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Is this really IBS or something else?

So for over a year now I've had problems with my stools. They are very loose, a mixture of constipation and diarrohea. I have very bad and frequent flactuence, sometimes in succession of each other; I have cramps and aches, my stools are runny and smell very bad. I'm at my wits end, my frequent urge to go to the toilet and spending forever in there because of how long it takes me to actually poop and clean everything up (its explosive), was a contributing factor in me being dismissed from work. I've been to the doctors and they've just said its IBS. They've done blood tests for coeliac etc and its been ruled out. However this can't just be IBS. I'm 19 it started like a year ago and there was nothing to trigger it. My diet is healthy I exercise a lot. Initally I thought it might be due to the SSRIs I was on but I changed them and the issues still persist. A year on, my stomach and bowels are the worst they've ever been. There is a history of bowel disease in the family; on my mum's side, my grandad died of bowel cancer and my mum was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in her early to mid 20s.

I feel I definitely need a gastrocophy or colonoscopy as this isn't normal and IBS seems too generic a diagnosis, and the doctors have not offered any support with this other than looking at "dietary changes" despite my diet being absolutely fine.

Please, I'm at my wits end here.

  1. I understand your frustration. I'm 60 and have had a lifetime of this. I've had every test available, only to confirm it's IBS. I take Cosmocol daily which prevents constipation. I also take ibuscopan when I feel Cramps coming on. When the pain really hits, it's so bad I have to take Tramadol. I believe the trick is to manage the condition as well as you can.

    1. I'm so sorry that you've been suffering from IBS for so long. Are you able to keep your symptoms somewhat under control with the medication you're taking? Karina (team member)

  2. It sounds as if you have IBS-D (diarrhea)? In which case, a diet that is "absolutely fine", might be your worst enemy right now.
    I guess you mean a "healthy fibre-rich" diet which is the norm for good health?
    Well, I lived on that sort of food for many many years (probably over 40!) But when I developed IBS-D, I found those lovely healthy foods irritated my gut badly.

    I investigated the low FODMAP diet and yes, it helped to some extent, though many low Fodmap foods still didn't suit me, and some "high" ones were fine for me. So it was trial and error. But I had to tailor my diet to my symptoms, and eat low fibre for a while which did calm my gut.
    It was only after a while that I could try small amounts of the "healthy" foods to see how my gut coped with them, and gradually increase the amounts, and see what happened.
    But mainly, be ready to adapt at any time, and obey my body.

    Also you can find out if you are : LACTOSE intolerant...GLUTEN intolerant....YEAST intolerant....SUGAR intolerant....have any other food intolerances (Lactose and gluten can be assessed by a doctor I think) The others ....again trial and error and personal observance. Keep a strict food diary. You might find the culprits.

    But bad smelling stool may point to there being some infection or infestation perhaps, or some kind of abnormal fermentation. Ask your doctor about this if you can. Will your doctor run stool analysis checks?.

    1. I completely agree with this comment from ! I would definitely have your doctor run more tests, at least a stool sample to make sure that you don't have an infection or parasite, and adapt your diet in the mean time. Have you tried the Low FODMAP diet before?
      Even if you tested negative for coeliac, you could still be gluten intolerant, however it won't show up in blood tests. I would try cutting out gluten and dairy for a week or two (but not at the same time) to see if it helps at all. I believe fructose intolerance can be tested as well, but I'm not sure ... and then there's histamine intolerance, too. This article might help:
      Wishing you all the best!
      Karina (team member)

  3. I have exactly the same problems. I’m 26 and very fit and active. I run 4-6 times a week and I work a manual job. I am really concerned there might be something else wrong with me because I get the problems you described every single day. The pain seems to irritate my bladder too and gives me the need to frequently urinate. I really feel like my life is being taken away from me. At the moment I take buscopan, fibergel and occasionally senna laxative to help me. I strictly follow the FODMAP diet and that has made little difference if any. I really worry about each day, hoping that I feel well enough to go to the shops or go running or something like that. I have been to the doctors maybe 12 times in the past couple of years. I’ve had blood tests etc to rule out coeliac and what not. I just really don’t know where to go from here because every day is very hard at the moment

    1. I'm going to link this post here:
      I used to always blame the foods I had just eaten, but after reading this article, I started noticing a pattern in my flares. I hope it helps! Karina (team member)

    2. I am exactly the same. Please let me know what the tests come back as saying

  4. Have you been tested for C-diff? It’s very likely you have IBS but I would not rule out C-diff infection. Explosive, foul smelling diarrhea can also be a sign of C-diff. It’s potentially a dangerous infection but can be cured with antibiotics. My father suffered with same symptoms and was told he had IBD (UC) but IBD meds helped only to some extent. He went for a couple of years like this then ended up in rehab from another unrelated illness. There, a nurse told me she’s positive he has c-diff because of the uniques foul smell of his BM and its explosive nature. He was tested, and sure enough!

    1. Wow, that's terrible that he had to live with it for a couple of years! Did his symptoms go away once the infection was treated?
      Karina (team member)

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