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I have IBS-M and I'm just not sure what I should do next. 

The IBS has changed dramatically over my life time (I'm 56 and I was initially diagnosed at age 17). I used to be constipated, have terrible cramping and pain, then go to the bathroom and felt fine again. That changed to going to the bathroom several times before I felt okay. Then, the episodes became more frequent (several times a week) until I could no longer work and the pain and cramping became almost unbearable to the point of fainting each time.

Now, on top of all that, after I have an episode, for days afterward, any time and everything I eat (dry toast, oatmeal, crackers, literally anything from regular food to stuff that's supposed to be easy on the stomach) causes pain and cramping.

I've been to doctors, a gastroenterologist, have tried Linzess and Hyoscyamine, did the Fodmap thing, all to no avail. There is not one food, or category of food that triggers the attacks. It can be anything. The only thing that consistently triggered an attack was soda, which I gave up years ago because of that.

I'm almost homebound, because I never know when an attack may happen, and they happen so frequently.

I'm at the end of my rope. what can I do? Do I just live with it? Stay home the rest of my life? 

I apologize if I sound angry. I'm frustrated. Help!


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Jeffrey Roberts

Hi Karen (lumun),

I would describe my pattern also as IBS-M leaning towards IBS-D. I'm a little bit older than you and I too was diagnosed around 17 years old.

The escalation of your symptoms with terrible pain and frequent episodes sound pretty awful. I'm sorry that you could no longer work.

I understand moving to an easy diet after an episode. When the episodes come so close together it becomes almost impossible to return to a "normal" diet. I found that I would have to force myself to eat through it and not move to an easier diet. For me, it really made no difference what I ate. What was going to happen was going to happen.

I understand what you mean by being at the end of your rope. IBS-M is notoriously difficult to manage because there are no medical protocols that doctors can follow for it.

Linzess and Hyoscyamine are kind of opposite medications. One treats constipation and the other is other is for pain and firms up the stool. 

Have you ever tried a low dose of an antidepressant? It's not for depression. Antidepressants can either speed up or slow down the gut and also help with pain. I'm not sure which one would be right for you, but I think they could give you some control back so that you can leave the home. I personally use 10 mg of Amitriptyline daily which tends to slow down the gut and help with pain. I've recently added another med called Viberzi so it can slow down my gut even more, but that can become very constipating which is a whole other set of problems. It's definitely a balancing act.

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