Alright, I know this has been addressed in a few other topics, but this is a little different. And forgive me for being so long; it's a really long story.
Three years ago I had my gallbladder removed after six months of abdominal pain, my dominant symptom, and a little D here and there. I have a family history of gallstones, and when the pathology report came back it found that mine was not functioning, which explains the pain.
After surgery, I was told by both the surgeon and my gastro doctor to expect a nice, normal life. That lasted for about a month.
Maybe I should mention that my gastro doctor is pediatric. I was fifteen when the pain started and am now nineteen, but I still "see" him (though he has "done everything he can," in his words).
about a month after the surgery, I started with the D again, but it was much more severe. At first it was just dairy I couldn't tolerate, then fried foods. I had the surgery in Fall 2004, and that spring I was unable to eat both dairy and fried foods. By summer I would be ok with fried foods and some dairy here and there. The same thing happened the next spring; for whatever reason, the fall has always been fine for me.
In May of 2006 I was diagnosed with IBS after a second endoscopy and colonoscopy came back normal. He put me on a very very low dose of amitriptyline, which has helped a little of the D and stomach pains I would get here and there. It helped a lot, and I thought that would be the end of it. It was summer by that point, so I could tolerate fried foods. The only thing I stayed away from was dairy.
This year, however, it changed. I have learned the hard way I can no longer tolerate dairy, fried foods, red meat, egg yolks, oils & fats, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners, even through the summer into fall. I had a burger a few weeks ago and had one of my worst attacks ever.
My mom bought a book for IBS that actually said at the beginning that questran would help if you'd had your gallbladder removed and were diagnosed with IBS. I never even thought this could be what my problem was. None of the doctors I'd seen had even thought of this. This discovery happened about two weeks ago. My gastro doctor was very reluctant to put me on it, and suggested I try a low-fat diet, which I've been on all summer. Finally he put me on the generic form, cholestyramine.
I've been taking it for almost two weeks now. The only thing is that he put me on 1/2 a packet a day, and from what I've read, 1 to 4 packets a day is normal. It helped a little the first week, but I'm back to having crampings and D again. And it makes me nauseous to take it in water, so I've started taking it in orange juice. The only problem with that is drinking orange juice in the morning without much else makes me sick. I can't not take it in the morning, either.
And to top it off, I just transferred colleges and am living away from home for the first time. I met with the dietician today, and she hasn't even really had anyone with IBS before, so she didn't have much of a clue when trying to figure out what I could eat in the healthy cafeteria. She kept asking me if I could tolerate milk or cheese. I've lost 16 lbs since the beginning of May by not eating normal meals. Everything has made me sick and also very reluctant to eat. My diet consists mainly of grilled chicken, rice, plain potatoes, pretzels, and bagels.
My friend is in school to become a dietician and tipped me off about enzymes. She thinks they are worth taking, but I'm not sure. My doctors have never mentioned it, but then again, they never thought that not having a gallbladder was the cause of my "IBS."
Also, when I have the D, it's not right after eating. It takes an hour or two, with at least a half hour of cramping and discomfort before it happens. I do have the burning and it's yellowish. I've had stool samples collected, and they've all come back normal.
I just found out about welchol tonight. So here are my questions:
Should I ask to switch from cholestyramine to welchol?
Or should I ask him to up the dosage to more than 1/2 a pack a day and see how that works?
Should I be taking enzymes to make up for those lost when my gallbladder was removed?
Do my symptoms even sound like PCS? Or am I just being a hopeful IBS sufferer?
I am currently on low dosage of amitriptyline, birth control (for regularity; my periods used to be pretty painful), metamucil with calcium when I remember to take it, as well as the 1/2 a pack of cholestyramine.
Any advice is greatly appreciated, and many thanks in advance. While I would never wish this on anyone, it's good to know there are people out there who have been through something like me and hopefully have overcome it.