Last updated: January 2019
I have come here to share my experience so maybe it can help as many of you as possible.
My name is Kyle and I have been living with IBS-D for 4 years. I am 33 years old, I exercise 3 times a week, and my diet is balanced. My primary symptoms were loose stools, some bloating, cramping abdominal pain, and urgency after eating. Myself and my doctors believed that this was a chain reaction set off by getting a bug while visiting Mexico City in January of 2015. They put my on Flagyl and it did not get better. I underwent a number of tests all of which came back normal. I have tried many medications over the years including IBGard, Amitryptalene, Imodium, Fiber, probiotics, Viberzi, Xifaxan. As well as tried many diets including gluten free, FODMAP, and avoiding known irritants. I kept a diet and symptom journal for a period to try and detect a pattern. Absolutely none of this yielded any results. There was never a detectable pattern. Except one: traveling. Especially internationally. I always have the best poops when I travel. I always chalked it up to my diet being different, eating more bread therefore natural fiber or something like that. So I tried incorporating more of those foods into my diet to replicate the results, no luck. I was starting to think this condition was psychological for me.
Normal BMs with travel
I recently travelled to my parents and upon arriving, within 12 hours BMs were normal. And continued to be normal throughout the trip. My diet had not changed, and it hit me, the water. They are on well water. Something else happened in January of 2015, I moved to Houston. My doctors and I had always overlooked that fact, since the Mexico trip was the more likely explanation for my IBS. Once I returned home from my parents the BMs were back to loose. I went to the grocery store and bought several gallons of distilled water. I used distilled water for everything, my coffee maker, brushing my teeth, and drinking.
EVERY BM WHILE DRINKING ONLY DISTILLED WATER HAS BEEN NORMAL.
We are talking results within 12 hours or less. So it was the water, but what about the water was the problem? I checked Houstons water quality reports and everything is well within EPA standards. There were no red flags.
Drinking distilled water which is devoid of minerals long term is not the healthiest choice, so I have begun to try other sources of water to narrow down what the issue could be. Chloramine? Fluoride? So I bought some bottled "Spring water" symptoms returned within 12 hours. I will continue to try other sources. My next attempt will be Gerber water designed for babies, which is distilled then 3 minerals added back, no fluoride. I will continue to report back with my results to see if I can figure out which specific chemical has been the source of all my issues.
Tap water is used in ice, fountain drinks, coffee etc so avoid those while trying distilled. Remember not all bottled water is created equal, only distilled is virtually devoid of all disinfectants, contaminants, and minerals, (even reverse osmosis is only 90% effective at eliminating these). In 4 years, one doctor asked "Do you drink tap water?" I responded yes, and nothing was ever said or mentioned about it after that. Best of luck to everyone, I hope the helps a few people.
Editor's Note: This story has been edited from its original format with consent from the author.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?