I suffer with Severe IBS - At whits end now

Hello all and thank you for taking the time to read this post. It will more than likely end up being super long and probably boring in parts but bear with me.

My name is Richard and I have worked for the Ambulance service now for 4.5 years. I am about to qualify as a paramedic which is my life long goal and the job I love 1000000% and would never change it in the slightest.

I have suffered what I would call IBS symptoms for about 15 years that I can remember but I am sure there are times before that but I was too young to remember. It would just be very random bouts out of the blue. I would get severe cramps, bloating, colic and then once I passed a motion that got the "irritation" feeling out the bowel it would all settle down and nothing would happen again.

I was Nieves at this point and didnt really think too much of it. I lived with it.

When I worked on the none emergency side of the ambulance I worked 8 hour shifts and climbed after work nearly every day. I ate chicken/sausage pieces with pasta in a cheese and bacon sauce, it was nice and then occasionally a cheat day I had other stuff, Nothing really set me off and it was nice.

Then I started working 12 hour shifts which stopped the climbing regular and the food also. Occasionally on a night shift I would get horrible diarrhoea and I thought maybe again it was just some tummy bug but it was always with a night so then a pattern started to emerge. I had also worked out that some onion and other foods would set me off so was avoiding these.

Did i forget to mention something happened when I was about 10 that stopped me eating fruit and veg (I cannot remember what it was and mum cant, so was it something like my IBS issue or an allergy (I am partially allergic to nuts) that caused me to go off fruit and veg?).

I started to get constipated a lot, i was given all types of laxatives until fybrogel and movicol seemed to work well. I developed severe hemorrhoids which had to be operated on. The operation did the trick but in getting rid of them I then developed more issues.

1. What I was told was Severe IBS and intolerances

2. I would go to the toilet and then in about 30 mins after I would need to clean myself again which when working with patients was horrible.

I started back on shifts which were 2 days 2 nights 4 days off.

I would be okay on the days, first night sometimes diarrhoea or the second night it would be. I would then go home ill and have 10 - 30 bouts of water diarrhoea over the next 24 hours. I was loosing weight fast. Doctors did emergency tests and found nothing sinister so gave me loperimide which did help. I would then get well for the day shifts and it would start again.

I couldnt live like this. Specialists started doing tests, had exams on back side and then a colonoscopy which had to be aborted due to me screaming in pain even on entonox and sedation.

Then i had an MRI exam which showed nothing up

Bloods and stool samples were negative so a label of IBS was branded on me.

I have been living like this now for 2 years and my GP has tried me on amitryptiline for the IBS and also mild depression but that worked but not as he wanted so changed me to fluoxetine the other week and my emotional state took a dive

Did i mention my mum been fighting cancer a year, has been in hospital nearly 4 months on and off during my exam period at Uni.

Also I had a complaint at work when mum was diagnosed and a bad paediatric case too.

I have become intolerant to pork, To oats and countless other things which sometimes i can eat, othertimes makes me ill.

I cut out wheat and its helped me loose a stone in a month but also made me feel less bloated.

I used to go to work and burp and feel sick all day and that was days and nights, I was anxious about my bowels being bad so I became bad.

I started hypnotherapy which has helped a little but not a huge amount.

I went to occy health and the were useless in my request to come off nights, which would have helped me for a bit I think.

Does this all sound like IBS or what, I am at whits end and cannot take much more of this. All I have been eating the last few weeks is Rice crispies with coco pops and some chocolate buttons.

Occasionally trying some wheat free breads and chicken and cheese, beef burgers that as 99% beef which just salt and pepper.

My love life is none exsistant and my body seems to now fear everything, I love climbing but I seem to have lost a fair biut of confidence with that too.

I sit here typing this with sweaty palms and sweaty feet. I get like that thinking about IBS and also about climbing and work and arghhhh please help me...

17 Replies

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  • This seems like the typical sort of thing I've suffered through the last few years. Got a positive for a literally irritated bowel section. IBS is such a loky of tricks and day stopping practical butt jokes but it really can be serious when it stops you doing things. Your random routine won't be helping but if at all possible, eat at around the same times and take one loporamide daily as routine with multi vits just to boost you. I get by on a smallish porridge AM, protein shake and brown bread tuna sandwich PM and brown rice and salmon with coconut oil mixed in for about 6pm. Regular taking of Mebeverine with two eats a day helps me also. Being a paramedic it can't be easy to relax but as much breathing from the diaphragm and not the shoulders as possible will aid that. Good luck.

  • That sucks. I'm sorry you're having a rough go. Have you tried the FODMAPS diet? That helped me find a lot of my triggers. Corn is also a problem for me and it is everywhere, sauces, baked products, gluten free products, etc. Maybe you have an issue with something similar. IBS made me a diligent label reader and forced me to cook most of my own food. Premade food and eating out is a gamble. I found downloading an ap for my phone to record symptoms and foods eaten to be very helpful in tracking suspect food. Stress also plays a big role in my symptoms, perhaps it does for you as well.

  • Coco pops and rice krispies are not wheat free unless you have bought special ones. You can be sensitive to wheat without having the coeliac label.

    You are in a very stressful job with lots of personal things affecting you at the moment so they could be affecting you.

