Terrible stomach pain - looking for answers

Posted , 3 users are following.

This post may be a little long but there's a long history...

I was born constipated. By the time I was 18 the hemorrhoids were so bad I couldn't walk straight. I had surgery and the doc said I had fissures and ulcers along with the piles. Over the years I had three more minor surgeries. Since then I've been stuck with a significant anal stenosis so for the past 30 years I've been taking nightly Milk of Magnesia so that I can pass a stool. About two years ago I started having stomach trouble, waking up sick with diarrhea every night, often all night. Next day, doubled over with cramps. I went with only 2-3 hours of sleep a night for about a year and half with an occasional decent night to hold me over. I slowly eliminated certain meds, mostly (daily) nsaids and gabapentin trying to find the cause but to no avail. I finally went to my GI and he did a colonoscopy and endoscopy and found "a little irritation" but nothing else. He diagnosed me with SIBO about four months ago and I've been on the low-fodmap diet since but with little to no improvement.

The diet has helped my sleep quite a bit, which I attribute to the lack of caffeine, sugar, and chocolate but I'm still in tremendous pain every day (and I don't cheat on the diet). I belch constantly, both after eating and not eating and my belly sometimes looks like I'm pregnant because of the swelling. I've reduced the milk of magnesia which sometimes helps but then the constipation causes the same symptoms (apparently?). I've lost 15 pounds in the past few months so I'm down to 145 and I don't want to lose much more, if any.

I'm 56 years old and the sole wage-earner in my household so I HAVE to figure this out. Could it be the Milk of Magnesia? After all these years? I'm including an x-ray my chiropractor took of my lower back that shows all the bubbles in my gut. He looked at it and said "Whoa! Feeling a little gassy?"

Thank you for reading this. I'm open to any and all ideas.

Many thanks,



0 likes, 10 replies

10 Replies

  • Posted

    Accept your diagnosis of SIBO and ask your doctor about IBS which doesn't show on any test or scan. My ultrasound showed a lot of bowel gas and I was eventually diagnosed with IBS. However, no reason was given for the amount of gas I had. The Fodmap diet doesn't work for everyone. Perhaps see a dietician.

    • Posted

      Thanks Pippa, I appreciate the input. SIBO is still a possibility, of course. I spent many years taking Prevacid, as per doctor's orders, but I stopped taking it about a month ago when i learned it could casue problems in the small intestine. I was put on the SIBO antibiotic when first diagnosed and I think it helped but only while I was on it. Symptoms came back as soon as the prescription ran out. It also made me very constipated.

      And yes, I was diagnosed with IBS years ago. A dietician is a good idea.

    • Posted

      I have heard that sometimes SIBO comes back after finishing the antibiotics. After antibiotics, it is helpful to take yoghurt to replace good gut bacteria which can be lost after antibiotics. There is also a SIBO diet. Ask a dietician about this.

    • Posted

      Yes, I have another course of the antibiotic and started it today. I wasn't on the low fodmap diet, yet, during the first course. And I've modified it to include SIBO diet.

      I'm curious if anyone thinks the Milk of Magnesia might be a player in all of this. The Xifaxan will make me constipated, necessitating upping the magnesia dosage; probably to a full dose.

    • Posted

      Milk of Magnesia is considered a very safe and mild over the counter constipation/heartburn remedy for daily use; it sounds more likely that your symptoms are due to your SIBO and IBS. You could always try a different laxative or try lots of fruit to see if milk of magnesia is the problem.

    • Posted

      Yeah, I've been taking the Milk'o'Mag for more than 30 years so it wouldn't make sense for it to start causing me problems now. But still, it does list gas and bloating as a side effect and our bodies do change with age.

      The Xifaxan is working somewhat but it's making me more constipated than usual.

      The sick stomach is always followed by horrible diarrhea which I essentially give to myself because of the anal stenosis. Lol, this is a tough knot.

      My GI tried to get me to switch from the Milk'o'Mag to a prescription pill (the name escapes me) but I wasn't up for the transition at the time time. I'll give it a try this summer.

      Does anyone have experience with Magnesium Citrate (as apposed to Magnesium Hydroxide)?

    • Posted

      The only thing with prescription laxatives is that they tend to have more side effects and can be harsher, that's why I prefer fruit as a laxative. Prune juice and oranges work for me.

    • Posted

      Trust me when I say I've tried all the diet options for the constipation. I've been dealing with this as long as I can remember. As a kid, I ate nothing but prunes for three days and still couldn't go. By the time I was nine years old, I had hemorrhoids, fissures, and ulcers. It's been a rough ride.

      Grapes seem to help a little but I'll still need a laxative.

    • Posted

      Strange that diet doesn't help, but everyone is different. It could be the anal stenosis that is causing a fibre diet alone not to be effective. Maybe keep on Milk of Magnesia in the absence of any thing better. It may be that it is your constipation that is causing the gas and bloating rather than the milk of magnesia. In the end, though, all laxative potions have side effects and it is a trade off between medications that have the least side effects and what side effects are the least bothersome for you versus the effectiveness of the laxative itself.

  • Posted

    Hi Macadoo,

    I don't know much about the low-fodmap diet, but I would highly recommend is to try going vegan for at least a couple of months. Until the last six months or so, I've had constipation for all my life (I'm 29 now). No matter how much water/hydrational fluid I used to drink or the various different other diets or medication I tried worked, but this does.

    I didn't go vegan thinking it might help with my constipation, but it has completely reversed it. On average, I used to have a poo about once every 2-3 days and have to sit on the toilet for 20+ minutes every time. Now on average, I'll have a poo twice a day and when I go, It comes out easy in 5 minutes or less. I get a lot less stomach cramps and bloating since becoming a vegan as well. Bottom line: regardless of how you feel about vegans, I would recommend you giving it a try solely for the chance that it could cure your constipation like it did for me.

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