A Little Help Please...

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Blairstl
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 1/25/2007 10:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Well I have Crohns Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Thats my background.  I started a flare that included blood, constipation, bad pain in lower right side and all over, fatigue, etc. The constipation is what made it unusal for me-but it is an unusal disease! All my blood work, stool samples etc., came back normal. The colonoscopy came back with bleeding ulcers and inflmation. I was put on all kinds of meds and the bleeding stopped but not much else. My doctor seems to think the leftover symtoms is IBS that came the same time as my flare.
I am having a hard time with this becuase the symptoms I am having feel the same as always while in a flare (minus the constipation). So finally here is the question...  How does IBS work and what are the treatments for it. Does it include horrible cramping pain and unusual stools( I mean shape (like pencil/ribbon stool)). Does the medicine really help? Thanks guys for all the help!
Diagnosed 10 Yrs. ago at the age of 13 with both CD and AS Arthritis. Suffered from illness long before that. Allergic to many drugs including Sulfas and Imuran.


7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 1/26/2007 12:26 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Blairstl,
Welcome to the IBS board!  :-)
Unfortunately, IBS and IBD have overlapping symptoms.  This is why it is particularly hard to diagnose both.  Unlike IBD, IBS is a functional disorder.  Most of us live life relatively normal with diet adjustments and supplements and/or medication.  Here's a quick little exert I took about IBS from MayoClinic.org:

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by abdominal pain or cramping and changes in bowel function — including bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation...

There aren’t too many meds out there specifically for IBS that treats all symptoms.  However, you will find a variety that do different things:

  • Antispasmodics - Levsin, Bentyl, Donnatal, Pamine
  • Antidiarrheals - Immodium, Lomotil, Calcium
  • Fiber supplements - Psyllium, Metamucil, Citrucel, etc.
  • Laxatives - Miralax
  • Anti-Depressants - Elavil, Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Zoloft
  • Anti-Bile - Questran, Welchol
  • For constipation there is Tegaserod (Zelnorm) that is supposed to keep the bowels functioning properly and regularly.  It treats constipation, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.
  • For diarrhea there is Lotonex.  It reduces cramping, discomfort and urgency.
  • Probiotics - Promotes a health gut flora... it is "good bacteria" that helps push out the bad.
  • Digestive Advantage is for all IBS symptoms: bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal discomfort

I'm sure I forgot to mention some things, but those are all I can think of at the moment.  I'm sure others will add to this.

The problem is that we're all different and we react differently to meds.  Some may really help 1 and not so much the other.  For instance, Zelnorm worked miracles on me, but didn't fair so well with several other members on this board.  Some antispasmodics work wonders for some, while for others they are like taking a sugar pill.  The thing is that you have to keep trying different options until you find the one(s) that works for you.

 

To reiterate: Yes, IBS can include horrible cramping and can cause unusual stools.... You are not alone.


Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
 
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Blairstl
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 1/26/2007 9:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow, Thanks for the info! I guess I am a little frustrated because now how am I ever suppose to tell the difference between my Crohns and IBS? I guess I will have to figure it out! Can the IBS symptoms act like flares? I mean can they last for 6 months or a week and then go away? Thanks again
 
Diagnosed 10 Yrs. ago at the age of 13 with both CD and AS Arthritis. Suffered from illness long before that. Allergic to many drugs including Sulfas and Imuran.


7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 1/26/2007 11:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Blairstl,
That's the tricky thing about IBS and IBD, they are very difficult to distinguish between symptoms. I actually think there are a couple members on this board who have both. Right now I can only remember pb4.... hopefully she'll be around.
about the flares, they work a bit different. Yes, they can last for months at a time and then go away, but usually you can do something about it to calm it down. For instance, if you change your diet it can help tremendously. Also if you start eating fiber, probiotics, or try relaxation techniques. Meds can even help; like anti-depressants. If I am not mistaken an IBD flare works its course for how ever long it may be and there is no stopping it. Is that right? I'm just guessing...
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
 
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Blairstl
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 1/26/2007 3:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I am taking fiber and probiotics. I try to be careful about my diet and I am VERY aware of my restrictions! My Crohns flares do what they please... medicine can help get it into remission but not always right away. Thanks for the help. Yes, I would be very interested in seeing what other members have to say about having both IBD and IBS and how they tell the difference.
Diagnosed 10 Yrs. ago at the age of 13 with both CD and AS Arthritis. Suffered from illness long before that. Allergic to many drugs including Sulfas and Imuran.

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