So I've recently started experiencing severe IBS symptoms - how do I stop the diarrhoea?

So my symptoms have worsened after a bout of gastroenteritis. It's becoming increasingly difficult to keep food in as I am persistent diarrhoea, it's beginning to affect me mentally as I'm scared to eat anything - which is affecting other parts of my body as I'm not taking in and nutrients. How can I ease the loose stools??? Please help - as I'm very fed up :(

27 Replies

  • Any help is greatly appreciated, it's really getting me down :(

  • Hello I am having a similar problem at the moment as I have a an almighty flare up and I have been having the most horrendous pains when eating, I even took myself to the hopsital the other night, I was in so much pain, I am scared to eat Iike you are but the one thing they told me to try whilst my symptoms slowed down was immodium tablets, as they are referring me back to the gasto unit, I have not taken any yet but I will try some, I have permenant diarrhoea anyway, It never goes away but get worse if it can, I dont know it this will help you ?? good luck.

  • Hi Sezzy

    I do understand how you are feeling as for around the last year or so my IBS has become much worse. It is really making my life awful and have had a couple of incontinent moments which has been horrendous. I had every test under the sun including a colonoscopy which showed nothing so obviously I was told I had IBS (which I seem to have had for around 30 years). I just went to New York for 5 days which was great but my IBS was awful and for the 5 days I hardly ate anything and had bad diarrhoea and I felt I ruined the holiday for my daughter. I have to go back to work tomorrow and I am sitting here with stomach cramps and am really fed up and am feeling very depressed. I myself have tried Imodium tablets, but do not find that they really work. I tend to use Collis Browns liquid which seems to warm my insides when taken, but I am sure that you must not take any of these products for a long term solution, but what can be done, it also seems that it is whatever I eat sets it off these days. Anyone help please.

  • Hi, I fully sympathise with you in think for people who don't know what it feels like, it's hard for them to understand. I know in the past when I've had gastro. Codeine phosphate has worked? I'm hoping that the doc will prescribe me the same this time around.

  • Thanks for the reply. I will look into the Codeine phosphate.

  • You have all my sympathy. I have only recently been diagnosed with IBS but an sure I have it for about 10 years. I know exactly how you feel especially about holidays as you don't want to appear like some hypochondriac talking about your tummy all the time others just don't understand. I have recently turned a corner by sticking to the fodmap a diet when it flares up. I also now take heathers acacia powder. This seems to have done the trick. I still watch what I eat. Hope this is helpful.

  • Thanks for your reply. I am going to try and start the FODMAP diet and will look into the heather acacia powder. Hope you manage to keep it under control.

  • Thanks Sezzy, I had a similar experience and they prescribed me some buscopan to help with tummy cramps a dvthey do work. Will have to give the Imodium a go as I have to go back to work tomorrow!! Docs no help, as they keep saying it will pass?!!

  • Hi I can totally relate to what your going through I have had persistent loose stools for years I am always changing my diet but nothing seems to improve i can recommend the immodium but only when it is taken regular i take 3 every day only problem is it causes wind and painful constipation. Hope it helps i know how difficult it can be with work and day to day duties. xx

  • Hi Laura - thanks for your message. I've not taken Imodium so far, I've tried pysillum husk which acts as a bulking agent and that is helping slightly. It always seems to be worse in the morning, but i only want to the Imodium if I really have too. Im planning on seeing a Chinese herbalist as I've heard lots of good things. I will let you know how I get on x

  • Hi I was getting loose stool all the time

    So I went to my gp's and they have reduced one of my tables Reflux tablets to 10mg

  • Thanks Leah- I'm not on any prescription medicine so maybe they will put me on something?

  • Sounds terrible. So sorry for you have you tried putting yourself on a FODMAP diet for about six weeks to get your gut built up with so liable fibre. From. monash university. I haves also started taking Heathers acacia fibre which is brilliant my IBS has really settled down with this and I have been able to eat small amounts of insoluble fibre lately more of a normal eating pattern. Hope this is helpful.

  • Hi all , this is my first post on this forum , but unfortunately not my my first with regards to IBS flare ups ! I can relate to you all when it comes to this horrible illness. I think the worst part is a lack of understanding from my GP, who seems to send me away every-time with a prescription for mebeverine, antriptymine, or a bag full of immodium !!

