Seeking advice

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Hi,

I'm a 23 year old male who has been suffering with an unknown abdominal issue since a bout of food poisoning last September.

Daily I am bloated after every meal regardless of fibre content ( have tried various diets). I am also nauseous and fatigued and very gassy. Also once I eat, food immediately attempts to come back up and just feels as though it is not digesting. Stool consistency changes regularly, it is quite common for it appear constpiated although never diarrhoea. I thought this likely due to not drinking enough water at work. There is also frequent pain in the abdomen.

The first doctor suggested IBS, although my symptoms are not sporadic and have gradually increased in severity over time. I have also tried general ibs tablets which had no use.

The second doctor noted the reflux and prescribed me acid reflux as at the time I had pain in the lower stomach. I have has stool and blood samples taken and given the all clear.

At this moment in time i have lost 1.5 stone. It feels as though my body is constantly dehydrated no matter how much water i intake. I regularly go to the gym and my body feels as though it is not recovering with no lactic acid build up as normal.

Overall I my diet is very good, I only drink around once a month and have stopped taking protein shakes which i thought had influenced it.

Any thoughts on what this is or advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  • Posted

    It sounds like Post infectious IBS which can occur after food poisoning.  Pain typically moves about and is not always spasmodic or sporadic.  It can be constant or come and go.  My IBS started as constant and then it became come and go symptoms after diagnosis.  One doctor suggested IBS in the beginning but because my symptoms were not like my brother’s IBS, I dismissed the suggestion.  However, after numerous negative tests over three and a half monrhs and lots of doctors, it turned out I did have IBS.

    Sometimes, no IBS medication works or you have to try several find a suitable one.  IBS can have periods when it improves for a while and then suddenly gets worse again.  My brother’s IBS completely disappeared over time although he is careful with potato which was a trigger food.  Worry and stress can worsen it.  Acid reflux is linked to IBS.  

    After the food poisoning, your gut flora might have got disturbed; maybe try probiotics.  If you felt protein shakes are a problem, you may be lactose intolerant which is common with IBS.  Tey lactose free products for a few weeks to secif it makes a difference.

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    • Posted

      I found your reply very useful. As my diagnosed/treated ibs is not as controlled since changing from buscupan (shortage so pharmacy no long has any) to its generic equivalent Mebeverine.

      I'm awake now due to smelly burps and gas with diarrhea. Which had stopped with antibiotics and buscupan.

      Unless my infection is back?

      I'm taking paracetamol so I wouldn't know if I have a temperature, unless it's roaring.

      Problem with diarrhea is I don't know which tablets have just gone straight through me and which ones haven't.

      Luckily I'm on insulin at the moment.

      My tummy is gurgling as we speak.

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    • Posted

      Whatever tablets you take they wouldn’t just go straight through you, you would still absorb them. Even when you have diarrhoea straight after ingesting something it is faecal matter in your bowels that is expelled not the contents of your stomach, although it can seem that way! Digestion process takes a good few hours.
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    • Posted

      This is very helpful thank you!

      Admittedly I think the worry over being ill for a prolonged period has influenced the weight loss possibly? I eat exactly the same meals as before and gym 5 times a week still. Although my appetite has decreased and I 'm less aware of when im hungry.

      As I have never really suffered with any abdominal issues before I think prehaps I was quick to dismiss IBS as I have had a similar eating habit for years.

      I think I have been prescribed lanzaprazole and coning to the end of the monthly treatment but will then try probiotics as mentioned. I'm not so certain the doctors have the right idea prescribing medication when they are not certain on the cause.

      Thanks!

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    • Posted

      My doctor tested me for a urinary tract infection which I was negative for.  He said he wouldn’t send the sample to the lab because it would likely be negative again.  However, he still prescribed me antibiotics in case it was a false negative.  They made me feel worse and gave me thrush.  This started me on the long road to my IBS diagnosis. 
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  • Posted

    I will be returning to GP if mine continues. If not I'll mention it when I'm next seeing him for something else.

    Always ill lately.

    Maybe my virus hasn't gone.

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    • Posted

      I too have had disturbed bowel habits after some kind of virus/infection last year since beginning of August. My stools are only just beginning to go back to normal. It’s surprising how an infection can completely upset your whole digestive system for ages. Give it time as things will probably go back to normal. I too had gas, bloating, reflux, fatigue. I tried many things but can’t be sure what helped. I’m taking keffir daily as a probiotic.
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    • Posted

      Things are more settled and in turn helped with better sleep. I'm still not taking metformin but will reintroduce it once I finish iron tablets for discovered anaemia.

