IBS C- chronic idiopathic constipation

Hi All, I'm new to this forum. I have been "diagnosed" with IBS/Chronic idiopathic constipation. I am at a loss as to what to do. The strangest thing about my problem is that it seemingly came out of nowhere. I live in Australia and about 8 months ago went travelling to the UK and throughout Europe. A few days after arriving in the UK was when my symptoms started. A complete loss of sensation and urge to have a bowel movement as well as bloating were my main symptoms. I travelled for nearly 2 months and only had one proper bowel movement during this time which was after taking a stimulant laxative. I had tried adjusting my diet to include more fibre, cutting out dairy and gluten, nothing worked. Tried taking all fibre out of my diet to see if that worked to no avail. I have been back home for 6 months now and the symptoms are exactly the same. I have had a CT scan, faecal tests and blood tests and all have come back negative. My doctors have told me I need to accept this and get on with life taking laxatives for the rest of my life (which don't really work for me). I have close family history of small bowel cancer (mother) and ulcerative colitis (father). I am very stressed. I am booked in for a colonoscopy soon, which my specialist said was a bit unnecessary and would most likely show nothing so that's what I'm expecting. I have never had problems with being regular every before in my life. I am 24 years old and refuse to live like this. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? I am convinced it has something to do with bacteria/pathogens. Any personal experiences/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys :)

17 Replies

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  • Hi Eleanor - sorry for your troubles. I have lived with chronic constipation most of my life. I have tried colon cleansing and had scans etc etc. I have realised now (54 years) that it is something I have to learn to live with and control myself. I have read that probiotics can help the good bugs in your system. If you have given up dairy, does that mean yoghurt too? Yoghurt contains probiotics. So perhaps look to getting some another way. I too have gone the fibre free, dairy free and gluten free route - with no change. Senna tea seems to help flush me out- so I try do this twice a week. Good luck with it all, and I hope your colonoscopy is negative and you don't have any serious.

  • Hello Kim, thanks for your reply. I do realise that this may be something that I may have to deal with for the rest of my life, which is depressing, and I am slowly coming to terms with it however I am going to continue to try and find an answer. What I find strange about it is that it happened so suddenly. All of my life I have been 100 per cent regular, after every meal pretty much, no problems at all. One day everything just stopped working and it seems as if the travel, or the contraceptive pill that I tried shortly before my trip, sparked this problem. I am convinced something has happened that can be reversed. I am now eating yoghurt with live cultures, but finding no relief. I take laxatives fairly regular as I simply have to. Did your symptoms come out of nowhere or have you always struggled with being regular to some degree? Have you heard of Professor Borody's research in this field by any chance? I find it very interesting. If you haven't already I suggest you have a look at this link: cdd.com.au/pages/disease_in... I have an appointment at his clinic in a months time so will see what they have to say about my situation, worth a try at least. Thanks for the tip on the senna tea - I will give this a go. I take coloxyl with senna occasionally or use movicol to flush myself out if I'm feeling particularly "backed-up". I have recently tried acupuncture with chinese medicine but that seemed like more of a Band-Aid fix.

  • Thanks for that link. I will check it out. The constipation is something I have lived with forever, but it seems to have gotten worse with age! I had a colon cleansing once, and she told me I have an unusually long colon which may have something to do with it. Also, try find something called kombucha - delicious to drink and is meant to help add good bugs to the system. Keep me posted as to how you get on with things.

  • That link is really interesting, thanks for posting it and hope you are now finding some improvement ?

    I have suffered with Chronic Constipation for years which was diagnosed as IBS - C and so am always interested in what other people find helpful and your theory about a trigger for its onset is also interesting. I hope you find more answers.

    Did you go to the clinic and if so how did you get on ?

    x

  • Hi Di-Mac,

    I went to my first appointment with the CDD on Friday. The doctor is certain it's caused by a pathogen and has put me on the vancomycin and rifaxamin combination, I'm meant to stay on hear antiobiotics for 2 months. He is very confident that I will be able to poo again very soon, but I will believe it when I see it. Today is day 3 of the antiobiotics and I have seen a little change but not much, early days though, I will keep you updated. Did your IBS-C start suddenly too?

  • Unfortunately I have had a problem with constipation for more years than I care to remember so can't pin point when it started but after numerous tests they have put it down to IBS-C.

    I also had Endometriosis and as that was extensive I had a total hysterectomy and they hoped it might improve my bowels too if it was a contributory but it hasn't.

