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IBS

I  have been a sufferer  of what I think is ibs for over 5 months now feeling bloated burning stomach constipation loose stools and blood test came back clear so any advice what I can do its ruining my life any help much appreciated 

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Hi Matty. Sorry to hear that you're struggling. Where are you from and what advice has your doctor given you?

There are plenty of things that can help manage IBS, but it can take a long time to find things that work for you each individual.

There are a number of medications that may help but finding the one that is right for you is a process of trial and error. The UK's NICE clinical guidelines give you a flavour of the types of medication that may help.

There is also a variety of dietary advice out there. People recommend keeping a food diary for a few weeks if you can find out any food that trigger your symptoms. In my experience, if you can't work out what it is within a couple of weeks you may as well give up because it's likely to be more complex than a specific food. A registered dietician can give you the best advice and will probably end up recommending the low FODMAP diet, which cuts out a number of foods that contain carbohydrates your body can't digest but bacteria can, leading to the symptoms you're experiencing. However, just cutting out a few things from your diet can sometimes make a huge difference. Fatty/greasy foods, high-sugar foods, onions, apples and wheat are often big dietary triggers.

Sometimes other lifestyle changes can help. IBS can very quickly demoralise us sufferers, especially if it seems out of control, and things like anxiety and stress can make the IBS worse. You may want to consider seeing if things like counselling help make managing it easier.

Do you remember how your IBS started? Did it come on very quickly, and were there any other health or life events prior to your first symptoms?

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Lost my job just before Christmas then all down hill gut wise I just put it down to being to much food at Xmas so strange to think stress could affect my stomach like this but I know it could be stress related doctor gave some medication related to ibs but no good I find laying down helps and exercise eating bananas and having actimal but still 1day you think it's started to get better next day right back were I started I need something to solid up my stools never thought I would miss having a nice normal poo is there any food types you could recommend ?

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It's so funny how life-changing events can have such unexplained consequences on the gut. I think that might be partly what caused my IBS and I've had some relief doing counselling, CBT and mindfulness. I know what you mean about having a nice normal poo though. When I do, it is close to exhilarating!

Which medication did your doctor give you? There will be others you can try.

As for food, you may want to try eating more soluble fibre. This will help to bulk your stool up, and absorb some of the excess fluid in your gut. Oats are a good example of a soluble fibre. So are things like baked beans but they will likely make your symptoms worse. Take a look at this website for some other ideas: helpforibs.com/diet/fiber1.asp (from the list on that page I'd suggest avoiding wheat-based foods, mushrooms, apples and any tropical fruits as these may make things worse - in fact, anything can make things worse, but these ones are more likely to).

If you find that doesn't work, I'd talk to your doctor about seeing a registered dietitian trained in the low FODMAP diet (and if your doctor says do it yourself, tell him or her that the guidelines say the diet should only be attempted with the support of a trained dietitian).

Make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids. Caffeine can be an irritant so cut that out if possible (or wean yourself off of it if that's easier - trust me that you don't want to go cold turkey!). You can get decaf teas and coffees but I've read somewhere that even coffee itself (decaf or not) can be an irritant, too.

I'm not sure how much of the following is backed up by science, but here is my hypothesis in case that's helpful: if your IBS is stress/anxiety-induced (and it sounds like it might be) there could be several things going on. Your gut might be getting mixed signals from the brain or overreacting to signals. These can trigger your gut to move too fast or too slow. In either case similar things might then be responsible for the symptoms. If food is moving too fast, your body doesn't have enough time to absorb the right amount of liquid from your gut, undigested food makes its way into the large intestine, and bacteria feast on this, creating more by-products that themselves may also trigger some of the IBS symptoms. If your gut is moving too slowly, you may be getting constipation. This also gives bacteria time to move from the large intestine (where they normally are) to the small intestine (where they shouldn't really be). In the small intestine, the bacteria may eat the foodstuffs your body is trying to digest, with their by-products also leading to some of your symptoms. This conditions is known as SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). There are allegedly some tests for this but I don't think they are conclusive (because if your gut is moving too quickly you arguably get the same results). There are treatments for SIBO (antibiotics). If you are given these, I recommend also taking some strong probiotics at the same time and afterwards as there are risks with culling all the bacteria in your gut. I'd also suggest not treating the SIBO until you have your life back on track again, because if you're still anxious it's likely that the SIBO will return. If you think this is a problem, it might be worth asking if your doctor can send you for some short-term counselling.

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Thank you so much for your reply I should go back to the doctors typical male keep putting off just thought bloods OK all symptoms of ibs and he agreed and put me on meberivine  but to start seemed to work but very short lived will after go back try and get a scan or something just don't  like wasting  there valuable  time thanks  for all your tips though very much appreciated 

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Glad my reply was helpful. At this stage, and given your symptoms, I don't think any other scans will help (unless you're referring to SIBO, the test for which isn't a scan). However, if the mebeverine isn't helping I'd ask to try some other drugs instead or if you can increase the dose of mebeverine. Let us know how you get on.

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Hi

Re life-changing events effecting the gut. The brain and the gut apparently have a direct nerve connection with each other hence " gut feeling". How we deal with this is IBS sufferers' big nightmare problem.

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Hi, I was suffering similar problems for about 4 years with all tests and scans coming back fine. I decided to do food elimination myself as everything the doctors had given me to help had no effect and I discovered that i'm dairy intolerant. I cut out gluten as well for a bit but was fine when I put that back in. I also need a low fibre diet as well a's too much fruit and veg makes me bloated and causes painful trapped wind. I wish the doctors had looked at food elimination first or at least along side waiting for tests. Hope you get some answers quickly!

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Thanks  for the reply yes doctor just put me on meberivine no good should push for a scan typical  male think your right apart  from starving myself I am working hard on changing  my diet don't  want to carry on like this much longer making me very moody round family I must try harder. 

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I agree with the above posts, I went down GP route for 2 years to no avail, it was only when I cut right down on wheat and replaced tea and coffee with peppermint tea I started to improve. The simple things. Oh and take a good pre biotic along with eating a activia yogurt each day.  

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Hi there you may have fermentation, you could try garlic tablets for a month and a good probiotic. Cheers

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Thanks I will give it a go.

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It is a condition called SIBBO and carbohydrates encourage its growth. Ask your doctor for a test. Wishing you well

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Thanks. 

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