Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 

Introduction 

IBS explained

An expert explains the causes of irritable bowel syndrome, common symptoms, treatment options available and where to get help.

Media last reviewed: 25/10/2013

Next review due: 25/10/2015

Who is affected by IBS?

IBS is a common digestive condition. It's thought that 10-20% of people experience IBS symptoms at some point in their life. IBS affects twice as many women than men.

Read the real-life story of a man who has lived with IBS for more than 20 years to find out how he copes with the condition.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.

The symptoms of IBS usually appear for the first time when a person is between 20 and 30 years of age. They tend to come and go in bouts, often during times of stress or after eating certain foods.

Symptoms vary between individuals and affect some people more severely than others. However, most people have either diarrhoea, constipation, or bouts of both. You may also have mucus in your stools.

You may find the painful stomach cramps of IBS ease after going to the toilet and opening your bowels.

What causes IBS?

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but most experts agree it's related to an increased sensitivity of the entire gut, which can occasionally be linked to a prior food-related illness.

This may be caused by a change in your body's ability to move food through your digestive system, or may be due to you becoming more sensitive to pain from your gut.

Psychological factors such as stress may also play a part in IBS.

Read more about the causes of IBS.

When to see your GP

Visit your GP if you think you have IBS. They will want to rule out other illnesses, such as an infection, coeliac disease (a digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten) or chronic inflammation of the gut.

They will ask about your symptoms and whether there is a pattern to them for example, if they tend to come on when you are under more stress than usual or after eating certain foods. Your GP may suggest you keep a food diary to see whether your diet affects your symptoms.

Further tests will only be needed if you have certain "red flag" symptoms that indicate you may have another serious condition. These symptoms include:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • a swelling or lump in your abdomen or back passage (bottom) 
  • anaemia (a lack of red blood cells)

Read more about how IBS is diagnosed.

Treating IBS

There is no cure for IBS, but the symptoms can be managed by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Medication is sometimes prescribed for IBS. In many cases, being reassured by your GP can often help control IBS symptoms.

Although the symptoms of IBS can be troublesome, the condition does not pose a serious threat to your health. For example, it will not increase your chances of developing cancer or other bowel-related conditions.

IBS is unpredictable. You may go for many months without any symptoms and then have a sudden flare-up. It can also take many months for your symptoms to settle down.

IBS can be painful and debilitating, and can have a negative impact on your quality of life. However, with appropriate treatment you should be able to live a normal, full and active life.

Read more about treating IBS.

Living with IBS

The pain, discomfort and inconvenience of IBS can sometimes affect a person psychologically.

It is estimated that three out of four people with IBS will have at least one bout of depression, and just over half will develop generalised anxiety disorder (a condition that can cause overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear and dread).

Speak to your GP if you have feelings of depression or anxiety and they are affecting your daily life.

These types of conditions rarely improve without treatment, and your GP will be able to recommend treatments such as antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Read more about the psychological effects of IBS.

Page last reviewed: 12/09/2012

Next review due: 12/09/2014

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Comments

The 61 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Nor malicious said on 18 April 2014

I suffer chronic IBS have done for the last 10yrs.I have had every test available.I am now awaiting to see a nutritionist to put me on the FODMAP diet.In the meantime I have sent a blood test off to the York Test Lab to see if I have any food intolerances,if anyone has done the same I would be glad of your opinion .Also I would be very grateful to hear of anyone else experiences.Does anyone else suffer daily with IBS .

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nitin1 said on 15 April 2014

Where to start its been nearly six months now. Not had a proper bowel movement every time I go I bleed. Had sigmoidoscopy, ct scan blood tests all normal. Drs dont seem to know much about this. Dietitian gave terrible non helpful advice made me worse! Ive lost over 4 stone as I dont digest or absorb anything. Im a total shell of the person I once was. Ive had to cut down hours from work. Im so depressed i want to kill myself. Dont know who to turn to.Reading comments on here gives some hope. Everyone says be positive deal with the hand you have been dealt with! Going to see gastrointestinal dr. Not expecting much. Had every type of stool on Bristol stool scale. These days its thick paste thats hard to pass, sorry for graphic detail.

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KatieJW said on 16 March 2014

Im a 19 year old female who has been suffering from IBS for about 8 months now. My symptoms first started in August last year, I had difficulty going to the toilet but didnt think much to it, I put this down to lifestyle so completely changed my diet and started going to the gym. I lost weight (about 1 and a half stone) but in October of last year after a lot of stress and anxiety I one day was crippled in pain, this is really unusual for me because I tolerate pain. But I immediately drove to hospital, they said they thought I had appendicitis. After several blood tests, ultrasounds, and x-rays I was discharged being told they simply didn't know what was wrong with me. I was sure there must be a label for my symptoms so went to a doctor as the pain was terrible, it would leave me very fatigued and I felt pretty useless. I saw a doctor regularly and he did numerous blood tests for my immune system, Chrone's, bones and other conditions and diseases, all of which came back negative. Although it was found I have Anemia, tests after this diagnosis left me myth-ed as they were absolutely normal. I just tried dealing with the pain because it felt like I was helpless, I felt like I had no one and I started to feel silly because I felt like nobody believed me, It was embarrassing. A few weeks ago my symptoms got increasingly worse. I had severe stomach pains which persisted for about an hour, I can honestly say I have never been so scared in my life. After taking Colpermin the symptoms eased but it made me adamant to get my word across, I booked another appointment and I am now on Metoclopramide and shortly will be going on Anti-depressants as I was told stress and anxiety may be worsening my symptoms. The reason I wrote this is because I really want people to be more aware of IBS, although people may not think its that bad, I can honestly say its changed my life, Im a shell of the person I once was. It has affected many aspects of my life and it can affect anybody, and age.

