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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/16/2005 6:47 PM (GMT -7)   
My boyfriend was recently diagnosed with IBS. For the past few weeks, we've been worried sick through batteries of tests and him constantly feeling horrible. In July, he got a Deputy position with the local sherrif's office, which meant a nine week trip to the Criminal Justice Academy. He did fine for the first 3 weeks, but as the academic and physical demands progressively got harder, he started getting sick. Every weekend when he came home, he was completely stressed out and looked lifeless. He stopped eating, because his diarrhea had become so bad and he was scared to put anything into his stomach for fear of being in the bathroom a few minutes later. Finally, after losing 16 pounds (he only weighed 156 to begin with), he went to the doctor. Thus began the tests....blood was fine, besides being slightly anemic due to lack of iron in the diet, and X-rays showed nothing. He was sent to a Gastroenterologist where he had an upper GI with the small bowel, and again...all appeared fine. From there, he was told he was suffering from IBS and handed a prescription for an anticholinergic. He is totally convinced that there is something more going on. I, however, have been reading over this forum and have noticed that everyone here experiences the same problems. I have also read several online articles and it seems that it can take several weeks for the bowel to regulate after starting on an anticholinergic. What can I do for him to make his misery less traumatic?  I feel helpless and totally useless when he's in pain.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 4151
   Posted 10/16/2005 7:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi cksgirl,
Welcome to the forum :)
I love to see when people really care to come looking for help for someone that they love.
I'm sorry that your bf is going through this. I know for me I can sometimes forget how much our loved ones suffer from our illnesses as well just by feeling the pain of seeing what we go through. Which anticholinergic is he on? Is it Belladonna? Please make sure that he uses this medication with caution as it can be dangerous if he overdoses on it. Please keep reading the posts... I have found a lot of help here :)

Hugs, Des
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it" - Mary Engelbreit
Please help Healing Well continue to help others by donating

Post Edited (dbab) : 10/16/2005 8:45:05 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 10/16/2005 7:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi cksgirl,
Welcome to HealingWell!
I know it must be rough on you to witness your boyfriend's misery. I think the most important thing is for you to be supportive.... which we see that you already are since you are here. Go to the doctors with him and do as much research on IBS as you can (if you haven't already). IBS is a functional disorder and we can learn to control it... it just takes time.
Your boyfriend now needs to figure out what he can and cannot eat. He may also want to start taking a good multi-vitamin (if not already). Staying away from fatty foods, alcohol and caffiene are a good idea too. A fiber supplement might be something to consider. Probiotics are highly beneficial to the gut, especially someone with diarrhea (it's important to replenish the good bacteria). Calcium might be something to highly consider if his only problem is diarrhea (some of us have constipation too).
Again, welcome and I hope you continue to post. Please let us know how it goes with your bf's anticholinergic.
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/16/2005 7:50 PM (GMT -7)   
He's on Dicyclomine, but so far, it doesn't seem to be suppressing any colonic spasms.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/16/2005 10:03 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey there and welcome to this site.  Lots of great information from very supportive people.  That being said, can I ask a few more questions?  How old is he?  When did his symptoms start - in July, when he went to that academy, before, or after?  Has he ever had gastrointestinal ailments previously?  How often does he have diarrhea (D)?  Is there ever blood in it?  Does he have any other symptoms?  What's his diet like? 

You say he had an upper GI series/small bowel follow through (SBFT) and that test can be a good one to detect more serious abnormalities, but has the GI doc mentioned anything about a colonoscopy?  If he's having the big D, especially bloody D, he should probably get a scoping...also I think this is even more important since they found that he is anemic.  Anemia can be caused by a poor diet, and so can diarrhea, but things like inflammatory bowel disease can also cause diarrhea and anemia, so it's always good to have it checked out a bit further.

Let us know how you and he are doing! 

