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Anyone have suggestions on managing IBS?

I'm in so much pain.

I keep trying fiber supplements, but it feels like it makes it worse, not better.plus they are disgusting.

I've started drinking peppermint tea as I heard this was helpful. I don't know if it is , but I like it.

I have a few days of feeling fine followed by 1-2 days of misery.

any suggestions, what works for you, what have you read, links etc...would be much appreciated.

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Activia also has cheese now. [Or it might be another company, but someone has cheese, which I think is awesome.]

Try keeping a food diary and listing when your symptoms start and stop. Because it's IBS and not a food allergy, your symptoms maybe be happening a long time after you eat a triggering food. Common irritants are caffeine, chocolate, carbonation, spicy foods, fried foods, alcohol.

Different dairy can trigger you and red meat, eggs, and poultry can also. It really depends on the person for all of this. And not everything is going to trigger you, so don't worry. And it doesn't mean you can't eat that food. Just not all the time or not in large amounts. This is why a food diary is so important. It can be a lot of work but can really help you.

There ARE medications you can take for the spasms. I would ask your doctor about that.

Another thing is that when you are feeling sensitive or even for a while to try to get your body to settle down, I've noticed that when I eat a lot, my IBS starts to get out of control. If you eat smaller amounts more frequently, it may help.

Here are some links:

[link=http://ibdcrohns.about.com/cs/mesalamine/ht/avoidtriggers.htm" target="_blank]How To Avoid Irritable Bowel Syndrome Trigger Foods[/link]

[link=http://www.healingwell.com/LIBRARY/ibs/article.asp?author=vanvorous&id=1" target="_blank]Book Excerpt: Eating for IBS[/link]

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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I bought the cheese- its actually pretty good- tastes like regular cheddar.

( came in other flavors too)

Luna thanks for the links- finally some that actually give you info instead of the ones I've been running into that tease you with great remedies and help- and then tell you that you'll have to pay them for this wonderful info.

I'm sorry- that just seems wrong to me.

its frustrating- the lists of food to avoid are foods I hardly ever eat- not a coffee drinker, not much red meat, have almost completly gone off soda, i know anything fried is a "calculated risk".

its really hard to stick with things like supplements- I often feel like they make me worse and get scared off them.

can anyone comiserate?

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probiotics also come in pills at the health food store (which is how i take them)

cutting out dairy did me a world of good, but that was likely a personal food allergy.

eating smaller more frequent meals also helped me.

and (heh right) avoiding stress can help.

there's also a medication, but it's only for one type of IBS (i have "mixed") so i've totally blanked on the name.

digestive enzymes can also help. (and of course i ran out of mine after filling my pill reminder and tossed the bottle so i can't tell you which one i use, but there are many avail at the health food store. get one that has multiple enzymes and isn't just papaya extract.)

i understand the fear of supplements. if it helps any, the probiotics and digestive enzymes were both my Dr's ideas, not my own.

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its really hard to stick with things like supplements- I often feel like they make me worse and get scared off them.

can anyone comiserate?

I've never been dx as with IBS but I have the symptoms, my gut has never been the same after 3 years of sodium valproate. Alcohol abuse probably doesn't help either.

My main problem with supplements is remembering to take them regularly, so I stick a list up on my fridge of what I need to take daily, and have tick boxes that I tick to help me remember whether I have taken them or not.

I can understand your nervousness at taking supplements, but there are easy ways to determine whether they make things worse or better. Stop taking all supps for a week. Observe effects. Add one supplement for a week, taken regularly. Observe effects - is it making things better, or worse? If better, great keep taking it, if worse well obviously that one is not for you. If you want to take another also, add them one at a time, observing any changes in bowel habits, that way you know what works by logical induction. I know this method takes a bit of patience when you want immediate results but its the best way of knowing the effects of a supplement. Taking them all at once, or commencing several at a time isn't going to be helpful in terms of determining what works and what doesn't, just like meds really.

I also find probiotics a great help if taken regularly. If you can't get them locally... er am I allowed to suggest iHerb? I won't do a link but you can google it and find the website, I have no affiliations with said company I just use them because they are cheap and have an excellent range. They ship things in ice boxes. Thats no damn help to me as I'm in Australia and they are in the US but they also do freeze dried preparations of probiotics, I can't tell you if they're as effective as the refrigerated variety yet, because I just had an argument with customs about my importing it, and they've only just released it and I haven't got it yet.

