Saturday, 13 October 2012

IBS..a vicious circle

I was diagnosed with IBS about seven or eight years ago, after undergoing various tests, including a colonoscopy, to make sure my symptoms were nothing more sinister.

IBS sufferers all have their own triggers.  A flare-up can be caused by many things, including diet and stress. It can also run alongside depression.    In many cases symptoms can be quite mild and they don't interfere too much with daily life.  Some people can have quite nasty attacks (me included) and it can be very debilitating, with chronic stomach and back pain, nausea and fatigue.

I manage mine pretty well most of the time.  I try to be careful with my diet, and I'm not someone who likes to use medication unnecessarily.  However, my trigger is stress and anxiety.  This leads to a bad attack that can last for weeks.  Which makes me tired and depressed.   Which leads to more anxiety.  Which means an attack can go on and on and on...until the cycle is broken.

Occasionally my IBS attacks result in a bowel infection and necessitate a visit to the hospital, where various tests are carried out, antibiotics and other medication are prescribed, and this helps.

My current flare-up has been going on for a couple of weeks.  It started when Mr A's job finished earlier than expected.  He was home for a week but he was very stressed and grumpy.  This in turn causes me stress.  It got worse when he set off for Antalya last Monday to work in a hamam for the rest of this month.  Antalya is so far away and although I am used to being here on my own, it has made me realise just how isolated I am in this village....and this makes me anxious.

I hate visits to the hospital.  It's difficult enough to get through the system if your Turkish is fluent.  When it's not, it's almost impossible.  Believe me..I've attempted to do it on my own.  I need Mr A with me, and he won't be back until the end of the month.

I have got to know a lovely pharmacist in Milas who speaks English.  I went to see him on Wednesday and explained my problem.  His wife also suffers the same condition so he knows what he's talking about.  He felt sure that I had an infection so suggested a course of antibiotics (having researched the internet for the one he felt best for me) and some antispasmodics.  I'll give them a go and hope that they work.   Otherwise, I will just wait until Mr A returns and make another trip to the hospital.

He also mentioned the benefits of pomegranates.  A small amount of juice each day apparently helps.  His wife also boils the pomegranate skin and drinks the water.  She swears by it.  I'll try anything!

IBS is a common condition, so I feel sure that some of my readers are sufferers.   I wondered if you would share your experiences and any tips you have for dealing with it.


Reference:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_bowel_syndrome



22 comments:

  1. I have often had bouts of IBS and have suffered with it for a long time. This has now caused me anxiety because with the cancer scare I really can't just take for granted anymore that it is what I was used to for a long time. My advice is, if it hasn't gone (pain) within a month get medical advice.
    I have to be wary of certain foods.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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    1. You're absolutely right Maggie. I never allow a bout to go on for too long before seeking medical advice. I do try to be careful with what I eat but I haven't yet identified any foods which trigger an attack.

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  2. Did you tell me (or did I dream it) that you also have migraine attacks?

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    1. I don't think it was me Nomad. I used to get the occasional migraine but haven't had one for some years (touch wood)

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  3. Fortunately I'm not a sufferer but I do very much identify with your worry about seeking medical advice in a foreign language. It must be so difficult when your illness is stress related. Sympathies from France x

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    1. Thanks Rosie. Yes that's the biggest problem really. Making myself understood, and getting them to understand what triggers it.

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  4. Ayak, that does sound to be the most miserable situation, with two inter-linked conditions and all the added stress of Mr A's absence and your geographical and linguistic isolation. Thank goodness for the pharmacist in Milas. I hope his prescription helps until you can get a proper hospital check-up.

    Sympathies from Wales too. xx

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    1. Thanks Perpetua. I think the antibiotics are working. I am feeling a little better today x

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  5. I'm sorry to hear you are suffering from a bout of this most unpleasant condition.
    My late husband had IBS all his adult life and found that when a bout was really severe, antibiotics were usually a help. They do not cure the condition of course, but rest, warmth and bland food, and (easy to say I know) no stress, can make life a lot easier.
    I have diverticular disease and find the same treatment is also effective for that, at least some of the time.
    Blessings, and I hope you soon recover from this attack.