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MatthewThomas said on 09 March 2014

Having made a full recovery from very severe abdominal pain, I felt compelled to make a comment here to provide some balance to the stream of negative comments!

For about a year, I had severe abdominal pain and frequent mild diarrhoea. This greatly impacted upon my ability to work, and I had to cancel many social events.

However, I have now made a full recovery.

Following referral from my local GP to a specialist in Gastroenterology, I was given outstanding care and advice. After numerous tests, I was diagnosed with post-infectious IBS.

Through a combination of drugs and dietary changes, I have been able to make a full recovery.

It is a difficult and frustrating process and requires determination to continue to pursue new options, but there are lots of things that can be done to improve one's situation, and things absolutely can and will improve.

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nogingerfool said on 23 February 2014

For "pushed to the limit " I would get a private stool test done asap , they diagnose over three separate bowel movements, I have had major stomach issues for 16 months could not take it anymore , been to Docs so many times had cameras down throat had ct scans all came back with nothing , I went from14st to under 10st in 3 months ( I over 6") anyway stool test came back with a parasite called blastocystis hominis , causes chronic IBS symptoms , you wont get anywhere with the NHS with this parasite , I ended up at tropical disease hospital London still got nowhere , you have to go private for blasto treatment , so currently saving up, (please may that work ), I am just coming out the other side of a 5 day flair up I end up in chronic pain , lifeless , and unable to eat for the duration of the flair up , also please try symprove a gut bacteria drink that helps its not cheap but it really seems to work for some , life changing even for the lucky ones , though not for me, anyway good luck do the stool test if you can , do get the drink , you can get it from amazon etc , I take vsl3 probiotics these get good reviews as well one of the strongest probiotic out their I am only two days in so cant comment , any way good luck , godspeed to any one suffering with IBS symptoms , I am loath to say it but I got nowhere via the NHS route ,

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geekgirl101 said on 17 February 2014

"The symptoms of IBS usually appear for the first time when a person is between 20 and 30 years of age."

I had it as soon as I was born. I don't know why or how common it is for babies to have it but I'm pretty sure it's extremely rare and quite possibly unheard of.

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PushedToTheLimit said on 14 January 2014

I'm a 22 yo male, I've been suffering for years with this, well, doctors 'say' that it's IBS, I think it's something they just haven't discovered yet..

I get constant nausea, constant stomach rumbling/gurgling, constant need to burp, lack of appetite/thirst, I'm underweight, and I'm confined to my house because of the severe nausea/stomach issues. AND to make things worse, the last few days I've had diarrhea!

I want the doctors to do tests/scans, colonoscopy or endoscopy, etc, but whenever I push for these tests they just say ''It's just IBS'', I don't know what to do anymore! I live at home with family and they're getting sick of me still living at home being ill all the time. I feel trapped and stuck, like there's no way out from this.. I have a dream of going to visit Japan, but I fear this will slowly kill me before I can ever go!

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

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vickylee90 said on 13 January 2014

For the last 5months ive been experiencing stomach cramps and back pains bloating loss of appetite or cravings nausea tiredness and no energy, could this be ibs? I manage to go to the toilet after a few days but only with taking laxatives but still have the lower back pain which burns and is there pretty much all day but becomes worse of a night and get cramps in my legs. I also get the pain top of my back by my shoulders.
My doctor says nothing is wrong as ive managed to pass stools.
Can anyone gelp?

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ashacidqueen said on 31 December 2013

I have suffered from IBS for almost five years now starting in my later teen years I find it really hard to manage it sometimes and I was curious if anyone else has had nausea a lot when they are going through a rough patch with it.

To anyone who wonders I was a breast fed baby and as a child I only suffered from a mild ADHD. But I was born with a cyst, a hernia and I also had the cord wrapped around my neck despite this I was a very healthy child until my late teemage years discovering I suffer from ibs and asthma as well as other afflictions.

I find it is personally difficult for me to handle my ibs lately as I feel very nauseous and find it difficult to eat I want to know if anyone else has had such an issue with it and any treatments you may have tried my Dr has tried a few but nothing seems to help.

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PhilippaS said on 19 December 2013

ive unknowigly been dealing with my IBS for just over a year now and have only just recently been diagnosed, im going through a bout that's been going on for about 2 months now and am finding it very difficult, my anxiety has gone through the roof which I am seeing someone for, but im also exhausted a lot of the time I don't know whether anyone can suggest anything, im on mebeverine to start and see how I go is there anything anyone else can suggest? I would really appreciate it :)

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Thundergut said on 19 December 2013

Well, I have had IBS-D for many years. I am living with Chinese family (though I am Swiss-Japanese) this due to cheap rent. That is I was born i Switzerland and have Japanese ancestry. (BTW 10 -15% people to my knowledge in Japan have this condition). Thus I am 23yo Japanese-Swiss male with IBS-D.

Problem lies that these people I live with (firstly there is that language barrier) do not seem to comprehend IBS -- even after trying to explain through interpretation! They seem to think that either I have been 'fabricating having this condition' or seem to think that every time I experience diarrhoea, that I have to 'see doctor' and have absolute no clue of what I have even despite trying to explain to them (IBS).