    I have tried several dietary methods over the 10 - 15 years, high fibre , low fibre , no dairy , no milk , and more recently, a gluten/wheat free diet. I found the latter helps with the stomach cramps, but in the last two- three months my ibs seems to have reached new levels.

    I have diarrhoea most mornings , which I control with immodium . I take three mebeverine per day, and buscopan if the cramps return. I lead a pretty depressing existence with regards to my bowls ,although I try to think positive ,and that maybe one day I will find the cause.

    I personally feel work stress is a major cause , as I work in a busy transport office, which although I feel I cope with easily ,the stress seems to go to my stomach , even though I dont particularly feel stressed , if that makes any sense.

    . Changes in my home life seem to trigger events also , like having work done round the house , or even just changes in shift pattern , holidays or family events.

    I would be interested to know more about the FODMAP diet ,and the chinese herbal method, so any feedback would be most welcome.

    Thanks ..x

  • Hi Paulus,

    Please see my reply to hema111 below re. the low FODMAP diet, hope it helps.


  • Have you tried self-hypnosis. I, like you have had IBS for many years (26) since a very serious dose of delhi-belly in the middle east and can identify your struggles as I have gone through all the things you have. The CD at least helped to conquer the anxiety associated with it and I use it as a constant reminder that I will at least cope, if not conquer, the dreaded disease. I am just about to embark on FODMAp so wish us both good luck!!

  • Hi Hema111,

    I can't recommend the low FODMAP diet highly enough to anyone with the sort of IBS symptoms you describe and the following is my standard response to anybody who I think might benefit from it. Sorry it's a bit lengthy, but there's so much bad and outdated info out there on the web and, if you get it wrong, it won't work, so take a deep breath and read on:

    The diet was (and is still being) developed at Monash University in Australia, so its website is the best place to start at – just put FODMAP into the search box on its homepage and you'll get there. If you have an iPhone there’s an app you can download from there, which will also be available for android in September, and a booklet you can send for.

    An American dietitian called Patsy Catsos has written an excellent book about FODMAPs called 'IBS - Free At Last' (available from Amazon) which follows the Australian model very closely and contains all the info you need to get going. She also has advice on which food additives to avoid which is really useful.

    I didn't find the NHS guidelines for the diet either as strict or as good as Monash's so stuck with what Monash said along with Patsy's book which became my bible.

    When you first read about FODMAPs, you'll wonder what on earth you're actually left with to eat, but you do get used to it. The diet isn't meant to be a life sentence; what it does is to cut out all the food groups which contain the most likely suspects, making it easier to work out what suits you and what doesn't. I found that there were several 'safe' FODMAP foods which weren't safe for me at all, but these were easily identifiable as my menu was so small.

    Once you get a real improvement in your symptoms, you then start to reintroduce the different food groups back into your diet one at a time to see which affects you and in which way. After 8 months, I can now eat from all the food groups with very few problems and have identified all my triggers.

    I was amazed when I got a result from FODMAPs within 4 days although it can take several weeks for other people, so don't give up if you don't have an immediate result.

  • Thank you so much Paganmoon, I will look into the FODMAP diet and hopefully find a solution in there somewhere!

  • Thanks paganmoon , I have made an appointment to see the doctor , nd have downloaded a pdf poster to keep me on the right track. I'm pretty sure my GP will try to talk me out of it , but I am determined to give it go.

    I will keep you posted on my progress.

    Just a quick question, does anyone know if soya milk is ok on fodmap, as it is a little unclear on the information provided.

  • Opinions on soya products vary, so you'll have to try that one out and see how it goes for you. Your GP should be behind this diet rather than against it as all NHS dietitians in England are now trained in it.

  • Hi again, my doctor was surprisingly positive about the FODMAP diet ,although he did admit he knew nothing about it.

    He has referred me to a dietician , to guide me through any issues / questions I might have with the diet, and its possible consequences.

    He has also prescribed me co- codomol , two in the morning, two at night, which along with the mebeverine has made me constipated , which is the desired side effect of the co codomol apparently ? Shouldnt complain I suppose, as I had to rush to the loo every morning, and lost half a stone before breakfast !!

    Does any one else find that it makes you extremely tired ? It also has strangely positive effects in the bedroom department !

    My missus isnt complaining anyway !

    Feedback on cocodamol would be appreciated as I couldnt see myself taking it long term.



