Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Mutliple Bowel Movements w/o diarhea
I am a 56 yr old female, diagnosed with IBS at age 20. Over the years it was diarrhea and occasional constipation. Have been on Bentyl, Librax for spasm. Currently I am experiencing about once a week or every other week a 2 hour morning of multiple bowel movements, every 5-15 minutes. Not diarrhea, just going and going. It amazes me because I do go every morning during the week when this doesn't happen and I go 1 or 2 times in the AM. When these episodes happen I experience mild cramping- but as soon as the bowel movement is over cramping is gone and I feel fine. I cannot afford to spend 2 hours in the bathroom every week. I am gluten free for 4 months. Noticed that the diarrhea went away since being gluten free. But the 2 hour ordeal did not. My doctor cannot understand it and says that I need to add more fiber. I cannot eat fresh fruit or salads due to IBS and the reaction so I avoid them totally. I eat light. Scrambled egg for breakfast, decaf tea no milk, low salt ham on gluten free bread for lunch/soy milk; dinner-chicken breast plain or with gluten free condiment, rice or baked potato, carrots. Glass of white wine occ. w/dinner. During the day I snack on Gluten free crackers or vanilla cookies. But mainly stay away from dairy. I thought my trigger was fats and grease so I totally eliminated that. My doctor tells me that this is a new phase of IBS and as long as it is not every day he is not concerned. What would cause this to happen, is it that my system is backed up and finally it is time to evacuate? How can I eliminate this problem. I tried Metamucil for almost a year, some days good results, some days I ended up with more than I expected and then had flareups once a month. I am at the end of my rope, so many doctors I have seen and no one can help me lead a normal life. It stops me from doing alot - and it is getting to be a problem as I do not make plans until that hour. Your input and advise would be appreciated. One doctor told me years ago to take 1 Immodium every day, I don't want to do that because first of all you don't go and then when you do I am sure I would be in the bathroom all day not 2 hours. There has to be an explanation. I have read a few stories on this website and a few people do have the same experience, so at least I know I am not the only one. Thank you.
Hi P.J, thanks for getting in touch. You are definitely not alone with this. In fact 25% of the worlds population suffers from IBS at some point in there life. Thats an amazing figure, but there are varying extreames of symptoms and you clearly have a particularly bad form or an undiagnosed bowel problem that is being misdiagnosed as IBS. I presume you have had some bowel investigations done?
Getting some symptom relief with a gluten free diet is quite common in a lot of bowel conditions as a lot of people have gluten sensitivity. I presume you have had tests to exclude Celiac disease, but if not you can find out more on my web site, IBS Help Online. Another condition that is sometimes missed diagnosed as IBS is SBBO or small bowel bacterial overgrowth where the bacterial composition in the small bowel is disturbed for various reasons. This can cause overgrowth of the so called bad bacteria with resulting symptoms similar to yours. It is usually diagnosed by doing a test called a glucose-hydrogen breath test. Treatment is aimed to restore the bacterial composition in the small bowel with pulsed antibiotics and intervening probiotics.
As to your doctors recommendation about fiber, I would strongly advise against this as you are more likely to be worse with this. You need to be on a low fiber and/or low residue diet and you can read more about this on IBS Help Online in the diet section.
As you mention, you are at the end of your tether over this. In fact, the stress of this can make your symptoms even worse. You might like to explore other therapies such as hypnotherapy, aromatherapy and psychotherapy. Also, have you tried Manuka Honey? There have been some reports of symptom improvement with this.
I hope this has given you a few ideas.