Also as fortunately it is not frequent, I have had nevertheless some experiences with bowel accidents -- some even public. These people when they get wind of this, they chide me as f I was small boy, that has 'not learned bowel control'. As I understand their situation of evidently not being so well educated (especially medically) it is nevertheless very frustrating to live with.

I have all but given up trying to explain what I have. I really don't know what to do (other than to move, which I simply cannot afford to do at moment). What can I do to try and convey just what irritable bowel syndrome is (and what it is not)? Any suggestions? Thank you.

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Stratusfaction02 said on 24 October 2013

Dont feel bad about it! Im only 10 and ive had it since i was a baby, its just gotten worse from 2009. My form got diagnosed as ibs from anxiety, stress and from what i eat. The only problem is my ibs got out of control in 2011 so now i have to be very careful about what i eat.

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Davie30s said on 21 October 2013

Additional to previous comment. During treatment I had I significantly reduced sugar and tried to cut it out completely as well as cutting out all sources of yeast. No bread, no sugar, no chocolate, no fruit juices etc.

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Davie30s said on 21 October 2013

Just to add I was also given citalopram as well which worked temporarily but I stopped taking this as I didn't want to suffer any long term consequences of taking this medication, so reverted to natural therapies as I didn't believe my IBS to be stress related.

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sinamuid said on 08 October 2013

I have suffered from IBS since my third child. I was wondering if any of my fello sufferers know if they were breast or formula fed.
I happen to know that my mother had trouble feeding me and could not find a formula to suit me.
I had a very sensitive gut as a child yet all my children were breastfed and are now adults without any gut problems. I just woner is the breastfeeding a protective factor.
Any comments appreciated

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Mrsboyden82 said on 26 September 2013

Does anybody have panic attacks with their ibs? I've had ibs for about 12 years now(since my 1st child) and just lately after a few days of not going to the toilet when I finally do I go into a panic attack. It knocks me out for hours and I feel completely unable to do anything for myself I just want to sleep. I had my 6th child 6 months ago and have just been diagnosed with postnatal depression and panic disorder. I feel like it's just a vicious circle that I can't seem to break. Any advice anyone? The doctor just keeps giving me more and more different ibs tablets

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afuller80 said on 20 September 2013

I have been living with stomach problems for about 8 years now but the last couple of years I have had bad flare ups. Includes my stomach to balloon, blood in my stools, going to the toilet between 10 to 20 times a day, loss of appetite. I have had various blood tests done and 3 colonoscopy's which all came back ok. But this flare up has lasted since July and have not been able to leave the house much due to having a few 'accidents' while being out which has now caused me to be frightened to leave the house at all. The doctors/hospital do not seem to care and are just telling me to take Immodium and Buscopan but for me, they do not work. I have also tried Mebeverine, anti-depressants, codeine but none have any effect on me. They have said it is more likely to be IBS but from people i have spoken to, a lot of people say it sounds like Chrones. Has anyone else been mis-diagnosed with IBS when it was in fact Chrones? I feel like I am just being left to deal with it all myself and receiving no help. I understand that something like this they are unable to fix or get rid of, but it is so frustrating that it affects your whole life to the point that all you do and think about is going to the toilet. Can anyone tell me any other medicines they have been given to try?

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Zort said on 16 September 2013

I have had IBS for around 20 years, brought on after a bout of food poisoning. Fortunately for me, compared to many people, my symptoms are fairly mild and I know what my trigger foods are.
As someone who enjoys nothing more than a beef roast, it's a little unfair that meat is my trigger - ironically, the more perfectly it's cooked, the worse my diarrhoea!
In addition to that is the requirement to get to a toilet quickly is the need comes along. If I try to hold it for any significant time (think car journeys), it can cause an upset despite not eating a trigger food.

By planning ahead and thinking about what I'm doing, I can get by without too much hassle. For example, I wouldn't have steak or roast lamb if I have work the next day.

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_ebeck said on 03 September 2013

I have had stomach problems since i was about 13 and i am 18 now. I have had various tests including one for cancer but has been diagnosed with IBS. I am taking Mebeverine, Domperidone and Peppermint oil 3 times a day and also Citalopram. These have helped me alot but like they say there is no cure but i have good and bad days and sometimes have to call in sick for work. Mine is mainly constipation so feel uncomfortable, pain and bloated alot. No one is alone going through this, it is horrible but with the right treatment it can help and also recognising and your diet and making changes if need be. I find Valupak Vitamin B complex helps as IBS makes me very tired and this vitamin helps me alot to keep me going!

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KSheridan said on 24 July 2013

I have had IBS-D for about two years now and have been through the mill of tests and medication, and have now started a blog to document my experiences.

You can read more about me and IBS at www.mylifewithibs.com

Best wishes to you all, its a dreadful condition at times, and often overlooked. I'm about to start the FODMAP diet after hearing positive results and I hope this brings me some relief.