      Thank you for your reassurance. It helped enormously!

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  • Posted

    Hi All,

    6 months later I've now been back and forth to the doctors, consultant and have had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. All tests including bloods for bilirubin are normal.

    The consultant has suggested GERD as the cause of the bloating in combination with IBS. I'm still no closer to find any resolution with this. I've tried IBS diets such as fodmap, eliminating many different types of foods. The consultant mentioned stress is likely the cause; however I feel mentally just as I usually would before and have no anxieties about anything. I feel better off just continuing my ordinary diet. 

    My main issue is a pain at the upper right back that has progressively gotten worse and dehydration. This pain is only in one area and associated when my stomach is empty or I have passed a stool. I assume due to high acidity in my stomach this is preventing me from feeling any hunger also. My appetite is greatly reduced due to just not feeling hungry (I used to eat up to 6 meals a day).

    I am currently on a month course of anti acid in hopes to regulate stomach acid production, but at the moment I feel no better, coming to the end of the treatment. I am at the moment trying to justify how upper right quadrant pain can be associated with IBS and GERD. Pain was at its worst before an endoscopy and colonoscopy in which I had fasted and had taken laxatives for 24hrs prior. I also rarely get any acidic reflux, but strangely more prominent when taking anti acids.

    My urine is always dark in colour and stools are constipated and greasy as reported 6 months ago. I have also attempted to drink as much water as physically possible on occasion to see if the colour remains, which it still does only diluted further. I would just like to know has anyone else experienced this with IBS or found any resolutions? This has been constant for about a year now and not something that comes and goes- pain at the back has developed over time. 

    Any ideas where to go from here would also be greatly appreciated? My next thought is potentially lack of bile reaching the stomach to neutralise part of the digestive process, so have bought oxbile to see if this improves my hunger and digestion of fats in stool. I thought that such high acidity may be pushing undigested foods to the duodenum prematurely, that may be causing these IBS symptoms. I’m working with a process of elimination, but not resting till I feel back to normal.

    Thanks.

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    • Posted

      Hey! Oh I sympathise, I’ve been to hell and back with my stomach the past 2 years. Like you, there are too many odd and seemingly unrelated things that I just don’t accept as IBS (in 20 years time they’ll know what IBS really is - for now it’s a confusing cop out diagnosis leaving many people distrustful of modern medicine since nothing relieves it truly). Anyway!

      I had Norovirus in 2014, followed by 4 months of gastritis and reflux. I then went back to my old, amazing digestion and metabolism for a year. Then suffered a few months of constipation and d alternating. Got diagnosed with cervicitis which made me really bloated. And a UTI. Took 2 courses of antibiotics. My body has never been the same.

      I lost nearly 2 stone in 6 months, got diagnosed with gastritis, oesophageal ulcer, my throat felt itchy. It was maddening. I was dry heaving every morning and could only stomach potatoes, bananas and fish. Stomach was so noisy and gurgling. Food felt like a brick in my stomach. I would wake up sweating in the night, feverish for months intermittently. It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

      I took omeprazole which helped the reflux but made my stools greasy. I was still bloating, burping and occasionally running to the bathroom this time last year, though I had recovered greatly. Then I had to take antibiotics again for a wisdom tooth infection. Ended up ill again, less severely but still bad. Developed an all over body rash, anxiety returned, disturbed sleep, reflux, lack of appetite. It’s a lot better now but I’ve been eating probiotics religiously every da. And I still get classic heartburn - the easiest of all the symptoms! I am thankful to only get nausea intermittently now and it’s been 18 months since I had that fullness and rock feeling in the pit of my stomach. I do have lichen simplex on my arms now.

      My point is that I think a lot of “IBS” is to do with bacteria and balance in your body. In your course I would also get your gallbladder checked. Oddly my urine is brown and I’ve wondered about my gallbladder a lot. I also wonder about endometriosis since my periods are pretty bad. Don’t give up - get a gallbladder check and indigestion is associated with ovarian problems. Sometimes our liver can be sluggish. It’s worth getting some bloods taken. And good luck!

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    • Posted

      I found complete relief of IBS with buscopan and conventional painkillers.  Before these medications only reduced my pain, now they get rid of it completely. Also lack of stress keeps my IBS in remission.

      There is still hope to having long remissions from IBS!

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    • Posted

      Hey, that sounds terrible. I hope its getting better now! 