Other things I've found helpful that you may find less worrying to take, are fresh Lemongrass (I grow it in my garden), Lemon Verbena, Peppermint, and Mugwort, all taken as strong teas. There's probably other herbs out there, thats just what I use, and yes I've had beneficial effects with them, but YMMV - different things work for different people. Oh by the way they taste disgusting if you mix them, recommend separate usage! If you can't get them locally at your health food store, again try online. Lemongrass is better fresh though - I found it looses its efficacy when dried. Generally all herbs are better fresh if you can get them or grow them, but they still generally work ok when dried, depending on the herb.

eep, sorry that was rather long! Best of luck with everything.

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Everyone else gives good advice. I've never tried any of them except yogurt with probiotics. I had a problem with it though.... something about the words "live cultures" grosses me out. ;)

Anyway, the only thing that ever ended up helping my IBS (which was HORRID in high school and less common then) was a combo of Paxil/amitriptyline (Elavil.) I was on low dose amitriptyline at 25 mg at night and not only did it help me sleep, help my depression, but I've read it has something to do with calming the bowel spasms too. For some odd reason, it's the only thing that helped. I'm only on the Paxil now but was on the amitriptyline for years and years and am still symptom free.

As a side trick, you can mix your Metamucil with OJ and it tastes a lot better. I dont know if you've ever tried it. I could never gag down the little 'wafers' or anything. Blah.

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Anyway, the only thing that ever ended up helping my IBS (which was HORRID in high school and less common then) was a combo of Paxil/amitriptyline (Elavil.) I was on low dose amitriptyline at 25 mg at night and not only did it help me sleep, help my depression, but I've read it has something to do with calming the bowel spasms too. For some odd reason, it's the only thing that helped. I'm only on the Paxil now but was on the amitriptyline for years and years and am still symptom free.

I suspect part of it may come from the antihistamine/anticholinergic effect that some of the TCAs (esp. amitriptyline) have. I do not know if they hit the H2 histamine receptors like Tagamet (cimetidine) but it's something to consider.

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There's a list of things I use to help.

Rasberry leaf tea(must be leaf, not raspberry flavour)

Peppermint tea

Peppermint oil capsules(enteric coated so the oil reaches your gut instead of disolving in your stomach)

Mebeverine tablets from my doctor.

If you don't like fibre supplements, you could always try dried fruit or a massage.

The book I.B.S for Dummies is quite good as well.

SW

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  • 2 weeks later...

Antidepressant helps IBS symptoms in teens

I found this article at MSNBC about the use of amitriptyline to treat IBS in teens, which is when I used it. They also came out with a new med, Amitiza, that is used to treat women with irritable bowel but more the constipation-type I think.

I'm definitely going back on it when I see pdoc again. It helped immensely.

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My massage therapist swears by keifer. It's like milk but has the active cultures. I have tried it and my pain did get better. It didn't seem to do much for the back and forth between diahhrea and constipation (my diet could be to blame for that though). Keifer can be found at pretty much any health food store and comes in different flavors. If you don't like yogurt them it might be a good option.

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Hey pixie-

keifer? is it like a chewable in different flavors or a tea or something?

i've been scared off fiber supplements because they seem to make me feel worse.

i'm not afraid of the other supplements- its just that with all the pills i swallow every day , i seem to have this angry mental block to the idea of having to swallow one more thing.

( i can't even get myself to take a multi vitamin or calcium which i know are so important. why must all these pills be so huge?????

i don't really know how to tell which kind of ibs it is- its like a combo- can't go when i want to , can't stop when its highly inconvenient. no predictability, no control. its really affecting my life.

i tried eating that cheese- i finished the whole package and bought some more today and i bought some of the cottage cheese that has it too. the only thing that's confusing is people say to try to stay away from dairy- so this is kind of contradictory. i don't feel like it made any difference so far.

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keifer is a yogurt that's liquid that you can drink.

acidopholis and other probiotics feed on the sugar in dairy and so (at least yogurt, i don't know about these probiotic cheeses) are usually low in lactose.

Bio-K+ is what my internist told me to take for my IBS, and it's expensive (which sucks) but after a month of taking it daily I was (honestly) symptom-free. It's available in soy which is what I take every monthish for maintenance of my intestinal flora.

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hey penny-

thanks for the suggestion- i looked through the store locater and i can find it easily here.

there are two different "doses" of capsules- do you know why you would take one over the other?

also if you've taken the capsules- can you describe their size? i do have trouble swallowing really big pills- even capsules.

( i don't know if these are familiar references-are they little capsules like a benedryl or big like lithium capsules or huge like fiber supplement pills or capsules?

thanks for the info - i'll be near the store that has them on thurs so i will try to check them out.

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