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LittleMissStace said on 12 June 2013

I have suffered from IBS now for the past 5 years, I have diarrhoea based IBS and have been put through nearly every test there is. I have been give Buscopan, Mebeverin and colofac all of which had no effect. I then tried taking peppermint oil which again had no effect, I went back to the doctors and had blood tests to check for allergies, over active thyroid and lactose intolerance. The doctor advised me that everything came back normal and advised me to take immodium everyday to regulate my bowel movements. This was fine except the immodium blocked me up and wouldn't take away the constant cramps. I have went back to another doctor and have advised them of all previous 'treatments'. I have even advised them that I was keeping a food diary and couldn't find the trigger. I have now been put on 30mg of Codeine Phosphate to take, this is kind of working in the sense that it stops the diarrhoea for a while and takes away the cramp but at night the diarrhoea comes back and the wind is unbelievable, as well as this making me feel dizzy. I have been advised my last attempt will be anti depressants if the Codeine doesn't work. Does anyone here have any suggestions as it has now got to the point where I don't want to leave the house and I am always cancelling trips, nights out or even spending time with my partner to spend all night on the loo.

I just feel as if IBS sufferers get no help and have to make do with the limited tools we have available. It would be nice to hear from other sufferers and to know how they cope on a day to day basis and if they have found any positive therapy to help.

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SC18 said on 01 June 2013

I have had IBS since the age of 15 after I had a bad bout of gastroenteritis. I'm now 37 and still suffer everyday. I take Mebeverine, 3 times a day, Amitriptyline at night and Loperamide when needed. My IBS mostly attacks during the morning. When I wake up, my stomach is very gassy and it spasms. I am often terrified of leaving the house, in case I'm not near a bathroom. I'm currently unemployed, but in the past, I have lost jobs due to the amount of time I took off, due to having to call in sick. I'm fearful that, especially in this climate, I won't be able to find another job. What employer is going to take me on, knowing that I could be calling in sick, once or twice a week. (Plus I have several other health problems). This condition is crippling. I am finally being referred to a dietician, who I'm hoping can help. Ironically, not because of the IBS, but because I need to lose weight for surgery. My previous referrals to dieticians were refused, due to lack of funding! In the meantime, my diet is appalling as seemingly everything triggers an IBS attack.

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Skg25 said on 24 May 2013

If you have loose stools I highly suggest buyin something from holland and Barrett called 'colon care' it's in powder formation, I must admit its not pleasant to swallow but u can mix it into juice. 1 table spoon in 250ml of fluid before meals (3-4 times a day)
Worked for me over night!

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sherims1 said on 18 March 2013

I have had IBS since in was a young child. I remember my Mom giving me the pink stuff many times a week. Normally after eating pork hotdogs, pizza or anything with any type of bacteria or not cooked well. Also, seems it has gotten a bit better since we all use antibacteriIal dish soap as well. I do have more trouble at times when eating out as I don't think some restaurants are very careful or concerned with bacteria and possibly have raw meat in the areas of fruits, salads and veg's and they get bacteria on them from the raw meats as well as uncleanliness. I am very careful and mindful of having a bacteria free kitchen! It has helped a lot. I only eat beef hot dogs now and rarely eat pizza as the ingredients are not kept at a cold enough temp at the pizza making stations and setting out most of the days. It has been a few months now since I have had an attack other than contracting a stomach virus from my little one brought home from school last month and of course me with IBS affected me much worse. The most relief I have found in the past with IBS, as I usually have the hard stool at first and then when eating something that flairs the diarreah and terrible cramping, with cold sweats, dizzyness and almost black out from the pain, which I have passed out in the past with, bubbling and rolling in the stomach in the start of it is the Imodium AD. I can fill the rolling in my upper stomach begin and I know it is coming and I take an imodium. It does not take it completely away, but it does lessen the pain a bit if I catch it early enough and is less painful as well once I relieve my bowels a couple of times with the diarreah. I have found the years I have had IBS.. usually whatever it is I have eaten that brings it on, it begins about 6 hours after I have eaten it. This is usually pretty accurate and helps me to know what it was that caused it. Most times is meals eaten out and either food not well cooked or has bacteria and not clean preperation, expired food.

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rachierascal2000 said on 16 March 2013

I have only recently been diagnosed with IBS. Would anyne have any advice on living with IBS that would work for a 3 year old? thanks.

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PatienceRunOut said on 26 February 2013

Having suffered' IBS' for 30 years and worked for hospitals for 17 of those, I have become very sceptical about the trm 'IBS'. Could it be that it is just a catch-all for any gut problem doctors can't really diagnose? If it really is a single syndrome, how come the effects vary wildly from one person to another? If you get a gut virus you poo and vomit: same symptoms in every patient, So how can the massive array of variations on suffering be down to a single cause? I notice members of this group receive a wildly differing array of treatments for IBS as well. Come on, am I the only one that thinks it is a way of sending us out of the surgery with a label for our suffering that we will happily accept as an explanation? It's just a convenient psychological ploy to get rid of us. And what value are any of us deriving long term from these vast arrays of treatments? Managing the pain perhaps. Bunging up the runs a bit. But long term it just isn't a solution, because they haven't got a clue.

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gloden said on 13 February 2013

Hi I have had ibs for about 15 years and stomach trouble before that from my early 30 s. I have had stomach ache and acid reflux now for a few months, won t goaway. I have a lovely Dr who understands as he has ibs and acid reflux too. I m on omeprazole, mebeverine and an anti depressant and waiting to have a colonoscopy. I m really nervous about having this but my Dr says it will eliminate other things and stop my stress. He is convinced its ibs.I just keep worrying. So glad I found this site really helps to share worry thank you.

