Posted 5/25/2006 11:21 AM (GMT -6)
I think most people who have chronic gas pains take the Gas-X before they eat, since they're positive that they'll get gas anyways. I don't know that taking it when you don't have gas hurts you any, so long as you're not taking more than is recommended.
Your pain may or may not be gas. I do know, though, that when my gall bladder was acting up, I did have a lot of trapped gas pains in addition to my gall bladder pains. For some reason I couldn't pass gas. Burping, farting, it all stopped and everything stayed trapped inside. Since I've had it out, I am some better, but I don't fart as much as I did when I was a kid. Could be a diet change, could be related to the old GB
If you're having bile poops, then your pain may be caused by that. The bile can irritate your intestinal lining and give you pain that way. It could also trigger your intestines to spasm and that's causing pain. I'd start with the Welchol and then if you don't get any pain relief from it, ask for an antispasmodic as well. I had a lot of painful diarrhea last summer that the calcium and Welchol together seemed to take care of. As the diarrhea diminished, so too did the pain, so it's possible that if you can stop the excess bile, you'll stop hurting.
A lot of us use heating pads and/or hot, soaking baths to relieve abdominal pain. I think Europeans are still pretty fond of hot water bottles. Get you one of those at the chemist's and put your electric kettle on (I know THAT'S a required item in European kitchens, lol) and then fill your bottle with hot water. I took my hot water bottle with me to Ireland and that's how I used it. When I had my horribly severe attack, I filled it up with boiling hot water and just laid in on top of my clothes and sheets until it got so hot I couldn't stand it, then I moved it over a little. I suggest a slightly more tolerable temperature in yours.
IHOP and Golden Corral. Blech! Definitely two bad places to eat. Long before I developed gall bladder problems, Waffle House food, regardless of what it was, make me sick to my stomach. I shudder to think about what all nasty, greasy junk was in what I was eating. I certainly didn't go there of my own accord. After I got sick the second time I ate there, I refused to eat there anymore; if I was with my parents or friends and they wanted to eat there, I'd sit with them, but I refused to order anything. Like I said, that was BEFORE I developed any gut problems at all. Some restaurants just have food that's too nasty to digest, regardless. I have never been impressed with the quality of food in those "steak house" buffet places like Golden Corral and Ryan's. Cheap restaurants like that, Shoney's, etc., etc., aren't the first bit better for you than any fast food place. All of their food is full of unpronounceable ingredients, pre-frozen, and then just heated up when you order it. They don't cook any more food in a Shoney's than they do at McDonald's. Chick-Fil-A is the only decent fast food place that I know of; they at least deep fry in non-hydrogenated peanut oil which is one of those good fats (they also have an excellent chicken noodle soup); food from them has never bothered me, even fried.
Bile breaks down fat. Eating fat triggers the production of bile. Eat less fat, produce less bile. If you aren't already on a low-fat diet, by all means, try it out and see if that helps relieve your symptoms a bit until you can get some medicine. I went off my Welchol for almost a year while on (and even after coming off of) a low fat diet. Unfortunately I went to the other extreme while on my diet and had severe constipation. I don't think I could achieve a balance without the medicine, but at this point you'd probably welcome a little constipation; I did too at first.
You need to be really careful about what you eat, and not just in terms of fat. I think some fats are worse than others on your guts. Partially-hydrogenated oils of any kind--really, really bad. Cheese, olive oil, salmon, not so bad. I've been doing some studying on French diet versus American (Italian is supposed to be good too), and it's really amazing how much fake crap we put in our foods and how much of it we eat. I think all that junk may be a factor in some people's IBS. Our guts weren't designed to process benazthone-hoperperkseoijriejriowejhroie or Red #40.
Do you know there's a law in France that says bread for sale can only be made from water, salt, yeast and flour? You can't buy bread like that here! All of it has sugar because Americans somehow can't brown bread without sugar, even though the French manage it, and all of our wheat has to be enriched and our yeast autolysed (whatever that means). And that's in bakery bread; bread off the shelf is worse. When I went to toss out some fresh bread that had molded after a week, I noticed I still had a half-eaten loaf of low-calorie, high-fiber bread in the pantry. I realized it had been in there two months or so, yet when I pulled it out, it wasn't molded!!! It was so fake that mold wouldn't even grow on it! How shameful!
You're lucky in that you're in a country that has a good reputation for serving good food. Make sure you do everything in your power to avoid American foods while there. Eat what the natives eat and try to lighten up on the cheese and any cream sauces. The trick to eating low-fat isn't buying low-fat products (which are full of sugar, starch and even more unpronounceable chemical combinations): it's having just a little taste of good fats and no bad fats (like the partially-hydrogenated stuff in fast food and American pastries). If you are invited to dinner, ask them if they can serve something light since you have a delicate digestion and can't handle a lot of cream and cheese. In a restaurant, order things that don't have a heavy sauce. Most soups that get served for appetizers are light and brothy. Salads don't bother me any--although never eat pre-cut lettuce from a salad bar or from a bag-o-salad (not that they have either over there) as it is washed in chemicals to keep if from browning and this gives normal people diarrhea a lot of times. Only eat pork and red meats very occasionally, and avoid fatty meats like duck and mutton and organ meats, like liver. Eat a lot of flavored vegetables and some white meat chicken and fish and shellfish. Bread has never been a bother either; spread good butter or olive oil on it very thinly, just for a little taste. I have heard that good Italian olive oil and good, fresh butter is so rich that Europeans only ever use a tiny amount anyways. And, of course, you're living in pasta country. Eat it with tomato-based or broth-based sauces for low fat. You shouldn't be hurt by any yogurt, either, although go light on it because it's doubtful they make it over there with anything other than full fat. But, having eaten full fat yogurt myself, I can tell you a little goes a LONG ways. It's so rich, you can make a breakfast off just a couple of tablespoons. But, whatever you do, eat small portions and eat them slowly. This goes a long way towards keeping your guts happy and from feeling overwhelmed. If you have to, take some of your meal home to eat on when you get hungry later. It's better, when you have aggrevated guts, to take your regular three-squares and divide them all in half and eat less more frequently. I say take a regular meal and divide it in half because if you just make some food here and there, you'll end up eating more rather than the same amount.
Caffeine was my biggest trigger before and after my gall bladder removal. If you habitually drink cokes or coffee, try eliminating them. They both can cause additional problems through acidity and carbonation, so even non-caffeinated versions should be avoided. Also avoid alcohol; it seems to be bad for just about anyone with a messed up gut (regardless of why it's messed up). They'll probably look at you pretty strange for not wanting wine with your meal, but stick to your guns and just drink water. If they like to sit around and have coffee, then bring your own tea bag; the caffeine in the vast marjortiy of teas is so low as to not be a bother (at least not to me, and I'm pretty sensitive). I like green tea with a bit of sugar served at room temperature or iced and I also like English Breakfast tea with some cream and a bit of sugar; it's very good with chocolates. Ceylon tea needs almost no sugar and is also good after a meal.
Oh, and I'm not fiber expert (never has helped me any), but there are supposed to be some brands that mix up clear and don't get thick. Maybe some of the fiber drinkers will be around to recommed something else, or you can make a separate post asking which fiber supplements you can try.