Treatment for incapacitating 'IBS'

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My boyfriend has had severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea intermittently for the past year and a half and the situation is becoming intolerable.

The symptoms are:

- Extremely severe abdominal cramps, he describes the location as "from tummy button to bum".

- [GROSSNESS WARNING] Orange diarrhoea

He gets the symptoms very quickly after eating, before the food has even been digested he reckons. It is literally incapacitating at times, and it is making it hard to lead a normal life.

His doctor says he has IBS, and has prescribed him:

- loperamide: used to work 1 tablet every fewdays, now taking several a day for any effect

- peppermint oil: no effect

- mebeverine: no effect

- alverine: no effect

- lansoprazole: virtually eliminated heartburn

- co-codamol: initially effective, but reduced effectiveness over time and side effects included drowsiness and nausea.

He had a endoscopy and biopsies taken and they say nothing appeared abnormal. (Intestines apparently in "perfect condition" )

My only suggestion is that he has an intolerance to some kind of food, but the doctor has not referred him for tests, and the specialist said that there was no conclusive link between diet and symptoms of IBS. He is prescribed tablets instead.

I'm getting desperate... Any suggestions (including reliable health forums) gratefully received.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    hi spartan,have a look at BETAINE HCL on google, just might be low stomach acid, digestive enzymes not producing enough acid to dissolve foods or pineapple fruit extract tablets i believe its in the root and not much in the fruit itself but i;ve forgot what they are called idea :[
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  • Posted

    Hi Spartan, as your boyfriend has had tests and been to the doctor and still suffering it is probably a food intolerance that is setting him off. Most specialists would not say that there was no conclusive link to diet as they know jolly well there is. Finding what upsets you is the problem and they are not keen on going down that route.

    This is a hard one, as he will need to eliminate things to find out what it is that's affecting him.

    It could be dairy stuff, meats, wheat products, curries and spicy foods, fructose, certain veg like beans and brocolli and lots of fruits are well known to upset delicate digestions. Ice cream is a no no. Alcohol, (sadly) definitely.

    If you google foods for IBS/ light diets for IBS you will see loads of sites with advice on this subject.

    You could consider seeing a private specialist but this would cost a lot, may be worth it in the long run though.

    Motillium is an over the counter and prescription medication that helps when in a bad flare up.. The Lansoprazole cuts the acid down so keep taking that (I have for 30 years) it's quite safe.

    Movicol is very good for when constipation hits and is gentle and non spasming. The gp can give him that.

    Be brave and try a very light diet of rice, oats and well cooked veg. He won't like it but sometimes it's the only way.

    After a few days start adding other foods and see if it cramps him up. if it does then that food is at least one of the culprits, keep going until you've tried the lot.

    Hope you find an answer soon. It's a miserable thing to live with (and I don't mean the boyfriend!).

    Fanny Jane.

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  • Posted

    Hi hope this helps I have IBS .When I first started with it I thought there was something really wrong with me.Pain was awful no energy have had it for 20 years prescibed Buscopam .I take one Probiotic every day and have done for over 6 years and am free of it. They balance the flora in the gut and this is where the problems are.I don't take any presc drugs only natural ones.Also aloe vera may help but you need to make sure it is a good one.
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  • Posted

    Hi Spartan,

    First, peppermint oil is not the right herbal for diarrhea symptoms, and although it can be helpful for pain and bloating, only the enteric coated variety is useful.

    Also, there is a link with IBS and food, because in IBS the gut lining has become irritated, and you can develop food intolerances. There are IgG tests for these, but they are not very accurate. Doing an Elimination Diet is a better option to find out what foods are triggers for him.

    Hope this helps!smile

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  • Posted

    Hi Spartan,

    Sorry to hear this. IBS is hard on all of us who suffer from it, and for our partners as well, as it limits what we can do (which upsets us, which just ends up making the IBS worse, due to the stress of having IBS). If your boyfriend hasn't already, he should try cutting out all dairy. it's a very common trigger of food-intolerance-related IBS. I also find that limiting sugar intake as much as possible helps (as sugar makes bad bacteria grow in our gut, which aggravates our whole digestive process). And I recently figured out that cutting out chewing gum has had a great effect. Apparently, when we chew gum, our system thinks we're eating, so it activates our digestive process, making us go more often. Plus, the sorbitol in gum is a big trigger for cramping, for those of us who can't tolerate it. Probiotics are also really helpful, as it helps build a healthy environment in our gut. IBS is horrible, and really depressing when we're experiencing the worst of it, but thankfully, there are ways to help it. It's just a matter of researching a lot and finding what works for you (or in this case, for your partner). It's important to be tested to make sure it isn't anything more than IBS, but if it is 'just' IBS, you ca'nt count on doctors to help 'fix' it, because they don't. But there is tons of great information online, of ways in which you can help it and lead a normal healthy life. I hope that helps!

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