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gloden said on 13 February 2013

Hi I have had ibs for roughly 15 years but even in my early 30 s suffered stomach trouble . The last few months I ve had stomach ache indigestion and not felt at all well. Went to my Dr who is lovely as he has ibs and acid reflux too so really understands.Im on Mebeverine, Omeprazole and anti depressent tabs and to have a colonoscopy. Im more than a bit worried about having this done but Dr says it will hopefuly eliminate other things an take way the worry and stress I ve got. So good to find this site. Don t feel so alone with it.

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Mellywelly said on 12 February 2013

Hi all,
I have suffered from IBS on and off for years now. I don't eat lots of takeaways, and prepare most of my meals from basic ingredients, I've tried all sorts and got various results but nothing keeps it away for long. I can cope with it during the day it's just when I get a bad flare up on the night times! Work is particularly draconian on sickness absence therefore i end up with little sleep dragging myself into work, short tempered and aching - not ideal. Apart from loperamide has anyone got any tips on control? I'm not sure what damage taking it is doing.

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PatienceRunOut said on 04 February 2013

Dear Louby (4 Feb)
You had the same operation as me and sounds like many of the same experiences.

It seems to me doctors know very little about 'this' condition. (I say 'this' because I personally believe it is probably not one but a number of conditions they have yet to research and learn anything truly useful about, nor indeed in which they have any real interest.

Having gone through a personal version of hell in the past year, I would be keen to see members of the IBS suffering community become an awful lot more militant in the face of such lack of research interest and apathy on the part of the medical profession.

Doctors don't take us seriously because of 2 factors - 1: It's not terminal, and 2: It's not obvious. They like a quick and easy diagnosis with some really nice well developed treatment guidelines to follow, or they like to know that they can 'help' you towards a 'good death'. The fact so many of us live in a twilight world of pain and disability through this condition does not in their opinion merit research money spending on it, and it's unlikely to offer fame and fortune in the research stakes so, tough for you and me.

In this country it's only those who band together and make enough noise that ever get any attention. It's about time IBS sufferers decided to get noisy and create a fuss, instead of accepting a life long sentence of being balled and chained to the toilet because we are in their opinion not suffering enough.

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loubby said on 04 February 2013

Hi there,I have suffered from vomiting & heart burn for at least 5 years,I went in for a nisson fundoplication last september,all went ok with the op.....Then i was told i had IBS,so i came on here to read about all the experiences other people were having with IBS..and to see if i could get some help with the problems of bloating,stomach cramps,those moments of dashing to the loo..And seen that some people have taken cows milk out of there diet,and added soya milk instead, and also added milled linseed meal to there diet...
Well,i thought i would give it a go,and to my great suprise,it actually works.... :-)
No bloating,No stomach cramps,No dashing off to the Loo..
I also take colofac perscribed by my GP....well what can i say GOB smacked :-O that some as simple really works..
Thanks guys..Hope this helps some of you.
Me.... a much happier person.

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evangeline711 said on 27 January 2013

I've had ibs-d for over 20 years. It just goes on an on and on. Got a very bad bout now - pain bloating, tiredness, diarrhoea, wind etc brought on by eating tinned soup the other day I think. I went out for a meal last night and feel really bad today I think it will be my last meal out for a long time as there really isnt much I can have in a restaurant I have to go through the menu really carefully as there is always some problem item. Really embarrassing as it takes so long! I'm sure people think I'm making it up. Worse is that I I used to be really slim, but now I cant exercise as it makes ibs worseand can't lose weight at all. Everyone around me has lost weight and I used to be the slim one but now am the opposite! They keep making 'helpful' comments about what I shoulf be eating etc, and dont seem to realise I cant have salad, or much fruit etc. Sorry - feeling miserable and in pain so not much help to anyone today. Glad I have found this site though. Dont feel completely alone now.

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sophielouisehdw said on 15 January 2013

I'm 18 years old and was diagnosed with IBS 7 years ago. I suffer with it very bad and it's always been severe. Has been a whole lot worse the last year and had a colonoscopy and barium meal x-ray done back in June 2012 to check out what was going on, as Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis run heavily in both sides of my family, and I've always had quite bad bowel problems since I could first sit on a potty!

I'm still very unwell now, if not worse than back in June although my results from the colonoscopy and barium meal came back as all clear and that there were no signs of Crohn's or Colitis, just severe IBS causing the problems.

I don't know if anyone else has it like I do, but I suffer horribly with my IBS every single day and have done now for about a year without fail. My college are threatening to kick my out because I struggle to do a whole week a college now, it affects me every single day, embarrassing having to sprint to the toilet because of 'the runs'!

Decided to go back to the Professor I saw that did my colonoscopy to get reviewed and try and get investigations done again, I can't see how anything could've changed dramatically over the last 6 or so months but I guess you never know! Started to feel sick about 80% of the day everyday as well as being physically sick for no reason as well, it seems more symptoms of Crohn's are slowly creeping up to the surface - eye inflammation problems since Sept 2012, painful joints, skin rashes/painful abscesses and skin tags 'down there'.

It's so worth getting checked out if you feel something has changed or is not right, better late than never!
Sophie x

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PatienceRunOut said on 22 November 2012

Update from my comment in May - last week I had a colonoscopy and it has shown some inflammation in the right side of my colon. Interesting result. I now feel completely justified in having taken the decision to pay and see a consultant, who has been absolutely fantastic. I think I would have in any case been happier to see a specialist, because of the pathetic and dismissive attitude of my GP which has led to me breaking down in tears twice in the consulting room over the past couple of months, due to his attitude, complete lack of empathy and arrogant assertion there is nothing wrong. So now he no doubt is feeling even more justified in his belief that it is all in my head 'because normal patients don't blubber in the consulting room'.

