Medical Questions? Ask a Doctor Online!
I have frequent bowel movements in the morning or after I eat, sometimes very loose, but not always. There is a sense of panic and urgency if I am not close to a bathroom. It's been a few months, off and on but seemingly more lately.
Do you have any blood in the stool or do you have any bowel movements in the middle of the night?
Do certain foods cause the frequent bowel movements?
Do you have abdominal pain or cramps?
Have you had any tests done?
No to the middle of the night
Some pain and cramping
I had 2 colonscopies in the last 7 years - normal
You sound like you have classical Irritable Bowel Syndrome. With IBS you need to make sure no other serious diseases are present. Some serious diseases may present with bleeding or weight loss, nocturnal symptoms or faecal soliage. This means you may need to have tests such as colonoscopy, possibly biopsy, barium X-Rays and stool analysis for infection to rule out other diseases such as celiac sprue, colitis, infection, or tumor. With IBS no physical abnormalities are found. This is why it is called a functional disease. Once these tests are done, and they are up to the your doctor's discretion, this diagnosis is made. If your symptoms are very suggestive of IBS your doctor may not want to perform every test. A very helpful test you can take yourself online is http://www.ibsjennifer.com
You may have IBS-diarrhea predominant, constipation predominant or mixed symptom IBS. All types are accompanied by discomfort in the abdomen. In diarrhea predominant, ispaghula husks 2-3 sachets daily, anti-diarrhoeal agents such as Imodium or Lomotil can be used. Anti-spasmotics such as hyoscine OTC may be tried but have side effects. Anti-depressants have possible use as does peppermint oil (200 mg capsules 2-3/day). There is new and impressive evidence that an antibiotic called rifaximin may be helpful in diarrhea predominant IBS. It is thought that it alters certain bacteria that may cause discomfort or bloating. You may ask your doctor about this. A drug called Alosetron is also used. Probiotics, good bacteria, such as Activia may be helpful in both types. There is no scientific evidence to support alternative medicine options. Some foods may make symptoms worse and you must exclude those that have a bad effect. Some examples are beans, cabbage, broccoli, carbonated beverages and dairy products. Small frequent meals instead of three large meals may help. For gas and bloating, OTC medicines containing simethicone (Gas-X Mylicon) may help. Behavioral therapy such as bowel training and psychotherapy may help in some severe cases.
I do not understand the ispaghula or sachets terms
Ispagula is just a name for fibre like in metamucil. A sachet is like a packet.
Is a probiotic such as Digestive advantage - Irritable Bowel a good idea. I do take that now and it seemed to help for awhile and now it doesn't seem to be helping.
It may help. There is no good proof.