      I completely agree, I think a better understanding of IBS needs to be made. Instead of labelling someone with IBS and a sort of deal with it attitude, I think doctors and consultants should work with patients more to focus on determining the cause. IBS can be triggered by underlying causes which aren't usually tackled to begin with. You're just given tablets and sent on your way, as it's cheaper.

      Unfortunately I am completely at the whim of diagnostic tests results and they're accuracy. I had an ultrasound for the pain associated in the liver area, but nothing there. I was sceptical of how much can be seen using this method- I assume it only checks for gallstones and nothing else. The operator was also doing a full scan so not looking for anything in particular. However, I have been proven by evidence that there is no infection etc so I have attempted to move on and deal with it. As I have progressed with it over the year and attempted to block it from thought, the more I consider that there is something else going on. I don't believe constant constipation for a year is normal and other symptoms associated cannot be prevented or have an underlying cause. I understand and appreciate that I do have IBS and its symptoms, although this is just an umbrella term for lack of understanding of digestive issues.

      I work in R&D and the worst part is that I get enough time to research these symptoms which can be worse. I have a good healthy lifestyle, I have trained for many years also. I don't believe it is any lifestyle associated problem. I even limit myself to how much time I search this as I attempt to remove it from thought to carry on with everyday life. I even suffered on a two week break on holiday.

      My personal thought is that there is just not enough bile reaching the small intestine to digest fats. I believe this is causing the pain as when a stool is passed bile is released to digest the next meal that was previously blocked by not properly digesting- pain is at its worst for 20mins after this. I think that this could be possibly due to a blockage or something preventing adequate amounts released- im not sure, just my current hypothesis. It would however explain the high acidity, bloating and could relate to fatty stool. Bile is slightly alkaline I believe and helps neutralise The stomach is also emptied into the duodenum faster at low ph, preventing adequate digestion-could relate to IBS symtoms. These are just things I've read and put together from reading.

      I plan to propose this on my return visit to the consultant so he can correct me and see where I go from there. Is it possible that a food poisoning bout can infect this area- I just dont know. The problem is the consultants have limited time, I just need someone to sit down and plan out whats been done and how to progress.

      I would be interested to know if you ever have any tests done for bacteria, h pylori , bloods or an urea breath test? I do agree with what you said about bacterial imbalance, it is possible to get small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Although when you cant find any relation to your symptoms and tests prove negative, its hard to relate. I personally have tried probiotics over a month period with no benefit. 

      Thanks for your reply!

       

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    • Posted

      Hey, Pippa, thanks for replying. I don’t think I have similar symptoms to you - I was diagnosed predominantly with GORD, following an ulcer. I get regular flare ups of gastritis. I do experience alternating bowel habits but the GORD symptoms are harder to treat and more persistent.

      I also have several issues going on beyond my digestion: irregular periods, migraines, skin issues, anxiety during flare ups. 

      Since I’ve not found any medication which fully helps my symptoms, I’m still questing to find out what the root cause is. My health nosedived after a strong course of antibiotics that immediately followed a short term course, and I would like to rule out hormonal issues in my case as endometriosis runs in my family and can wreak havoc on digestion. Happy to hear you can manage your own symptoms thoughsmile

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    • Posted

      Hey,

      I agree with much of what you said, especially about bile. I wonder about bike issues in myself!

      As far as testing goes, I’ll give you a run down:

      - Liver (2016) - normal 

      - Thyroid (2016) - normal 

      - Kidneys (2016) - normal 

      - Diabetes - was called back for a fasting glucose check since my blood sugar was higher than average, but it came back okay

      - full blood count - normal 

      - H Pylori - negative

      - Stool test - 40 calprotectin (slightly elevated but not over 50 which apparently indicates inflammation). High levels of strep and staph bacteria. No fungal infections and negative for klebsiella and other bugs (though wasn’t tested for giardia)

      - Coeliac and food allergy - negative (this was the most recent test in March 2018).

      Things I haven’t had checked are scan on gallbladder, pancreatic enzymes, lower abdominal ultrasound to check for gynaecology problems, CA125 for female hormonal imbalance, thyroid hasn’t been checked for a while. I’ve not had an endoscopy, colonoscopy or barium meal either. Too scared and my symptoms got good enough to avoid these invasive tests!

      I’ll let you know if I find anything. I really wish it would go away - I was nearly better for 3 months over summer out the blue, so I know what it feels like to get my health back. And it’s wonderful. I’ll strive to return there!

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