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anitacrawley1 said on 05 November 2012

been a sufferer for many years and have to schedule my whole personal and professional life around when the bouts of 'the runs' happens. can control it with imodium but if you take imodium regularly sometimes it doesnt work so efficiently, hate to have to rely on a tablet or three to sort me out but if its the only way i can live any kind of life so be it.
One tip! have found that the eary morning cup of coffee is sometimes an irritant! usually i have a cold low sugar cordial type drink first thing in the morning or a drink of iced or cold water - cant drink it straight out of tap! latter seems to be more beneficial. have heard that caffiene is an irritant - or often it can be lactose intolerance so either way us IBS sufferers lose out!
seems to run in a weekly cycle - and the days i go out - i seem to get the attack obviously because i am either excited about going out (sad arent I) or stressed about something which i am having to do - i am a supporter for people who are worse off than me and go along as an advocate for people facing court hearings etc etc. - although i do find that when i am focussed on what is happening to others and not thinking about myself so much then the symptoms do subside. maybe mind over matter but still have to live with what i know is happening inside. you couldnt make it up! best wishes to all other sufferers hope you can have some kinda life and adapt your daily routine around what you have to suffer. regards anita x

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josephine3 said on 25 October 2012

i was diagnosed with IBS in 1988 not long after having my last baby , have tried every available tablet , certain diets too help , but it is just getting worse and worse , i don't think members of the public can realise what a totally overwheming disorder this is to endure , i can barely leave the house as i am terrified there will be no toilets available quickly and i hate to use public toilets , plus and i don't know how many other fellow suffers , get the most awful wind which makes you very nervous to venture out , unfortunately as i also have a condition called acute intermittent porphyria there are many drugs i am unable to take , if anyone has any helpful advise they could share i would truly appreciate it , as life is just an existence at the moment and very miserable , thankyou , and hope most of you get your probelms sorted

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MAC1954 said on 04 September 2012

I've had IBS for a number of years and never had any major problems. I exercise regularly, swimming, running and cycling and have done for a number of years. I am competing in a 80 mile cycling sportive in October and have been trying to increase my mileage in preparation, but find that I am 'running out of steam' after about 35 miles - no strength in my legs. I've trained at 50 miles plus per ride in the past without any problems. The only thing I can put it down to is my IBS, that I am not retaining food in my system to 'feed off' on my longer rides. I am eating plenty of food before rides and during. Any advice please?

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PatienceRunOut said on 18 August 2012

I had an op for acid reflux 3 years ago, which was unsuccessful and cannot be reversed. I have been taking a very large dose of lansoprazole (60mg/day) for last 2 years - the only treatment offered since the op was unsuccessful. This is not really working and I have chronic unremitting acid all day every day.

I have had chronic diarrhea (2+ years), but huge flare up in the past month put me off work for the past 4 weeks. I have had to go back to work despite this continuing. Pain and distension severe especially after meals. Low folate and B12 on blood tests. GP says its IBS. I feel really angry and do not believe this diagnosis, considering the severity of symptoms and implications of untreated reflux as well as the oedema in my ankles that go over the tops of my shoes by the afternoon. Have to continue working, so half the night is spent in the toilet followed by a full day of work ,leading to exhaustion and sitting at desk with stomach swelling 3 inches after lunch and unable to move with the pain. I am so worried I will be disciplined or sacked as I can't do my work or concentrate at all.

Is this GP utterly incompetent, cruel and lazy or is he right? How do I cope with work that includes a lot of travelling on trains and early starts/late finishes? Worried about getting dismssed if I take more time off (prior to past month I have taken no time off for over 1 year, but work is draconian on sick leave).

Is this really a case of just bog off and shut up - which is basically what I feel is being said? Is this actually IBS or just an excuse to get me out of the surgery and fob me off because he can't be bothered and doesn't want to spent any money finding out / then having to actually treat me? Is this a case of a GP having the power to withhold diagnosis / treatment just because he doesn't like me?

In desperation I have decided to go private ,but I still had to get him to send a letter to the private hospital.

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User704925 said on 15 August 2012

I have had IBS since 2006 .. They dont no what caused this but the gp told me its due to stress with the loss of a close family member. I have been in and out of hospital and the gp for years and they couldnt find anything wrong with me. They then put it down to IBS, i have tried so many different tablets and the only ones that work is loperamide. Pepper mint capsuals was rubbish, and so was colac, .. I now have a problem which im hoping someone can help me with becauce my gp wont!! I have took loperamide for over 3 years, 90 tablrts every 3 weeks? I weighed 8 stone, and now i weigh over
10 stone, my stomachs bloated and i cant do no exercise because it makes me worse?? So depressed and i dont no what else i can do? But i wish this country would make
Ibs more serious, it made me nearly tip over the edge a
Few times! .. The first comment says to try Turmeric
Xtra? Has anyone tried these and have they worked? I might try them?

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Ainafeaiel said on 10 August 2012

I have IBS symptoms, brought on after a month of bullying by my supervisor at work. The symptoms really kicked off after that period, despite the fact that I was less stressed, and I am having tests to make sure I don't have an infection or some other condition.

