Is IBS a condition or weakness that remains with a person throughout life?

Clinical experts, including Dr Jamal Hayat, and Julie Thompson, will be available from 12-23 April to answer questions on issues surrounding bowel incontinence, bowel cancer, constipation, IBS and any other bowel issues.

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by Guest Posts on Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:18 pm

Is IBS a condition or weakness that remains with a person throughout life?

s IBS a condition or weakness that remains with a person throughout life?

I was diagnosed with IBS 30 years ago and forgot about it when life got calmer. Occasionally I'd have an upset stomach (generally diarrhoea), take a couple of tablets and it would pass. A couple of years ago I noticed that IBS was still listed as current / ongoing on my medical record and thought it was an error as I'd never mentioned it beyond the episodes 30 years ago.

However in the past year I went to the GP with a persistent cough at night and she thought it was acid stomach and put me on omeprazole. Now I actually have some acid stomach symptoms and frequent bouts of diarrhoea. The GP ordered a range of blood and stool tests and nothing showed up. The GP then suggested an endoscopy, which I am reluctant to have.

So my next question, if you are able to answer it is:

Q. How do you know when IBS/bowel problems may be a sign of something more serious and an endoscopy is advisable?

I am currently on 10mg omeprazole at night and Peptobismol (or Peptac) if feeling sick or acid stomach at other times, plus occasionally 1 or 2 Immodium tablets (from pharmacy) when I get diarrhoea. (That usually stops it). Aside from this I am generally in good health, eat healthy home cooked foods and exercise regularly.
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Julie Thompson
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by Julie Thompson on Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:47 pm

Re: Is IBS a condition or weakness that remains with a person throughout life?

Hi

Thanks for getting in touch. IBS is a condition where people do experience flare ups and periods of remission and occasionally it can go completely. We would always advise people to see their GP even if they have been diagnosed with IBS for some time if their symptoms change at all. This is really important to do, as new diseases can develop, which are very important to investigate. Although it is also worth considering that some medications can cause symptoms too and it is worth asking your GP if this is the case for you. If it isn't medicines it is worth considering full investigation of your symptoms.

I am not sure what your concerns are regarding the endoscopy but you can see a short video about colonoscopy here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhMFrQf9yTo and for a gastroscopy here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAR68jvhkhQ there are some other videos on the Guts UK YouTube channel too. There are other means of diagnosis using visual techniques but with an endoscopy the endoscope can be used for treatment during the procedure if needed and take samples for testing, which can't be done with visual means of identifying causes of symptoms such as scans and x-rays.

You can see Guts UK information on IBS here https://gutscharity.org.uk/advice-and-i ... -syndrome/

You can also find really useful information on symptoms such as diarrhoea https://gutscharity.org.uk/advice-and-i ... diarrhoea/ and reflux here https://gutscharity.org.uk/advice-and-i ... nd-reflux/
I hope that helps

Kind regards

Julie
Julie Thompson
Gastroenterology Specialist Dietitian - BSc (Hons) Dietetics

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... ompson.php

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Dr Jamal Hayat
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by Dr Jamal Hayat on Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:54 pm

Re: Is IBS a condition or weakness that remains with a person throughout life?

Hi There,

Common reasons for requesting an endoscopy (or gastroscopy - that looks in the stomach) include symptoms such as heartburn/ acid reflux related symptoms or upper abdominal pain which either does not respond to treatment or reoccurs on stopping.
I note you only started to complain of heartburn after your stopped the omeprazole. This is actually quite common and is caused by a rebound effect where the stomach temporarily produces an extra amount of acid. It should settle within a few days though.
Overall omeprazole is very safe but side effects can include loose stools - it is important to have infections including clostridium difficile ruled out as the cause of the loose stool.
If this is excluded -and the diarrhoea is ongoing a colonoscopy can be performed that looks at the lower bowel.
Both gastroscopy and colonoscopy are very safe and well tolerated - you can ask for a sedative which can make you more comfortable.
In the presence of normal blood tests and other stool tests (FIT test for blood and calprotectin for inflamation), the likelihood of a concerning problem is low.
Dr Jamal Hayat
Consultant Gastroenterologist

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... _hayat.php

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