Solutions for ongoing nausea due to post infectious IBS!

Hey everyone, I'm a 21 year old female suffering from post infectious IBS due to a case of bacterial gastroenteritis I contracted from a tuna sub at subway 7 months ago. Prior to this, my gut was healthy as could be and I hadn't thrown up since a case of the stomach flu I had at 6 years old! My primary symptoms are nausea/vomitting and cramping after every meal. Also I now suffer from chronic constipation. This has honestly taken a huge toll on my life, especially because I have anxiety about getting sick (throwing up) and now I am constantly anxious as I am constantly nauseous! I even had to defer from uni and take a medical leave from work. I have done every test in the books (endoscopy, colonscopy, MRI, CT, tested for parasites, gastric emptying test, you name it) and all have come back negative. I am also on my 6th medication as I've had no luck with previous courses of treatment (and no luck with this one either really). If anyone could suggest ANY solutions they have found for this extremely unpleasant ailment please let me know! I am currently on Pantoloc BID (with no avail), half a dose of restoralax daily for my constipation and 30 mg of Amitryptiline for pain. I have tried numerous probiotics, diet changes as well as seeking the guidance of a naturopath. I'm also being followed by a gastro specialist every 3 months. I honestly feel hopeless and like I'm gonna be stuck like this for the rest of my life (which sucks because I'm only 21). Please help :(

14 Replies

  • 'Hi Ceremic, I am sorry you are suffering this, the only thing I can think of is you still have bad bacteria in your gut. I hope someone on here has an answer for you, and I hope you get the solution very soon. Take care.

  • Hi, How awful for you but you've done absolutely the right thing in getting all these checks and I'm pleased for you that they're all negative.

    I was your age when I had my first bout of IBS only at that time (the 60's) there was no such term. I had all the checks and it was put down to anxiety ( I did have several traumatic things going on then).

    Big changes in lifestyle do seem to have a drastic effect on some people's gut. No surprise as a definite link between brain and digestion has been established.

    Like yourself I'm not particularly prone to stomach bugs.

    I also had this fear of throwing up in public- I never actually did during these fear episodes. I felt that my symptoms seemed much worse that those of people who had been diagnosed with some awful ailment!

    As with any illness (and IBS is an illness albeit one that's diagnosis is for now, complicated) talking to others about it can help a lot. There's loads of IBS sufferers out there.

    I'm sorry I haven't found there's an instant cure but I'm sure things will improve a lot as they did for me. It's not a life sentence by any means. Episodes do pass as the gut is very resilient. Sometimes it just needs a while to sort itself out.

    Best wishes

  • Hello, my naturopath recommended peppermint pills for digestion as well as taking a shot of apple cider vinegar before dinner (because she thinks adding some acid back into my system will help alleviate some of my acid reflux). I have only seen her two times now, so she has not performed any tests on me as of yet. I have, however, seen my gastro specialist for 6 months now and he has ruled out 99% of other possible illnesses by ordering a number of tests. He also almost always switches my meds every time I see him, just to try out a new course of treatment. And no, I had my appendix removed when I was 16 because of an appendicitis attack

  • I've tried peppermint pills and found the best are IB gard. ( clinically tested) I take them 1/2 hour " after' eating not before they do not cause any burping or burning like other brands even though the others were supposed to be enteric coated, I even had problem drinking peppermint tea, but the IB gard seems ok. also have eliminated and refrained for 3 months from ALL grains, even gluten free products, all cow milk products no chocolate, and all kinds of lettuces like romaine, bib, iceberg, red and green boston , tomaot , hig frctose corn syrup. take high potence full spectrum probiotics NO SUGAR It can take 8-12 weeks for gut to heal I know different foods trigger off symptoms for different people, but you must stay away 8-12 weeks, deep breathing exercises before going to sleep and before getting out of bed. also do a few before eating.

  • sounds to me also, that you still have bacteria in your colon or stomach. Can the MD do a stool sample for bacteria or have you had blood work dome checking for bacteria?

  • I understand, but if you are possibly still suffering from some low grade bacterial problem, maybe you can somehow insist on being tested. Where you on antibiotics because it was bacterial?

  • Hi, yes I have had my stool tested before for ovo parasites, and I also had my blood tested for bacteria (more specifically H-pylori). All results came back negative. He also took a small biopsy from my colonscopy to check for parasites/bacteria (especially giardia) which came back negative as well. He most recently ordered one more round of stool testing just to ensure that I don't have giardia and once that's done, he said he'll be 99.9% sure he's ruled out anything dangerous.

  • There are several possible causes of IBS that result from infection, from interruptions to cellular signalling and connections between gut cells, to changes in the balance of bacteria in the gut. If you had antibiotics to counteract the infection, that could contribute to this imbalance, too.

