Just been diagnosed with IBS, going into final year in university and can't afford to let it take over my life

hi - I'm 21 and have lived with IBS for nearly a year and a half however have only been diagnosed within the last month. Initially I was referred to a specialist after :2 sets of blood tests, carried out 6 months apart, came back positive for coeliac disease. I had an endoscopy and a colonscopy both of which came back clear. The specialist informed me he was diagnosing it as IBS and left it at that. I have taken loperamide, colofac and bucospan. I also have eliminated most dairy produce from my diet and take peppermints and peppermint tea. There is rarely a day that goes past where I don't take loperamide. I'm finding it really hard to cope and the thought of the year ahead of me makes me more anxious. I find the whole situation very embarrassing and difficult to talk about (mainly because of the age group that im in) I have stopped going out socializing with friends because it seems to flare up around these times. I'm very lucky to have an extremely understanding boyfriend who's female friend suffers from IBS on a worse level. Generally i have loose stools cramps headaches tiredness bloated extreme nausea however in the past week the cramps have become agonizingly painful. It has also gotten to he stage where i have the painful cramps and real need to go to the toilet however the stools have become harder and as a result i am in alot of pain. Any advice at all on what steps I should take would be really appreciated!

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  • I like you suffer badly and found i had multiple triggers, i got a complete food and intolerancy test done using a hair sample with a company called Shaping Wellness, they sent the hair to a lab and tested me for 400 different things, it came back with lots of things i had not thought of eliminating, i already had eliminated wheat and dary but it turned out i needed to eliminate all grains except rice millet and bulgar, also the nightshade family which are potatoes, pepers tomatoes. Also all citrus fruits came up. I did the elimination for 3 months and it has made an incredable difference, they also recommended florafiber which is a probiotic in tablet form with a theraputic dose and also a herbal aloe drink. Not looked back and can now have the odd little bit of dairy or bread as long as its a little. I think the key to recovery is finding all the triggers and not every one has the same ones, dairy and wheat are the major but you could have others. Good luck

  • Peppermint gave me heart burn on top of bowel pains etc., mebeverine no help or colofac. gp said buscopan but had already bought over counter no use. Asked for protem pump rabeprazole this did help more than other treatment eventually. As a coeliac for almost 5 years contacted coeliac group which suggested dairy and lactose free.... this did improve matters thank goodness. ( gp said I should listen to them ) that was just take tablets, no other advice. So am greatly improved, hardly need protem pump so well satisfied. At times was pacing up and down lounge in great discomfort. Difficult condition to sort out. I am in older age group and it was difficult to deal with so really togh for younger folk. Hope you find some improvement soon.

  • You poor bugger! Try a completely indulgence relaxation class or exercise when the pain really hits as it focuses the mind, try something like yoga or pilates, it works on the bowel to make that huge muscle relax, it will make you fart but that's what you want. Speak to your doctor about medication changes or ask to have your diet FODMAPPED, it's a new diet to help with i.b.s! Good luck, what are you studying at uni?

  • Thanks everyone! I tried to get the doctors to test me for different possible allergies but they are very reluctant to do this. Thankfully peppermint tea usually gives me some relief and I definitely intend on researching local yoga classes to see if they help any. I am studying teaching and final year will involve 2 dissertations and a 6 week teaching placement plus exams. Considering that I am a person who gets highly stressed very easily I feel that, mixed with IBS, it is a recipe for disaster :/

  • I've had moderate-severe IBS-D for 6 years now but only officially diagnosed 4 years ago. I'm 24 and going into my second of four years at uni and I'm a very stressy person so I can relate to how you feel!! I've had all the tests and I've done all the diets and dietary help like lactose free, gluten free, you name it, I've tried it over the last 6 years. I had a YorkTest done as well some years ago, had numerous combos of medications and only now can I feel like I've got it under some control!

    I regularly have 'duvet days' that my university are aware of and my uni are actually very helpful to me through their disability support (IBS is considered a disability in universities so they have to help you out where they can). I take loperamide daily and often take the maximum dose as well as codeine phospate for the diarrhoea, I'm on buscopan for the cramping and bloating which comes every day and I take lansoprazole for an acid problem which contributes to the whole thing but the medication that I feel has given me much more control on my life is amitriptyline.