So I had three months of symptoms, becoming gradually worse- especially the diahorrea. Peppermint tablets helped at first, then barely as time progressed. Then I started taking a herbal medication called Turmeric Extra and my symptoms almost disappeared overnight. I am still slightly crampy in the mornings, very slightly bloated now and then, but it has made such a difference. No diahorrea, no cramps during the day. I can eat normally (though I am being cautious here!). I feel lucky that I picked the right remedy after shuffling my feet at the chemists for so long !

Have turmeric tablets worked for anyone else?

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phodi said on 12 July 2012

my daughter has ibs shes only 12 ,she in so much pain across top of her stomach close to her ribs ,so uncomfortable for her ,she was in hospital for 4 days bout 6 weeks ago had lots of bloods ,scans ,xrays and they didnt see anything ,now its back again but this time nothing working ,shes now taking buscopan, omeprazole, peptac liquid peppermint ,(that she had years ago n its rubbish ) as bin suffering since she was 10 ...and pain killers !! i hate giving her all these drugs but i have no choice . they tryd to say she was constipated but this time shes bin going nearly every day and still no change .shes not a big fatty eater but we are now trying to understand her diet is wat we need to watch but as she didnt understand till now being bit older but since she bin ill shes not eaten alot and she bin ill this time 4 a week ....any help or advise please

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Tiny69 said on 01 May 2012

I belive my IBS started from a combination of food poisoning on holiday in France one year and exams stress, both around 15.

I'm male and now 27 so from the above not in the usual category of sufferer. My symptoms don't tend to be so varied, just discomfort (which I can live with) and lots of urgent trips to the loo (which are more difficult to live with!).

I've had all the tests for more serious conditions and tried exclusion diets - while lots of the common offenders certainly make it worse, excluding them doesn't fix it.

Loperimide (Immodium but don't buy Immodium for £5 odd, supermarkets do their own at 60-90p!) does help but is only temporary and in times of big stress I've found myself still having 'issues' after a huge dose.

Having read the comments here and on the linked pages I think I differ from most sufferers in that I'm not a natuarally anxious person, in fact most people think I'm too chilled out (except when I can't find a toilet on a trip etc...!). One GP did suggest that this could be because I'm internalising my stress/anxiety etc so rather than seeming stressed I get ill!

Anyhoo, my tops tips as I have to travel a lot with work - plan ahead, it makes you more relaxed with a plan of where you can stop etc and more often that not you won't need to if you know you can. Be honest with friends and family - we Brits don't like to talk about 'poo', even less when it's abnormal in some way but trying to hide it will worry others, increase your stress and decrease your ability to cope.

Above all else - do not just self diagnose. See your GP and get tested to make sure there aren't other underlying issues. Tests range from the hydrogen breath test for lactose intolerance which is quick and easy to colonoscopies which are invasive and unpleasant once you've ruled the rest out you can get on with managing your IBS in the way that works for you.

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yydelilah said on 25 April 2012

"Your doctor will want to make sure that it is IBS that you have and not another more serious illness, such as food allergy, an infection or an overactive thyroid gland."

I've had IBS-like symptoms for over 20 years and seen many GPs, none of whom have bothered with the above. They just assume it's IBS unless there are other symptoms. It's time that GPs took this condition far more seriously as it can be extremely debilitating.

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Trontano said on 13 April 2012

I have suffered from IBS for 9 years since the ago of 18. I have always been sensitive to my body and to pain. My doctor says it is no surprise I suffer from IBS especially with my experiences which have been stressful. My counsellor allows me to explore and manage stress and this has had some positive results on when and how I suffer with my IBS. My symtpons have reduce, or at least I am less sensitive to them.

At least I know IBS is not life threatening and is a very minor issue within my life. I am simply trying to get over it and almost ignore it as much as I can,

As I become stronger in my mind I can see how my IBS symtpons retreat.

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User653592 said on 08 March 2012

By treating "IBS", primarily, as an illness caused by stress, the NHS is hampering the funding of research into this condition. Such an attitude dooms people to a lifetime of possibly unnecessary suffering. There is no scientific evidence showing that "IBS" is caused by stress, hence scientific research is needed. What little research is being funded has had some success: google "Proof that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not in your Head".

You only have to look at "Gulf War Syndrome" sufferers, an illness that is also considered psychosomatic to see that attitudes matter: this condition has received very little attention in the UK - most of the research has been carried out in the US.

Is this the future for "IBS" sufferers, too - neglected and left to suffer, some in a suicidal state? Until attitudes change, until science trumps mere opinion, it is.

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User653592 said on 08 March 2012

Ibs is caused by stress - where's the scientific evidence?

Gps are useless - they sit arouind patronising their patients and get huge sums for doing so.

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MHprof01 said on 03 February 2012

I have had IBS symptoms for about three years, and was started on Mebeverine four months ago. The drug certainly helps. What I find helps the most is not eating processed or junk food - if I eat meals prepared from scratch, even spicy meals, I have no symptoms. If on the other hand I am busy at work, and go 2 or 3 days on take-aways or ready meals then the symptoms (gurgling stomache, slight diarrhoea) come back.

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cassie 1 said on 30 January 2012

i have had ibs for 20yrs plus which flares up from time to time . Since xmas has been awful with colic, urinary frequency, vague nausea and bloating plus being exhausted. Would welcome any advice. Take buscopan and port and brandy when really bad! Going back to GP for review(haven't seen re ibs for years). Feel very fed up at mo and unsure what to do next.. Wonder if need to completely overhall my life re diet and day to day activities. Hitting 60yrs this year so wonder if it is age related re in crease in symptoms.
Welcome any advice/ thoughts.

