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Your symptoms make me think over and over again of irritable bowel syndrome. (or ... IBS).
IBS, also known as irritable colon, spastic bowel or spastic colon, is a disorder of the intestinal tract, causing recurring abdominal discomfort associated with constipation and/or diarrhea and abdominal bloating. It usually starts before age 50 and is worsened by anxiety or stress.
The symptoms of IBS are usually worse under stress such as when you travel or attend social events or change your daily routine. Symptoms may get worse if you go long periods without eating or have a very large meal. Women who have IBS may have increased symptoms during their menstrual periods.
1. Bloating and gas
3. Diarrhea, especially after eating or first thing in the morning
4. Feeling as though you still need to have a bowel movement after you have had one
5. Abdominal pain and cramping relieved with a bowel movement.
Although foods do not cause IBS, certain foods may make symptoms worse. Foods high in fat or caffeine cause the intestines to contract and may make symptoms worse. Foods causing an increased production of gas such as beans, cabbage or some fruits may also need to be avoided.
Keeping a diary of what you eat for a few weeks is very important in helping to control IBS. Patients are usually able to identify what food or foods will cause their symptoms to be more prevalent. If milk and dairy products bother you, you may have lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance means your body is unable to digest certain sugars in milk.
Diagnosis of IBS
Your doctor will begin by asking you many questions about what is causing your symptoms. Typically there are certain patterns in your diet or activity which will help the doctor make the diagnosis.
Although there may be mucus present in the stool with IBS, there is no blood. Blood in the stool may signify a more serious problem. If there is the presence of blood in the stool, painless diarrhea, diarrhea at night or the presence of weight loss this may point toward a cause other than IBS. The doctor will perform an examination, paying particular attention to the abdomen. Additionally he/she may order blood tests to check for abnormalities of the blood counts, liver function, evidence of inflammation of the pancreas. Other tests include abdominal Xrays, a barium enema Xray or in some cases a colonoscopy.
Treatment of IBS
Essentially, the best way to control IBS is to control stress, avoid certain foods and to maintain a healthy, consistent diet. Fiber may be helpful as well. Increase the fiber in your diet slowly. Increasing fiber content in your diet to rapidly will increase the likelihood of gas and bloating. As your body becomes more accustomed to the increases in fiber, the gas and bloating will resolve.
1. Eat a variety of foods and avoid foods high in fiber or caffeine
2. Drink plenty of water
3. Eat smaller meals (6 small meals/day instead of 3 large meals)
4. Keep a diary for 2 weeks and avoid foods which seem to aggravate your symptoms
5. Learn ways to control your stress
6. In severe cases consider the use of prescriptions medications such as hyoscyamine (Levsin) to help control stomach cramping or Imodium when diarrhea is severe.
7. Increase fiber in your diet
It really sounds like you have had an extensive workup. Maybe a second opinion from another Gastroenterologist will prove helpful.
Would this also contribute to the not being able to shed a pound and no matter what exercise regimen I am not able to lose but rather gain? What about food enzymes. Could this relate to my problems? My body not producing enough amalease, protease, etc? I remember watching an infomercial about this and I have read a little about it. How is the testing done for this and food allergies?
Have you checked into food allergies?
or Increased Intestinal Permeability?
Your symptoms and efforts to understand them are very similar to mine. Do you find your weight increasing as the bloating gets worse? I also walk 2-5 miles a day but find I am often more bloated afterwards. Doctors usually mention IBS but I only experience constipation and fiber can sometimes be a disaster. I sometimes think Doctors feel I am making to much of this, but it really makes me feel awful. I do not think gas is the main reason for the bloating. Charcoal never has any effect. The bloating goes way beyond 3 inches. Not eating wheat helped for awhile, but now that is not doing the trick. You sound as frustrated as I am, yet also as determined to find some answers and relief.
I had so much problem with IBS and after a colonoscopy which revealed diverticulitis was told to introduce a high fiber diet. I started on a high fiber diet but that in and of itself did not relieve my discomforts. I did begin avoiding wheat products and still only partial relief, I then began ruling out foods that irritated this condition. I have since found that even tho I have always loved dairy products ( could drink several glasses of milk a day) cheeses, yogurts, ice cream . These are the foods that gave me the most problems. I now take suppliments and avoid all dairy products. ( very Hard as I loved Dairy) it has given me dramatic improvement in the IBS I hardly even notice it anymore.
I too suffer from bloating, abdominal pain and occasional constipation, along with unexplained weight gain. I had loads of tests done (thyroid, vitamin B deficiency, etc.), including ultrasounds, which all showed normal. It wasn't until I had an upper abdominal x-ray done that my doctor diagnosed me with severe constipation. Even though I had been fairly regular (sometimes missing at most two days), I was backed up severely. He has me taking a dose of 1 Tbsp. Metamucil and 1 Tbsp. of Lactulose together each morning. This has gotten things moving and has improved my stomach dramatically. He recommends that I stay on it for at least a month and then go off it when I start to feel better. I had gone off it for a week before I saw him, and had improved greatly but not completely. (I was concerned about staying on it too long). He said to try again for at least a month and then go from there. I improved after just two weeks! And it did not get worse when I went off it.