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Freshly diagnosed - what to expect?


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Hey everyone, my name is Joe and I was diagnosed with IBS a few days ago.  I've been having stomach problems on and off for a little over two years now but kept getting clean labs (which I'm thankful for, don't get me wrong).  About a week before Christmas I had a case of gastroenteritis, but even after my fever went away I continued to have problems with stomach cramping and gas, and finally I've been diagnosed with IBS.  I've also been fighting a lifelong battle with anxiety, and based on what I've read I think a lot of people here can attest that that does NOT help.  As hard as it's been I'm slowly learning to live with it, and I'm hoping that by the time the snow melts outside my mental state at least will be back to normal.  In the meantime I wanted to ask a few questions regarding my condition to hopefully smooth the recovery process.

- My symptoms are abdominal distension and excessive gas, but thankfully no diarrhea or vomiting, and most of my bowel movements are in the type 3-5 range.  What specific form of IBS would that be?

- My symptoms tend to spike around 4-8pm, but thankfully they calm down in time for bed so I'm not up writhing all night.  Does that sound normal?

- I'm taking IBgard and dicyclomine and I'm already seeing promising results.  I'm currently taking the dosage recommended for flare ups and reading reviews saying that symptoms mostly subsided after 2-4 weeks is helping me stay optimistic.  What can I expect in the meantime?

- Is lean meat like chicken and turkey good for IBS?  Or at least neutral?

- Peppermint oil is the best.  That's not a question but I wanted to throw it out there.  GOD it's a lifesaver.

- My current anxiety meds are Fluoxetine, Mirtazapine, and I just got started on Buspirone.  Any gastric related side-effects in that cocktail I should know about?

-Any tips for handling IBS-related anxiety in general?

That's all for now.  Sorry for the wall of text, I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right.  This is coming right at a time where I'm starting to feel opportunities and better days opening up for me, so I want to make sure recovery is as smooth as possible.  I look forward to being part of this support group, and I hope everyone here has a great 2022.  ❤️

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Jeffrey Roberts

Dear Joe,

No doubt anxiety does seem to increase the symptoms of IBS so it's good that you have that in mind.

Technically abdominal distension and gas alone don't necessarily meet the criteria for an IBS diagnosis. Usually a change in stool or constant diarrhea or constipation meet the criteria. Still, abdominal distension and gas could be a functional illness which IBS belongs to. Ruling out a diet component to your symptoms would be a good thing to look into perhaps with a registered dietitian.

Most people with IBS find that mornings are the toughest and also after meals. It sounds like you are building up a lot of gas over the day and perhaps that's why 4-8pm is most difficult for you. 

Both IBgard (peppermint oil) and dicyclomine are anti-spasmodics so it seems like it's helping with the discomfort from the distension. Those two drugs can be taken as needed so I'm not sure that you have to wait for 2-4 weeks to see their full effect.

So fluoxetine can have diarrhea as a side effect and mirtzapine generally has constipation as it's side effect. Wondering if they are masking your true stool type? Still, if they are working for your anxiety that's awesome! Buspirone is new to me so I have no idea if it's going to affect your gut positively or negatively. I searched online and there's some evidence that it could also be helpful. It's definitely helpful for anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a therapist is the well known treatment for anxiety and IBS. Diaphragmatic breathing is also seen to be helpful for managing anxious moments related to IBS.

I hope you find this info useful.


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