IBS and Welchol
Where do I begin I am a 47 year old male that has had on and off digestive issues after eating most of my life. Two years ago my life was turned upside down as my stomach was no longer something I could control. As long as I can remember I have always carried a pocketful of Imodium - until it stopped working, I was having to use the rest room 6-8 times a day, next started "Bathroom Mapping" (where you plan your social life around the availability of nearby and clean restrooms).
It was depressing to have life take such a bad turn - mornings were my worst time, and it would cause me to show up late every morning. I would have to wake up 2-3 hrs earlier to try and clear my stomach so I could make the 25 min drive to work, with out the the frantic search for a restroom.
I had to cancel most early morning meeting, and never wanted to go out to a restaurant or movie with the fear of not being able to reach a restroom. So I started the process of seeking a specialist - (here where the fun begins) I went to a total of five GI specialist (all that specialized in IBS and Cohn's disease ) next came the testing a total of 25 stool samples, 15 blood tests, two Colonoscopy's , two Endoscopes - everything one of the five physicians had the same answer; "Tests are all clean it must be IBS" they came the questions are you depressed ? are you sure your having stomach problems ? and finally after pleading I was given Diphenoxylate/Atropione - which is basically Imodium on crack - so now with pills in hand my day would start with still waking up 2-3 hrs earlier and having to use the rest room. then taking 4 pills b/4 I could leave the house ( the drug make you tired and dizzy) driving to work in a fog - then taking two more pills b/4 lunch and one or two more b/4 dinner.
I kept that crazy insane procedure for one year - it was my band aid to get out of the house dizzy tired - I was still able to work 15 hrs a day work out at the gym 5 days a week and only use the bathroom once or twice a day. So I accepted this has my new life's regiment - as I couldn't find another option.
Then one of those life changing miracles happen - a family friend just happen to be watching the Discovery Channel and there was an interview with a physician that spoke loud and clear and hit home ! His name is Saad F. Habba, MD and he was talking about a syndrome named after him called Habba syndrome- he went on to talk about the medical community response to IBS and not fully understanding the condition - so this is the difference between IBS and Habba Syndrome; see http://habbasyndrome.com/_wsn/page3.html
It is an association between a dysfunctional, intact gallbladder and chronic diarrhea. Patients with the syndrome present with varying degrees of chronic diarrhea (three or more bowel movements per day for at least three months). Diarrhea is classically described as frequent, loose bowel movements and may be watery in nature. They could be explosive at times and may even be associated with great urgency and even incontinence. Diarrhea is mostly after meals (post prandial diarrhea). Because of this urgency, patients usually look for a bathroom wherever they go, also known as "bathroom mapping".
These symptoms are usually very distressing and may cause social embarrassment and interference with daily activities. Some patients are even homebound in fear of social embarrassment. Some lose weight because they are afraid to eat for fear of getting diarrhea.
Diarrhea is rarely nocturnal, unless the patient had a late meal close to bedtime.
It is not associated with blood, unless it comes from irritation of the rectal area as a result of frequent bowel movements.
Dr. Habba found that this type of diarrhea is associated with dysfunctional gallbladder.
Is there pain associated with this syndrome?
The patient would not necessarily have abdominal pain related to the gallbladder disease. They could be completely free of any abdominal pain. The gallbladder function is only determined by an abnormal radio-nuclear test that studies the function of the gallbladder (DISIDA scan with CCK injection). This test is non-invasive and can be performed in all well-equipped hospitals and radiology centers.
If ultrasound of the gallbladder is normal, could I still have the syndrome?
Absolutely. In fact, most of the patients with the syndrome have normal ultrasound of the gallbladder. However, the presence of gallstones on ultrasound does not rule out the diagnosis of the syndrome.
So as the lights went off in my head - I called and met with DR Habba - at last i met a Dr that understood my frustration and my problems !
He assured me that we will find the cause of this problem and not have a label of IBS - then set me up for 7 tests some which I had already but he felt that we should repeat them as he would perform all the GI testing. Optimistic but cautions i agreed the following tests were arranged at a local hospital near Dr Habba
Radio-nuclear test that studies the function of the gallbladder (DISIDA scan with CCK injection), Colonoscopy, Endoscopes , all were performed in a hospital with the exception of ;Blood Work, Blood Testing , Sonogram
Most of friends and family thought I was insane to undergo all of those tests (some of which were done multiple times b/4 - but I needed answers and didn't want to spend my life on drugs that left me dizzy and dazed 24/7.
I felt in good hands with DR Habba, and the following week we met to review my results. Eureka after reviewing my exams I was the poster child for Habba Syndrome - a normal Gall Bladder functions at over 50% mine functions at 8.5 % - so Bile was leaking into my stomach and acting as a laxative every time I would eat !!!!!!!!! - hence the urgent rush to a restroom every time I ate.
So the plan was to use a drug called WELCHOL - the drug is designed to lower your cholesterol but has a unique side effect that it soaks up your Bile. So I stopped taking the Diphenoxylate/Atropione - omg I could think again ! I felt alive ! So the journey continues he tells me that in 48 hrs I will feel "normal" - I started today and so far so good - i am able to eat with out the urge to rush to a rest room my head is clear .
So please please don't let your physician label you with IBS or make you think your insane - there is help out there and there are answers - enclosed is DR Habba Info ;
Saad F. Habba, MD
12 Bank Street, Suite 102
Summit NJ, 07901