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Adagio's avatar

What can you tell me about your personal experience with IBS/Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Asked by Adagio (13895points) January 7th, 2011

What are your symptoms? How long do the symptoms last? Have you tried and had any success with diet control, what specifically? Apologies for these blunt questions, I know I could simply Google to get information but I would rather hear from individuals about their own personal experience with IBS. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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11 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

It’s shitty.

Adagio's avatar

@gorillapaws thank you, that is so helpful.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

The “symptoms” hit immediately after eating. The only thing I’ve found to completely make my IBS go away was to stop eating all dairy, white pastas/breads, and red meat.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Adagio you asked the question, I answered it as efficiently as possible. IBS is like 1000 different disorders lumped together under an umbrella term. It honestly isn’t going to be very helpful to you if I go into exquisite details about my own bowel movements, because everyone is different. So, my personal experience with IBS is that “it’s shitty”.

Rarebear's avatar

There is some data to show that probiotics, in higher doses can mitigate symptoms.

Adagio's avatar

@gorillapaws got you, I hope I can be forgiven for thinking your comment simply a wise-ass crack…

MissAnthrope's avatar

My first thought was “it sucks”. I have anxiety, have been told I’m a ‘stomach responder’, which means stress and anxiety go straight to my gut. This means I find it difficult to eat and breathe, I feel like I have a hot stone in my belly.. and one aspect of this is that I am apt to have diarrhea when I’m stressed.

Nothing I have tried works, except less stress. A doctor prescribed me fiber and something else that I can’t remember because it totally didn’t work. This went on for months, it sucked balls, and then when things got less stressful, so did my bowels.

So, yeah.. my experience is that it sucks and not much I can do about it.

Jeruba's avatar

One thing I can tell you is that it can be the side effect of some meds; or rather, that you might be diagnosed with it incorrectly because you’re taking meds that affect you in a way that resembles IBS.

I suffered with it wretchedly for a couple of years before I found that out. I honestly thought it was going to bring my career to an abrupt, disastrous, and humiliating end. Those years were so filled with misery that I still cringe at the thought. And my then-doctor diagnosed IBS without telling me that other meds he had prescribed could have caused those symptoms! The word iatrogenic was invented for situations like that.

auntydeb's avatar

Stress has been mentioned above and if there are no known specific causes, like @Jeruba‘s meds, or @BBSTDfamily’s foods that seriously disagree, then the stress itself can cause spasm and digestive problems. I started having serious lower abdominal pain (LH side) in my early 30’s. It would come on apparently out of the blue, make me feel completely helpless: I’d clutch my gut, go white and effectively collapse. I won’t describe my bowel movements!

After examination, to rule out ovaries/kidneys etc, I was told it was IBS, given some colofac and fibogel (these are proprietary names in the UK). They didn’t really work. Through my employer at the time, I found I could get some private help, eventually, I saw a psychiatrist. Long-story-short, she was great, identified the real prob: Husband.

I had counselling over a period of about 3 or 4 months, let out masses of frustration about a marriage that was floundering in dark misery and eventually realised I had to leave him. That took a while, but it sorted 99% of the IBS symptoms.

When we hear about ‘gut feelings’, the cliche relates directly to the large intestine, which has a crowd of nerves sending messages to our brains and the rest of the body. It is effectively a distant part of the brain itself. The ‘stress’ I was living with was profound and it came out as the pain and embarrassment of IBS. As a result I left Husband, and in the process, found ways to take better care of myself physically. That meant changing diet and lifestyle also.

That was about 20 years ago, most of the symptoms went away immediately. Here’s the PS though, in 1996, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. IBS is identified in many MS patients, this ties in with the neural connections and how stress itself is experienced or processed in MS.

I am still better than I was with first Hubby. My MS is mild, I have control of my limbs and relatively few major symptoms. My reason for adding this is that if you have IBS, there may well be a much deeper reason for it. Personally, I advocate taking a long, serious look at lifestyle and desires. Are you ‘doing’ what you enjoy? Are you leading a life that gives you satisfaction? Do you experience niggling doubt, or a tiny intake of breath every now and then about some aspect of your lifestyle, or your relationships with others?

Advice, such as it is: listen to the messages from your nerves, from your deepest bodily functions and check out the areas of your life that might be undermining health. IBS itself is often considered ‘minor’ by Docs, as it does not generally lead to other conditions and often can be treated. But, if you can make changes that lead to a more comfortable existence, make them. This is not a warning about MS, it is unlikely you have that! Just to say that the symptoms are there for a reason: to draw attention to something that may not be right in part of your life.

I believe the mild nature of my MS is down to the care I learned to take as a result of the IBS; it sits in my past as a timely warning of possibly worse to come. As it is, I am pro-active in my own care, preferring to use diet and natural therapies to support my health.

Hope this helps!

echotech10's avatar

My personal experience with IBS is that I have it myself. Fortunately for me, it is in a very mild form, but it is there. Ususally with me, stress triggers it more than anything. The symptoms last about 24 hours at worst. On average, when I have a flare up, it lasts maybe 8–12 hours and I need to make sure I am always within close proximity to a toilet and have a change of underwear just in case I don’t make it to the toilet on time. So far that not making it, only happened to me once. My symptoms are quite simple, actually, diarrhea. I sometimes have had some bloating and abdominal pain prior to the diarrhea. When that happens, I have been known to be on the toilet for up to 45 minutes in one sitting. Also, I have had flare ups where I moved my bowels 7–8 times in one day. My most recent, was just yesterday at work. Fortunately both my co-worker and boss are aware of my IBS, and don’t get bothered by my frequent bathroom breaks when this happens. I have no true trigger foods though, I have noted more flare ups when I would eat something I don’t normally eat, or eat rich or spicy food. With me, diet control doesn’t do a whole lot to control it, my issue is stress control. On days where my stress level is not high, I still have the diarrhea, but not as frequent and I am out of the bathroom in less than 10 minutes. I hope this helps a little bit. Good luck, @Adagio and hope you feel better soon.

tan253's avatar

I have it, I’ve just posted for help – I’ve had it forever and it gets worse but not sure why?
I have an anxiety disorder too but right now I have a sore tummy and can feel stuff in my bowels that wont come out, so it’s not just when you have food.
I have it every morning… cramps, bad bowels and i just want normal bowels PLEASE.
My bowels were so good, until I went through a divorce and court then they fell apart and I haven’t ffigured out how to get them back together. Sorry no advice but will read your post with interest!

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