Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Constipation. Help please!


Hello! So, I do not have IBS to start off with, but I thought this would be the best place to ask a question about this kind of subject matter. I'm 16 years old and I have always had healthy bowel movements, about 2 a day. Suddenly, this past Monday, I was feeling really sick. I had a mild fever and I felt kind of nauseous so I stayed home. Sometimes there would be this sharp pain in my abdomen. I'm a slight hypochondriac so I was freaking out and thought it was my appendix blah blah. I went to school the next day, and had a tennis match. The match made  some of the pain come back. When we were getting something to eat, a friend of mine mentioned it could just be bad constipation, that that happened to her sister sometimes. I hadn't thought of that. I realized that I had had some pretty bad diarrhea. I went home and tried to pass a stool, but only got this unsatisfying diarrhea. For the past 5 days, I've been constipated with only super, super soft stool to pass. I can feel it going around a blockage or some hard mass at the end of my rectum. I can feel it, and I feel like I can get it out, but I can't! I've tried stool softeners, suppositories, mini enemas and I drink a lot and have fiber. I couldn't hold the enemas in for more than 2 minutes tops though, cause it affected the soft stool/diarrhea above the mass. I feel so gross and I'm worried that it's really bad for my body and I'm so frustrated. My family is actually starting a colon cleanse this coming week, so hopefully that will help? I don't know. What is your advice? Should I go to the doctor? Or should I go through the colon cleanse? I'm just worried that almost a week is pretty dang bad for my body. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you so much!

Hi Alison - please see a GI doc and explain what is going on. Do NOT do any kind of colon cleanse - it will only disrupt the normal function of your gut even further.

Anything that artificially affects motility of the bowel - enemas, laxatives, cleanses, etc. - can cause an insult to the gut. If it's severe enough, or chronic, it can actually lead to the development of IBS, which is a dysfunction of the nervous system of the bowel.

You want to keep your gut calm, and the persistalsis rhythmic. Soluble fiber foods are a good way to do that, as are herbal teas that soothe the bowel like peppermint and fennel. Check here and here for more info.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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