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/17/2005 5:13 AM (GMT -7)   
He's 22 years old. The ailments started in August when the Academy became stressful. He has the D daily, about once or twice, and it's not bloody. The GI actually did a full rectal and determined that he is not passing blood before he diagnosed him with the IBS. He's anemic because of diet, and because he has a hemmorhoid that was bleeding for a few weeks. The GI wasn't at all concerned about the Hem., and acted like it posed no problem at all. I, on the other hand, feel strongly that it needs to be removed....especially if it's ultimately resulting in Anemia. To answer the other question....his diet has changed significantly since he's gone to the academy. Before, he was a fitness guru that ate all the time and worked out daily to maintain 155 lbs. He couldn't bear the thought of eating the food they served at the Academy so he began passing up breakfast and  sometimes lunch. When it came time for dinner, he would go out to a restaurant (EVERY night) and eat. It got to the point, however, that he couldn't eat much at night, after starving himself all day...which is completely understandable. I do believe he has IBS and that his diet AND the tremendous stress has contributed to the recent show of symptoms; but, it's hard to make him understand that IBS is as serious as the pain he feels.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 185
   Posted 10/18/2005 6:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Here is the calcium information. I know it is a lot to take in but it may be will worth it to see if this simple solution can offer you the relief it has me and many others. You need to follow it as close as you can to get the best results. I know it sound too simple to work but it really does help a lot.

This is what has helped me for more than 7 years with almost daily attacks of urgent diarrhea after having my Gall Bladder removed. Calcium is known to be constipating so if you are that IBS type do not take it. All calcium is not the same. Here is the what and how to take the calcium information if you suffer from diarrhea.

Calcium is an OTC supplement we all do not usually get enough of. No Rx is needed to purchase this.

When you take calcium about 40% of the dose gets to the bones the rest is eliminated in our waste. The calcium goes to the intestines and soaks up excess fluids and binds them together and they are gotten rid of in our waste.

This is a process that can be continued by taking the calcium carbonate on a daily basis thus giving a more formed BM.

There is calcium carbonate which helps us with diarrhea and there is calcium citrate which is more easily absorbed by the body and gets to the bones but is not as helpful in controlling diarrhea.

A lot of the calcium supplements contain a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. Magnesium is not helpful for us with diarrhea only causing more in most cases. So, do not purchase this combination. It will only make things worse. Also if you are taking a multi vitamin with magnesium this may be a source of some of the problem if you are having diarrhea. Also for me vitamin A, C, and E seemed to cause me stomach upset. If you check this out your will see they too can cause diarrhea. It is better not to take a multi vitamin while trying to get the calcium to help.

The dose to take is different for everyone. I must take 3 a day one at each meal and it does not make a difference if I take it before during or after just take it regularly. Taking them at least 4 or 5 hours apart is also necessary so the calcium has time to go through the system and soak up excess bile and water. Sometimes, because of the long number of hours between dinner and breakfast it may be necessary to adjust your timing to taking one at bedtime with a small snack to get better results if you are a person who usually suffers from diarrhea in the mornings. I think the way it works is the dose you take prior helps with the current meal and the distress it may cause.

The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with Vitamin D and Minerals in the purple and white box. This information is from the many users that have sent me emails and of the posters on the web sites I have dealt with. I hope this will help anyone wishing to try it and I am always here to answer any questions for you. I have a lot of feed back form many users.

You must also have some testing done to be sure you are not dealing with anything more serious. This is most important.

There are other things to consider. If you take any other meds check the side effects and also check with the Doctor or Pharmacist to see if taking calcium will interfere with your other medications and how you might take them. I know if you take thyroid meds it is important not to take the calcium at the same time but you can take the thyroid meds one hour before you take calcium or 4 hours after taking the calcium. The calcium will soak up the thyroid medication and you will not be getting the benefit from it. You should also look at the side effects of any other meds you may be on this can contribute to the success or failure of using calcium to help to control your diarrhea. You may also consider if you are constipated and taking calcium this may be the reason for your constipation. You can most likely switch to another form of calcium to relieve this also.

The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium, you may have some gas or indigestion but this usually goes away soon after taking a regular dose for a few days as your body adjusts to the added calcium. For most it is about 3 days and it is important to start with the lower dose so you don't have the added distress and think the calcium is not helping but making you worse.

Starting with 1/2 tablet doses with each meal will lessen this problem and it may be enough to control the diarrhea attacks without making you constipated.