  • Hi Paul,

    I'm pleased to hear that your GP was so positive about FODMAPs - at least he knew about it, many doctors still don't. As I said in my post above to hema111, the NHS version of the diet isn't as strict as Monash's and recommends a lot of processed products which I find it best to stay away from wherever possible as they contain a lot of yucky additives. There's a brilliant iPhone app available from Monash (android version to be released in September) which is great when you're out for a meal or shopping.

    I've been taking high-strength (45mg codeine twice daily) co-codamol for 3 years now, but for spinal pain rather than IBS. It does have a soporific, relaxing effect, which I think helps with diarrhoea symptoms for some people, although definitely not for all.

    I highly recommend a book by Prof. John Hunter called 'IBS Solutions', it had some real lightbulb moments for me and I refer to it a lot. It allowed me to realise that whilst most of my symptoms were down to food intolerances (sorted out by FODMAPs), those that I was left with had a different cause which I now know how to sort out.


  • Hello -

    This is my first post. "I'm not alone"!!!! The last 18mos have been horrendous and the Drs. don't seem to know what to do and really don't seem to think that it is anything serious. I'm sure they think that I am a hypochondriac being I have several other problems but they have proven that I do have them so who knows.

    On one of the other forums that I am on we were talking about this "loose bowels" problem and some have said that their Dr. has put them on Questran and it has helped greatly. I have just asked my Dr. to let me try it but haven't had an aswer yet.

    Forgive me, but for me the term "loose bowels" doesn't quite describe the problem. 30min or so after eating, better be near a bathroom AND wearing a "Depends" with a spare in your bag. My husband worries about me because I don't eat like I should because of this tho' I can eat chinese food. -:) When we need to go shopping it is done before eating. Got caught in the middle of a Super WalMart once - and without a Depends - not good. Times like that are when I just want to check into the hospital and say "Fix it and I'm not leaving until you do". LOL

    The diet sounds interesting and I intend to check it out.

    I am 71years young and this is not the way I had planned on living my senior years.

    Sorry for the long post. -:(

  • are you taking any meds..could be part of the problem.. Lanzoprazole made me ill..dont be put off there must be something you can do. Its so embarrassing when you cannot control your bowels. x

  • Hi Tumbleweed.

    I know what you mean. I'm 67 and a very motivated and positive person and I could cope when at work because I worked not far from home and because of a routine it was easier and was seldom far from a toilet. Now having been retired 6 years, looked after my brother for 6 months after a mental breakdown and then my mother and father (sometimes I think I was more ill than them and they were looking after me!) who died this May and last October respectively I am now trying to get my life back together. I tried self-hypnosis from which consists of 5 CD's which you listen to every day for 100 days. It helped quite a bit although I have had relapses since finishing it in March when I go back to feeling 'what is the point of living if you can't actually go anywhere or do anything'. I thought at one time it would even be better to have a colostomy bag than going through all the stress that this causes. I cannot travel on buses or trains nor go to theatres which I used to love. I have just sent for a card to hand to people which explains why I need to use their toilet in a hurry - you can get awfully embarrassed rushing into shops, offices and pubs with a desperate look on your face (and I often shake a bit and sweat which isn't exactly pretty either). I also dash into bushes when walking my dog in the park which is really embarassing if walking with someone else and impossible in winter as no foliage so have to walk in fields. Not only do I miss the company and interaction, I do too. My diet changes regularly as I try different things and just about to start with the Fodmap one which I hadn't heard about before. I use Immodium primarily but unfortunately although It can bung me up for a day I invariably end up with constipation the next day and then start the whole damn cycle again. I also have medication for hypertension and it doesn't mix with everything. It's living from day to day and I am trying really hard to find an answer and go on holiday abroad with my son and family as a psychological reason to get better! Good luck to both of us and all other retirees who are having their longed-for retirement plans scuppered. Retirement shouldn't be like this - I had so many plans..........

  • I highly recommend the book 'Irritable Bowel Solutions' by Professor John Hunter. It helps you to identify what type of IBS you have (there are more than you think) and what to do about each one.

    You could also try the low-FODMAP diet which I've written about in this thread above.


  • I've been taking codeine right before food for some time now ( about 30mg) per day and it stops the diarrhoea. You can find codeine in over the counter Nurofen Plus. I would like to stop at some point but have not found anything else that works. this way I can eat anything and not worry about being out etc. Any ideas on alternative are welcome. I cannot diet for the life of me but I will try to look up the FODMAP which everyone mentions. Thanks for sharing people!

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