    Try to take a couple of hours for yourself to climb or just hillwalk as an option which doesnt require so much concentration.

    Perhaps you could try fruit and veg again, you are an adult now and things we hated as children can often now be tolerated.

  • Yeah I know it contains barley malt extract but its not irritating me like anything when i ate home made bread or store bought items with wheat in it.

    Its not that easy when you panic when trying to eat fruit and veg. I am physically unable to even put it in my mouth. Its like a magnet pushes me away. I hate that part of me but nothing yet has changed that.

  • hi,I know how you are feeling,I have been searching for 20yrs and spent a fortune looking for something that will help,I,m now trying enterosgel it is expensive but has good reviews on amazon and Holland and barrett (in uk),vSL3 probiotic is also good.

  • Hi there,

    The pork intolerance is interesting. It may not be to the pork itself but what is pumped into the pork. You may find you can digest what you buy fresh from a quality butchers OK, but not what comes filmed off a supermarket shelf. Have a look at this article- it may well help you: sickofibs.com/ibs-triggers/...

    As you have had IBS for a while, you could ask your doctor to see if you have bacterial overgrowth. This can also be behind new food intolerance.

    Sounds like you have had a lot of stress to deal with too. You might find that just going and talking to a professional lets you unload some of what you've been going through.

    IBS isn't just about food:)

    Hope this helps,

    Alison

    PS. I have beaten my IBS

  • I cant eat any pork, I used to eat it all the time but any pork, fresh or store bought and I am very ill.

  • Certainly sounds like it has become one of your triggers:(

  • Have you asked wether you would qualify for hypnotherapy re the fruit and veg problem? I know there are cut backs but it might be worth asking.

  • have asked, im paying for it but its not for that yet, next session i hope to ask to tackle it.

  • Hi there sounds like you have been through a lot. I developed IBS after a stressful few years and my IBS is always worse when stressed or anxious. Have you tried any other form of counselling to help with stress? Just wondering if your IBS is mainly stress related?

    Have you thought about getting a food sensitivity test - might highlight other issues such as dairy? Have you looked at the FODMAP diet?

    It certainly sounds like IBS but also stress/anxiety. Do you get much chance to relax and do you sleep ok? It's frustrating but am sure you will eventually figure out what your triggers are so you can manage it.

    Good luck

    X

  • Have you been tested or looked into whether you have Bile Salt Malabsorption? Your symptoms sound a lot like what a friend of mine suffers with the diarrhoea & not being able to eat anything. It might be worth some research. Also IBS is classed as a disability due to the impact it has on people's daily lives and your employer should be doing everything they can to support you to be able to get to work/ger through the working day. I would suggest speaking to Union rep and taking that further, as it is clearly having a massive effect on you. So sorry you're going through all this, we all know how horrendous it is. Hope you get something sorted.

  • Thank you for the suggestion, I will have a look into that and see if any symptoms match.

    I will also speak to management/union about that thank you.

  • I think it would be worth it AmboRichard,especially the work issue. I think a lot of us are so used to just suffering with IBS and having to cope we dont ever actually think of it as a disability. The adjustments made at work for me made a huge difference so even though you are having a hell of a time right now, it will be worth the effort. Under the Equality Act 2010 it states- 'You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.' A long term condition is anything thats gone on for 12months or more. Even if it is a condition that is well managed by medication etc the fact that without those things you would be unwell everyday means you are protected by law and your employer must make 'reasonable adjustments' to help aid in managing your condition(such as changing working hours/shift patterns, extra sick leave or tolerance, giving you extra breaks, making sure you're near a toilet etc). Hope you can get something sorted as I think it will at least ease some of your stress. Best of luck & keep us updated. x

  • Do you get any pain at all ?

  • This sounds like me! I was given the diagnosis of IBS 16 years ago and have tried meneverin, fibogel some, lactulose and various gels..i too have found that I am intollerent to lots of things.. but the main one is fibre! In some cases it's supposed to help IBS but with me it's has the complete reverse effect! Maybe it's the same for you... fruit give me the runs... it's a bit of a nightmare really but I'm ok with fibre in really small amounts..so maybe consider that it's not wheat but fibre!

    I saw a dietitian a few years back and she advised me that the cramps from IBS is caused by the intestine not breaking food down and therefore to make sure I chew everything properly before swallowing.. since then I can eat meats without experiencing pain so worth a try!

    Similarly to you since 18 (now 34) I too have suffered from excruciating external haemorrhoids..I had banding about two years ago which did some good as they weren't as bad after but now having a severe burst of them again! Absolute no change in my diet and I don't feel stressed so the docs don't know why it happens..But I too seep after cleaning myself and sometimes have to repeat for the following couple of hours! I can't suggest anything to help with this as I'm yet to find the answer..

    I know I haven't really helped your situation but I just wanted to let you know that your are not alone!

  • I really feel for you. I have had Severe IBS for four years now. I have tried everything. Including medications. Accuputure, Cognitive Behavior Therapy,,diets,Hypnosis, even Adhesion surgery (removed adhesions from my colon)Still have pain every day, no matter what I eat. I am not telling you this to get you discouraged. I still hope that I will find something that works for me. I hope you find something that works you.

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