    I have an MRI tomorrow but not really expecting it to show anything, (not that I want it to show anything bad obviously) just clutching at straws for something to show that can be put right I guess.

    I have also just been prescribed Constella, with a plan to add a pain killer if the Constella works and then a strong probiotic. I took the Constella for two days but it gave me such a horrid sick feeling and terrible bloating and churning stomach and the feeling of uncertainty that I have had to stop for the time being and revert to usual meds but may give it another try after I have got this week over.

  • Ah that's a real shame to hear. Constipation is horrible, especially when it's chronic, it rules your life, at least I know it certainly rules mine. Have you ever been on antibiotics and seen any results? Fingers crossed for me, if it shows results it could help a lot of miserable and sick people

  • No I haven't.....please do let me know how you get on.

    Yes you are right, it is horrible and like with many things in life, unless you experience it yourself people don't realise..

  • Do you take a magnesium supplement? I take mine at night... Works wonders.

  • Sorry only just seen this! I tried magnesium citrate once but did nothing except make me massively bloated, though I only took one fairly large dose at night, I didn't persist with it. I really hate feeling bloated, the constipation is terrible enough let alone having a huge belly to remind me and everyone else of it :(

  • Try some oil of peppermint at night. That should do it.

  • Thanks Daisy, how do you take it and what dose?

  • I take 1 200 milligrams capsule at night if I'm bloated. Have you tried aloe vera colon cleanse? I am doing it at the moment. It is very gentle. again capsules from the health food store.

  • Hi Eleanor, I've a similar story except I can pinpoint the exact day my symptoms started - 14th July 2009. I know this because I was on holiday and developed food poisoning and have been suffering with IBS-C since. I know what it's like to have very infrequent bowel movements. I had a transit test done in hospital and my gastroenterologist said he hadn't see as bad an X-ray in 20 years! Unfortunately for me laxatives are a way of life. If I don't use them I get faecal impaction and lots of pain whereas if I do take them I'm no longer constipated but will still have pain. Over the years I've started to develop more gastrointestinal symptoms - gastritis and a hiatus hernia. The reason that I got treatment so early is there is a strong history of Ulcerative Colitis in my family - my mum and aunt have it and my great uncle had it before he died of bowel cancer. Luckily it's not Ulcerative Colitis but at the same time I wish there was better treatment for IBS, something that actually worked! Let me know how you get on with the antibiotics! I've a feeling mine is caused by a pathogen as it happened straight after food poisoning, although I doubt after 7 years it would have much of an effect!

  • Hi motoe, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, but I can understand. I take laxatives daily now too, things aren't perfect as long as I'm taking them I can go to the toilet pretty much every day and feel somewhat normal. Doctors aren't helping at all, I read the book "the second brain" by dr Michael Gershon not long ago and he states that most physicians, with patients like us who have chronic constipation with no known origin, actually despise us. This is not our fault whatsoever and is incredibly unfair but it's made me scared to go to the doctor, I don't want to be labelled like that. Anyway, it's interesting you state you've been unwell since food poisoning whilst on holiday, many people that I've spoken to have encountered permanent constipation due to the same thing - it's very common. However I did not get food poisoning or get sick - there wasn't really anything that seemed to trigger it besides the travel which is really bizarre. Nevertheless I do think it either has to do with a pathogen or it's an autoimmune response from the body. The only thing that seems abnormal with me on paper is white blood cell count, it's very low, I have neutropenia and the doctors don't know why and nor do the care! So much speculation from me, I never stop thinking about it. I hope we find an answer soon! And P.S my dad suffers from ulcerative colitis too, he has a colostomy bag now. My mum had small bowel cancer, she died young. Can't help thinking my chances aren't great.

  • That's terrible to say they despise us, although some doctors I've definitely had that impression from. I think the problem is there isn't that many treatment options available to them or that they know of so they're limited as to what they can actually do for us. I know lots of people suffer constipation when traveling so maybe that was the trigger for you? A white blood cell count doesn't sound good, surely that leaves you more open to infection? I'd push them to find out what's causing it. With me I always have low vitamin B12 levels but they've never investigated why and they just push vitamins on me. Strange we both have relatives with UC. I'm sorry to hear about your mum but we can't live life thinking what if! I suppose having IBS at least we're more aware of our symptoms and if something happens hopefully we can get treatment early.

  • As I have said on another post,change to soluble fibre healthy eating,drs will insist giving insoluble fibre,always made me worse

    Instead of counting calories these days they should be telling people to count fibre,most foods are labelled with fibre content. It's surprising how little people eat,solved my problem

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