    If your IBS is down to a bacterial imbalance, there is currently some research underway to see if a two-week course of rifaximin (an antibiotic to treat travellers' diarrhoea) can improve IBS symptoms. This use of rifaximin isn't yet approved by NICE, but some of the clinical evidence so far suggests it might work (the only caveat being that the research has been funded by the manufacturer). I considered this course of action but my GP wouldn't got for it but your consultant might be more confident in approving it. If going down that line of treatment, I'd also suggest following it up with a course of expensive probiotics. Both Align and VSL3 have been shown in clinical studies to show some improvement without antibiotics.

    However, this advice is all predicated on the assumption that your symptoms are caused by bacterial imbalances. If not, they might not help at all, and I don't think there are currently any standard clinical tests that explore this, although experimental data does show that there are differences in some bacterial populations in IBS-C and IBS-D sufferers (although correlation is not the same as causation).

    You might have read in the press last year about a test that is supposedly able to tell if you have PI-IBS looking for a couple of markers that appear in the blood ( If this comes out positive it is supposed to prove your IBS is a result of infection. If it's negative it might indicate that your symptoms are psychological rather than physiological; it wouldn't be surprising if you always felt nauseous after eating food if you had such a bad experience. The IBS Network has a blog called where the author (a gastroenterologist-turned-psychotherapist) speaks of his experiences treating patients with IBS with various examples.

    Hope you find a solution.

  • Nope. From the UK. Why do you ask?

  • I am in USA do you have names of functional medicine practitioner are they MDs or nutritionists I have not come across any MD and would be very interested

  • Hello Ceramic. I am so sorry for you. Going through so much at such a young age. I hope you find an answer to help with the distressing symptoms soon. In the meantime, I notice that among other medication, you take 30mg of Amitriptiline. My consultant started me on a low dosage, but I received no benefit from it until I was on 75mg. Since then and coupled with the FODMAP diet, I feel as if I'd been given a new lease of life. We all react in different ways to medication, but just wondered if a higher dosage might at least offer you some respite from the pain. Do let us hear how things go for you. All good wishes to you.

  • Hi Ceremic, I am so sorry that at such a young age you are suffering like this. I was diagnosed with IBS back in 1996 also following a bout of food poisoning. I had a Endoscopy and Colonoscopy and both came back clear.

    I can honestly say that stress certainly makes IBS much worse as I have been suffering very badly with a lot of pain and wind for the past week or so now due to a lot of stress at work. Funnily enough though before I was ever diagnosed with IBS I would regularly wake up at night feeling like I was going to throw up, although I never did, and I had to have a bucket with me just in case I did. I would stay downstairs so as not to disturb my husband. The problems I had then were stress because my relationship with my mother at the time wasn’t good and I found out many years later it was because my horrible brother causing a rift between my mother and I. Luckily enough a few years before she had died we had realised that my brother was the common denominator. What I am saying here though is that it’s a vicious circle, you feel very unwell then you get stressed and you then feel bad again.

    I suffer from the fear of being sick and that is called ‘Emetophobia’ although it’s very rare that I am sick so it’s definitely an irrational fear. If I am genuinely feeling sick though but not through stress then I will take a Stugeron travel sick tablet and they work really well. For the Emtophobia I signed up to Hypnotherapy and it worked as although I do not like feeling sick, well no-one does, I certainly don’t have the irrational fear I had all those years ago. Maybe this would be good for you to de-stress you?

    Oh, and by the way, I take Multibionta by Seven Seas for my IBS and immune system, they are brilliant multivitamins - it's the Multibionta Vitality that I take.

    I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope that things sort themselves out really soon.

  • Hi donu have any back discomfort at all

  • I am so, so sorry to hear what you are going through. I am in a similar situation to you, although I have less nausea (my main symptom is constant stomach pain).  I do have some tips for you that I hope will help.... number one, laying down on your left side. When my mum was pregnant her doctor told her to do this as it can ease nausea (something to do with the way your stomach and organs hang). Bananas, dry toast and crackers are the best thing to eat if you have nausea. Ginger tea is a MIRACLE worker for nausea - every time I feel sick, instead of reaching for my nausea tablets I make myself some ginger tea and it works faster. You can just buy ginger root and chop it up and add it to hot water, or you can buy ginger powder and add a teaspoon to hot water. Peppermint tea is also good. 

    I really hope you start to feel better soon. I am the same age as you and I know how debilitating it feels to constantly feel unwell. All you want to do is feel normal, and at this age you just want to go out and have fun and you feel like you can't.....  Just try to stay positive, try to push all those sad, negative feelings away. Maybe light excercise will help you?  When I have nausea, I lay on my left side, drink some ginger tea, and watch something on the TV that will make me laugh or smile (distraction is so important!)

    Good luck to you!

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