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    1. Hello Ray, and thankyou for your good wishes. My brother also has diverticular disease so I do sympathise with you. My brother and I share similar symptoms at times, and also ways of relieving them. Keeping warm isn't a problem at the moment as the temperatures are still good..and I'm resting up xx

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  6. How rotten to have this situation and have all the problems of explaining it in a foreign language...thank goodness for that pharmacist.
    Mr. Fly has had bouts of IBS over the years...and I link it to stress. Plenty of beans in the diet seems to help him, and some hefty helpings of natural yogurt but I think eveyone has different reactions...a friend with IBS finds plenty of mashed potato helps her.
    I'm sorry you're so stressed....the sense of isolation with Mr. A so far off must be miserable.

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    1. I also eat lots of natural yogurt Fly, but probably not enough beans. I do try to be careful with what I eat. There's not much we can do about stress though..that really takes a lot more change!

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  7. Hope the antibiotics have kicked in and you are feeling better today.

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  8. Sorry about your troubles and that you have IBS...my sister in law has it..... was bad years ago but she has controlled it somehow.... never hear any complaints anymore but she does drink strong coffee a few times a day from Starbucks. I thought that would be harmful but apparently not for her and she's not stressful, kids are away at Universities and my brother travels a lot....so she's alone at home with her cat, doing anything as she pleases and doesn't worry about anything I noticed....
    That's a downer that Mr. a is working a distance away...the sense of isolation from him and being in a village with lil' English I can understand you fully.
    Hoping the best for you and maybe what the Drugstore Pharmacist mentioned to do like his wife does might just bring on some relief.

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    1. Hi Erica. It's interesting that you mention your sister in law drinking coffee. I too drink quite a lot of coffee but it doesn't appear to have any effect on my condition.

      I know it's stress and anxiety that makes it worse. Although I love this village, and I actually don't mind my own company most of the time, occasionally I have a sense of panic about being isolated. It usually passes, as I'm sure it will this time. xx

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    2. I live in a big city and when nobody is home I too can get a sense of panic. When I have a dog I'm okay but for the last few years we don't have one and my husband said....'what are we going to with one, when we go away"? Now I don't have any parents to look after one when I do go away to Turkey for a couple of months. :-( So it goes. XX

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    3. Erica I don't panic about being in the village on my own necessarily. I do feel very safe here. But I panic about being ill while I'm alone. I have no transport and if Mr A is so far away and unable to get home quickly I don't know how I would get to hospital. It's fairly irrational because the more anxious I become, the more ill I feel...that vicious circle again!

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  9. That sounds miserable.
    From what I have read IBS is a complex condition that is influenced by many factors.
    More recently there is good evidence that the the ecology of your gut microbiome can be significant. That is the various populations of gut bacteria and their interaction with your body.
    This can be influenced by stress and diet but doctors have had good results by inoculating the colon with a new population of bacteria. This is done by enema.
    I heard about this last year on Australian radio where a doctor described how following this treatment a woman who had been suffering chronic diarrhoea for a year made a full recovery in a couple of days.
    Here is a link from Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=swapping-germs

    I am back in England now as my mother is getting very frail and has had a couple of serious falls. My wife is closing the emlak business in Mersin and will join me here later.

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    1. Hi Peter. That sounds interesting. I'll take a look.

      Sorry to hear about your mother and that your business will be closing. Will you stay on in England permanently now?

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    2. I think I will have to, the problem is that if she falls over she in unable to get up without help.
      When I was in Turkey I had a call from her saying that she could not get up, I had to phone a neighbour with a spare key and call an ambulance to help her.

      For a couple of years a neighbours daughter had been coming a couple of time a week to help but she has a full time job now so can no longer visit.

      I have been kept busy with maintenance on the house and garden and I am making a bit of money from photographic work.

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    3. It's a problem being away from family Peter. You never quite get rid of the guilt feelings. At least now your mother has you to take care of her. Good luck with the photography, and maybe you'll be able to return to Turkey one day.

      Keep in touch and take care x

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