irritable bowel syndrome?

  1. Anyone have experience with IBS patients? My sis has had stomach pain for ages and had the endoscopy, is H pylori negative, and has tried all the acid reducing drugs with no relief, so the doc says it may be IBS. She has no intestinal symptoms, so my question is...can IBS show up as only stomach trouble?
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    About Liann

    Joined: Dec '02; Posts: 149; Likes: 6
    Medical technologist


  3. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I have done a lot of online research on IBS, as I was dx with it last year after much abd pain. From what I can tell, it is usually associated with bloating and diarrhea, but can also be associated with constipation.

    I never really had too much trouble with anything like that other than the bloating and occasional constipation, which I pretty much contribute to my poor diet.

    I started having severe abd pains about a week after I had my gallbladder removed. I never had any problems before that. I had it removed because I have hepatitis and had a CT of my abdomen that showed gallstones, and my surgeon opted to remove my gallbladder due to the risk of a stone getting "stuck" and causing liver damage. I otherwise had no symptoms or reasons to get it removed.

    Like I said, my abd pain started about a week after that, and would start in the epigastric area as pressure, and go down to my navel area and wrap around to my lower back. It was so bad that I visited the ER three times, only to have everything come back negative and get RX for prevacid, etc. The meds didn't help. The only thing that helped was pain meds.

    I would also bloat severely during these episodes that would last from 30 min to 2 hours up to 3 times a week (not related to diet as it happened on full and empty stomach)....the episodes have gradually decreased over the last year, in frequency, length and severity. The only med that DID help was carafate taken PRN, which doesn't make any sense since that isn't how the med works.

    In any case... maybe it IS IBS that I have... but thankfully it has gotten less severe.

    I know that probably doesn't answer your question, but I would tell your friend to go to a gastroenterologist because I know how bad abd pain can be.
  4. by   Liann
    Thanks for the response.

    These sorts of digestive things are really a puzzle to solve. We thought about gallbladder problems since our Mom and Gram both had it, but the endoscopy didnt show anything of that nature. My poor sister has about given up on getting a diagnosis, but living with the constant pain which is there whether she eats or doesn't eat is no answer either. The gastro enterologist who did her endoscopy said he found some irritated patches, but no ulceration. It seems as if the IBS diagnosis is the last resort and they attribute the flareups to stress. I just cant understand IBS only showing up as stomach pain.
  5. by   katscan
    I don't know exactly what I have but I know I do have reflux very badly with lots of bloating and gas. The acid reducing drugs give me some relief, but I am questioning whether it is a glutin allergy. It seems to be made worse by white breat, pasta pizza, beer etc. All I know is when my stomach acts up, I am errping all day and feel like I have a basketball under my clothes. Miserable!
  6. by   ThirdWorldGirl
    Sort of embarassed to admit this on a public board, but years ago I was misdiagnosed with Colitis, underwent many bowel studies and medications to find that it was truly IBS. It's something that I've learned to live with and prepare for the events. I never experienced much abdominal pain but would suffer from one extreme to the other with constipation to diarrhea. It's something I've learned to live with, healthier diet, less sodas. Stress is a big factor with me, work stress causes the constipation, private stress causes the diarrhea. Hope this helps with your question.
  7. by   connie1981
    I've had abdominal pain for as long as I can remember, but has been getting worse in the last 3-4 years. I was given Zantac and it helped a bit but then i stopped taking it. I thought my stomach pain was aggravated by dairy, like after i had yogurt. I went to my NP and she said that I probably have IBS. Then I finally figured out it was the aspartame in the "lite" yogurt i was eating, so i only eat regular yogurt now, and stopped drinking diet soda. Then I figured out I can't have ANY soda...even when it goes flat. I'm proud to say ive been soda free for about a week now LOL. It takes time, but you have to figure out what foods you can and cant eat. my NP said to keep a food diary...maybe that will help your sis. hope I helped a little!
  8. by   KaroSnowQueen
    My son has IBS. Nothing that shows up on tests. Stress definitely hits him hard, he will have diarrhea 12 times a day for days on end when stressed. Doc gives him Immodium and Hycosamine for cramps, but nothing really makes it quit until he relieves his stress. Then it slows down and goes away for a little while until he starts getting upset about something again.
  9. by   Liann
    Thanks guys. I will pass these tips along. I am especially interested in the aspartame sensitivity, but I dont think she uses that sweetener much. She is a smoker and I think that she should quit and see if it helps the pain, but you know how tough that can be....and it adds to the stress!
  10. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I am a smoker, and I can attest to the fact that smoking DOES aggravate my abd pain when it occurs.

    Tell her to try taking metamucil twice daily... even if she doesn't have "bowel" problems, sometimes just the extra fiber can help with IBS if that in fact is the problem.

    I would also suggest to her to avoid spicy foods and caffeine, as well as increase her dietary fiber and slow the smoking. (yeah, I don't practice what I preach).

    Also suggest to her to keep a food diary to see if anything she is eating is correllating with her pain.

    Does she have the pain continuously or is it occasional or intermittent?
  11. by   Liann
    She reports pain all the time, just sometimes it is worse than others. Not relieved by eating or not eating. Antacids and acid reducers dont affect it either. She already avoids caffeine, and only occasionally eats spicy stuff.
  12. by   Liann
    Also, she says the only med that helped was Carafate, but it is not for long term use.
  13. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I didn't realize that carafate wasn't for long term. Why not? I only use it prn anyway, but if it helps, then I'd say she should continue it!
  14. by   Disablednurse
    I have a lot of stomach problems, but the doctor will not give dx of IBS even though I have all the symptoms. He says it is GERD, diabetic gastroparesis, and stress. I have problems at least 1-3 times a week with severe abd pain, bloating and diarrhea. I have (this is the only way I can describe it) fermented burping and much problems with gas. I am on Prevacid and reglan. Helps some, but when my stomach hurts, makes me have severe back pain. I feel like I am falling apart. I have an old body and a fairly young mind.