is a shame as I love spicy food. I've been wondering about garlic, especially since garlic bread is definitely affecting, and I've been noticing problems after eating garlicky food. Tomatoes I've been avoiding for as long as I've been struggling with meat, and recently I've started cutting peppers out of my diet (another shame, as I like peppers) - like you I do like Italian food, but Italian recipes are among the ones that hit me hardest.

I've been wondering about going teetotal. I limit alcohol to a single small glass on a Friday or Saturday with an evening meal - and only if I go into the meal feeling okay. Alcohol is definitely a problem.

My big horror is the thought of giving up chocolate - I've been trying to ignore the fact it affects me, but I really can't. Unfortunately, I'm a chocoholic, so this is going to be the hard one to give up.

I'll keep the Chlorella in mind. Since coming off the Pill, I've been put on Doxycycline to control the acne, so something that helps both acne and stomach at the same time might be worth me remembering.

Thanks for the response. :)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:12 pm
by Kitty1973
Oh, we are twins! - I have taken Doxycycline for years now, just breaking when my GP suggests it, and then taking Minocycline instead, before going back to it. It definitely helps my skin. One of the side-effects of the Doxy can be an upset tummy, so make sure you take it with food, and never on an empty stomach. (I was fine with it for ages, and then after a break - I restarted about three weeks back - it now seems to make me a bit nauseous unless I take it on a full stomach.) The chlorella, I think, is a miracle - definitely worth a shot as it's not expensive.

I do find peppermint tea a huge help - could you try spearmint instead? I also chew gum or suck mints if I feel dodgy when I'm at work or out and about, and this really helps me. You may find it comes and goes though - when I was first diagnosed I was so ill they thought I had Crohns, and I had a raft of tests at the hospital. I literally couldn't keep any food in my stomach, and was down to a size 8, and looked dreadful - my skin was absolutely terrible too as I wasn't getting any nutrients. I suppose I've learnt to "manage" it better over the years, or perhaps it's just eased off. I do find stress a big trigger too, and that can be hard to avoid!

Oh, and I think it's really common for hormones to impact on the digestive system. Most of my friends get upset stomachs on the first day of their periods, but have no trouble any other time of the month.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:28 pm
by Silverfeet
Yes, it definitely fluctuates as the, er, lunar month progresses, shall we say. :)

I've been feeling a bit nauseous recently. I was wondering if it was one of the medications - I've been on so many antibiotics recently because of an operation I had at the end of July (post-op infection issues). I definitely get upset stomachs from antibiotics, so I erred on the side of caution and have been taking it with food.

I might try the spearmint. I love mint anyway, so it won't be a hardship to experiment. Fresh sage from the garden is great for digestion too I've found. Sometimes I mix the sage with fresh lemon balm as well. I've got spearmint in the garden so I may as wll use it. :)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:24 pm
by LonelyStranger
I've been suffering with IBS for a year now. It is so painful somtimes. I went back to the doctors today because I couldn't quite tell whether the pain was from my kidney or IBS. Anyway, my GP feels that it's definatelty bowel pain again and has suggested trying peppermint capsules. I went to get these, but the capsules contain gelatine and there aren't any without, so I decided to try peppermint tea. I was wondering whether anyone else has had any success with this. I really do hope it helps, I've triels things like buscapon (sp?) and regulan.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:26 pm
by LonelyStranger
Oh I just read one of the above posts properly where I see peppermint tea has helped, fingers crossed it works for me too xx