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ATA said on 29 January 2012

I had IBS for 15 years or so and doctors did not resolve it. I have done much research and experimented and can honestly say that the best thing I have found is probiotic vitamins. Healthspan do a range that not only seem to stop you catching everything also stop most symptoms.

Also stress is a major factor,. I didn't even know I was stressed so you really need to dig deep and look at your lifestyle.

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michaelnsrm said on 23 January 2012

i have ibs had it for long time i used to suffer with diarer constantly had to time journeys to where toilets were now l only have diareer every couple of months i read an article by a lady in canada she ate rice krispies and had no diareer i tried and have been free for about 10 yrs it works a bowl of rice krispies every morning its stopped the diareer dead

i would ask what works for constapation anyone know

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pizzaexpress123 said on 20 January 2012

i was diagnosed with i.b.s and chronic fatigue mid last year.
it started with pains in the high right side of my abdominal area and the stomach.
it was early 09 after a massive binge fest of two months of constant alcohol.

i was vomiting and had diarrhoea for the first five days( assuming my bodys clearin the toxins) so the doctors said it was infalmmation of the stomach lining and liver.
after 1 course of anti inflammatries they took me in to get an ultrasound and it was clear.

the pains where getting worse and iwas nauses quiet alot of thye time(times i was vomiting)
so then i was told it was i.b.s at my local surgery.
urine, bloods and stool where all checked and all cleared.
one thing came up...helicobactor.
i was givin antbiotics for it.
then back on i.b.s medicines

after a few months of medication for i.b.s more symptoms appeared,(non- side affects) headaches, nosebleeds( apperas to be worse than ever, nosebleeds during sleeping), urinating alot more( 12-16 times day), sleeping more than usaul(sometimes cannot be woke, like an unconsious sleep),pins and needles, nail tips going whiter and cracking, shoulder pains(like scrapping), tightness of chest, shooting pains in arm and exhausting/drained of all energy.

exercise makes it worse and i am tired very easily( try to run up stairs rather than walk to keep my stamia but im knackered by the time a get to the top) and i dont suffer from stress
(although this doesnt help lol)

if this is i.b.s(which i am unsure of but takin meds anyway) what else can i do or take to help relieve this pain?

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HPlady said on 14 September 2011

I had burning pains in my stomach. It was not IBS as the doctors thought.

It turned out to be H. Pylori which can be treated with a special triple therapy of antibiotics and a PPI (proton pump inhibitor to reduce acid in the stomach).

Many doctors misdiagnose H. Pylori.
If nothing else works, get your GP to do a H. Pylori breath test which can be done as a prescription at home and then sent away to the company that does them. It is a cheap, painless and accurate test.

Now that I have had the triple therapy I feel a lot better.
Please ask your GP for this test if nothing else is working.

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simples said on 06 September 2011

I had horrendous diarrhoea for 9 years, after hospital tests, cutting out dairy products, stopping eating red meat and various medicines from my Doctor, all had no or little effect,,,until 1 year ago. Then i decided to loose a few stone. ( i wasn't much over my ideal weight) then within 2 months the diarrhoea stopped & 13 months on i am much better, i lost 3 stone in all (still 1 stone overweight according to various web sites) but if eating junk food was the problem, then i'll stay way clear.
Everyone is different, but this worked for me,,.

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NHS Newbie said on 13 July 2011

I'm 23, female and haven't changed/added anything new to my diet. I'm pretty sure I have IBS (after reading several articles online and in books) however, although I have experienced other health repercussions due to job stress over the last year, I am less stressed now. Is it possible IBS can start AFTER a stressful period?

Any advice would be appreciated!

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georginamiles said on 06 May 2011

The 'IBS Explains' video on this page invites you to join the IBS Network (formerly The Gut Trust), as the best course of action, and a source of advice. It doesn't mention that it costs £24 pounds to join. You have to pay this before you can see if it's useful. Is there not an equivalent that is paid for by the tax payer?

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alyhyena said on 14 April 2011

it says that hypnotheraphy is good for IBS but you cant have it if you live in Gwent

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ahmedeshak said on 13 January 2011

Does any one know the difference between IBS and GERD.
I have a GERD but I beleive was diagnosed wrongly as IBS

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ashdav said on 26 July 2010

Interesting information on how to resist IBS. I am wondering if taking any tablets actually help with IBS. For example if i take Imodium ( http://www.imodium.co.uk ) or something like that is that a good idea?

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alhaitch said on 03 March 2010

Several bouts of ibs lead me to thinking that ,in my case ,it could be associated with diet. The fact was that it only occured when we were visiting friends in Newcastle or they were visiting us. [i.e. a period of reduced stress ]. A common factor in our meetings,however,was breakfast. This was always orange juice followed by cereal and toast. I have since put the idea to the test and found that orange juice followed by a milky cereal will indeed cause ibs symptoms.

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sweed said on 09 December 2009

I almost paid for a York Test after seeing Rawdon's comment here, but I decided to do a bit of research first. Then I found this: http://holfordwatch.info/2009/03/31/allergy-uk-wants-yorktest-igg-food-intolerance-tests-available-on-nhs/

Worth reading, if only to help people make their decision about paying for this expensive test.

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savaloys said on 24 August 2009

Am I correct in thinking the NHS will run allergy test for me free?

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