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Do I have IBS?, or is it something else

Hi all,

Im sure you recieve many posts very similar to this...

I'm a 18yo male, since december last year (same time I quit smoking) I've had days where ill feel bloated or little discomfort in my stomach. I normally have bowel movements twice a day but feel like I haven't completly emptied my bowel. I have mild to severe anxiety in relation to feeling like ill 'need to go' when I leave the house for events etc. I have a family member with IBD and another with IBS. Ive been tested for inflammation and it has come back normal.

I don't get Diarrhea in terms of 'water' or constipation as in 'very hard' feces so I'm kind of puzzled with whats going on with me XD. There are times where ill think it's due to stress or maybe a food intolerance?

Any help would be great, I really hate not knowing haha..

Thanks,

  1. Well it sounds like ibs to me but I’m not a doctor. I would suggest going to a gastroenterologist and get him/her to test you so that you’ll both know and then go from there. That’s why I did and this, in my opinion is a major situation in my life. I also have multiple schlorosis but my ibs seems to be a major problem in my life!

    1. Hi , I'm so sorry you're dealing with these symptoms.
      First of all, I'm glad that your tests came back normal! What did your doctor say after receiving the results?
      Since you mentioned that the symptoms started when you quit smoking, I just did a quick Google search and it seems like digestive issues like abdominal cramps, indigestion, bloating, and constipation might be possible symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. I have looked through a couple of forums about the topic and it seems like that should improve within a couple of weeks or months, so it might not be the cause anymore, but maybe it was a trigger for your symptoms?
      Have you tried adjusting your diet to see if that helps? For example, you could do the Low FODMAP diet (https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/ibs-diet) or keep a food journal (https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/food-journal-download). It can also help to experiment with cutting out common food triggers such as gluten, dairy, caffeine, fatty foods... Of course, not everyone reacts to those, it's just a starting point!
      Stress and anxiety can also cause issues like that or make them worse. I have anxiety and it's by far the biggest IBS trigger for me. Did you experience anxiety before, or only since these symptoms started? There are many techniques that you could try to deal with that, please let me know if you'd like me to share a couple of them.
      I hope this helps!
      Karina (team member)

      1. Hi , I'm kinda being sent everywhere by my docter, they're not really much help. As for my smoking I've been quit for 5 months so I don't think the withdrawls still apply. Ive just always been anxious. I haven't really noticed any foods affecting me. I have had previous cases of constipation but not severe and it resolved quickly. Can soley constipation cause these symptoms along with stress and not IBS?.

        Thanks.

        1. Bloating and discomfort can definitely be caused by constipation and stress. Maybe just eating foods that can help with constipation (as described here: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/food/constipation-food-tips) could help alleviate those symptoms? Certain kinds of magnesium could also work, as described here: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/vitamins-constipation. I sometimes find that taking magnesium also helps with my anxiety.
          Karina (team member)

      2. How often do flare-ups typically happen?, Rarely, like today ill wake up and have to go 2-3 times in the span of 2 hours but it won't be diarreaa. Going back to docters tonight, but it's so annoying to deal with and kinda scary as I'm terrified of it happening while im camping

        1. How often flares happen really depends on the person and also how well the IBS is managed. I used to get them almost every day at the beginning, now I can go several weeks in between flares sometimes. For me, flares often mean 10 bathroom visits in one hour, plus feeling sick and/or very uncomfortable. I do get other, milder flares that are more easily manageable, too. We're all very different though.
          I completely understand why you're terrified of camping! I'm going to share an article about camping tips with you: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/camping. Hopefully, it'll help you prepare for the trip. I personally have never been camping since my diagnosis, but I did travel quite a bit and I found that being open with the people you travel with and managing expectations can help a lot.
          How did your doctor's appointment go?
          Karina (team member)

        2. Definitely varies with each person. Mine was every 9 months 6 yrs ago, then was every 3 months 3 yrs ago. Past 12 months its every 7-30 days. Have fun camping, dont think about it too much, take some tylenol or immodium before the trip if you can. More importantly... Bring a bucket lined with a large garbage bag, filled with a little bit of kitty litter and the usual toilet paper, wipes maybe couple extra bags.. How long is the camping trip for?

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