    I have a minor spine issue that meant during my exams last year I was getting twitching and numbness in my legs and back pain and I was stressed even more due to a bereavement in the family. My legs and back were in so much pain and I couldn't sleep so my gp put me on amitriptyline for the back/sleeping. It helped me so much during my exams but I noticed it made such a change in my IBS; less cramps, less night-waking and easier to manage diarrhoea. My IBS specialist had said two years beforehand that I could try amitriptyline for my IBS in future so my gp had no problem keeping me on it :D I take 60mg for my IBS and I got through my exams this year with less problems!

    In addition, my specialist said that wholegrains are an IBS sufferer's nightmare. Even though doctors tell people to put more fibre in their diet through wholegrains, they somehow irritate the gut in IBS sufferers and make symptoms worse and I've avoided them for two years now. Obviously, this means that my diet isn't as healthy as I eat white breads and such but it's a price I pay for better symptoms. I find peppermint tea a help as well with bloating, the capsules never made a difference which is odd! Also, as a female, he said that gynaecological/endocrine and migraine issues go hand in hand with IBS for some reason so if you have any additional gynaecological problems or migraines, these can have an effect and should be checked out (just a little addition, just in case!)

    Sorry for the essay but I know how you feel and I thought the extra info could be helpful! Good luck with everything! x

  • i am in exactly the same position as you i went through something like a 5 month face of chronic diarhea an was hopsitalised , were i was then referred on to a specialist were i had same test as you done :( i suffer with the same symptoms as you but have attempted to keep mine under control by eatin gluten and wheat free products aswell as dairy free. im finding it works better for me however now i have series of constipation an bloating which can be really painful an cause nausea .. i also cut out high fibre like fruit an limit myself to one a day at the most to avoid diarhea as if i have any am in pain, so i just take multi vits to keep me healthy.

    also like u i suffer with anxiety as it is really embarassing an beeing a toilet shy person i worry about being caught out when am out so i avoided going out with not only my friends but my family too for like 6 months ... but gradually i lernt i couldnt let it ruin my life so i attempted walking the dog gradually getting further an going out in a close area to were i live .. at one point i considered going on anti depressents to help which i had seen on here an i still am considering but meanwhile i have been taking anti anxiety herbal tablets from holland an barrat which i think are working. i also got myself in a routine were i get myself up say 3-4 hours before i go to work to makesure my tummy settles before i leave that way if it is off i have time to take tablets and time for them to work effectively before i go :) ... get urself into a routine an it will help with anxiety and also cut out the fatty foods, dairy and gluten an wheat

    i hope this helps as i can really relate to you, i am also dreading next year with the stress that is why i am also looking for solutions to deal with it as the hospital basically jus said this is what youve got get on with it an try not to get stressed which wasnt much help !! so let me know if you hear anything that may help as im also looking for more help advice .. but i hope what ive said helps x

  • Thanks so much everyone! I'm starting the elimination diet this week to see if I can spot any other triggers. I'm also trying to get an appointment at a Jan de Vries clinic (don't know if any of you have heard of it) I've also realized that I may have had an extremely bad spell last week as I had just finished a short course of antibiotics (probably very obvious to all of you but I didn't pick up on it straight away) I get gluten free pasta on prescription and as not nice as it tastes I definitely find it easier to digest and don't get as many cramps with it so il invest in some of the 'genius' gf bread from tesco (much more edible)

    Bobz20 I will definitely try the herbal tabs, I'm 2 weeks away from the start of the new semester and can barely sleep these nights at the thought of it!

    So far my university have been very understanding but that's when we all thought I was coeliac, I hope that they're as understanding when they realize that it's 'just' IBS (people seem to adopt this attitude - particularly doctors)

    Definitely going to look into the York test, as much info as I can get the better!! Thanks so much again everyone!

  • yeah i know the feeling hun there jus like its only ibs but only if they knew its true affect they jus show nievity. an am the same 2 weeks an dreading it :( but we gottah take it day as it comes an if we have a bad day or bad spell we gottah get on with it. just think its only one year left !! besides i dont know about u but am only in 2 hours a day now an only like 3 days a week which is good :)

    tbh i am still looking for more coping ways myself as i am stressor an dont want my condition to get worse because of this, but to avoid stress am gunna get all my work an notes done at once so am always prepared that way i shouldnt have a reason to stress

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