Constipation can be a problem so be careful not to take too much. It is safe for most of us to take 1800 mg a day as long as your body processes calcium correctly and you do not have some underlying problem. Check with your Doctor.

I had my gall bladder removed in 1976 and from that time on I had suffered urgent attacks of diarrhea. It is now known to me that is called Bile Salts Diarrhea. This happens to a good percent of people who have had their Gall Bladder Removed. I Went through a lot of test but nothing else could be found. I took many of the meds for bowel spasms and cramps over the years but nothing ever seemed to help. I started to take a calcium supplement to help prevent bone loss in later years and from the first day I felt relief. I was pretty much a prisoner to the bathroom or had to go without eating to be able to leave the house.

I must take 1 tablet with each meal and the diarrhea does not come back if I miss taking it I get diarrhea. It is a trial and error situation to find the right amount that may help you.

The way it works is the calcium carbonate it a binder and when you take it only about 40% of the calcium gets to the bones and the rest is gotten rid of in our waste. During that process it gets to the intestines and soaks up excess bile and water and helps give a more solid BM. Now that you have no gall bladder the bile fluid goes directly into the intestines and causes irritation and diarrhea. That burning yellowish color that you may see is the bile. The calcium carbonate soaks this up and no more diarrhea. It works great for a lot of us and you just have to take the calcium regularly and do not miss.

I started with Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals and it does seem to make a difference in the ingredients of calcium... This one seems to do the best job for most. You can buy other store brands of calcium with the same ingredients that work just as well but they need to have the same ingredients. I get Member's Mark Brand from Sam's Club you get 300 tablets for 8.99. I know Walgreens has their brand with the same ingredients and if you live in the UK Boots has been reported to have something similar. Let me know if you need more help. You won't be sorry if you try it.

I suggest starting with 1/2 tablet with each meal at first this may be enough to control the diarrhea if not in a few days up the dose to 1 tablet with each meal or any combination there of. The side effect is constipation so if you feel it coming on just stop taking it until you have a BM then start back on a lower dose. It is important to use a calcium that is as much alike as the Caltrate brand from the feedback I have gotten.

Let me list the ingredients:

Vitamin D 200 IU (The sunshine vitamin needed to help the body absorb calcium)

Calcium 500 or 600 MG (This should be calcium carbonate form) (Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium is vital to muscle and nerve function, blood clotting and metabolism.)

Magnesium 40 MG (No more than this amount because magnesium will cause you to have diarrhea but because calcium is constipating the magnesium helps to counter act that effect) (Magnesium is essential to build bones and is needed for muscle function, energy metabolism, trans-mission of nerve impulses and to make genetic material and protein.)

Zinc 7.5 MG (Zinc is necessary for some metabolic processes, normal growth and sexual development, and proper immune system functions.)

Copper 1 MG (Copper promotes iron absorption and is essential to red blood cells, connective tissue, fibers and skin pigmentation.)

Manganese 1.8 MG (Maganese plays an important role in metabolism and is also needed to build bones and tendons.)

Boron 250 MCG. (Improves calcium and magnesium retention. Similar improvements can also be seen in Vitamin D deficient post menopausal females.)

There are other brands with the same ingredients so get something as close as you can. Then start with 1/2 tablet with each meal and in a few days if this is not enough to control your diarrhea then up the dose to 1 tablet with each meal. If you feel you are becoming constipated then cut back on the dose. You may have to stop the calcium completely then start back after you have a BM at a lower dose.

It has been working since the first day I started taking it July 1998 and as long as I take 3 a day (this is the amount I must take it may be different for you) I remain diarrhea free. No cramps, bloating or diarrhea. No stomach noises, gas or pain. If I should happen to have a case of diarrhea for who knows what reason it is very short lived and not the pain involved like before and this I am sure happens to even normal people. It is usually a one shot deal and it is over.

The dose you take with each meal is not the dose that is helping you at that meal it is the prior ones that have time to works their way through you system to soak up excess bile and water in the intestines.

It also works for those of you who still have the gall bladder.

Take Care,


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