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Author Topic:   Mind gut connection?

Posts: 66
Registered: Jul 98

posted 09-24-1998 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dogwood   Click Here to Email Dogwood     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yesterday at my therapist's office waiting
room, I overheard a conversation two women
had while waiting for their group therapy.
Both were talking about what seemed to be
spastic colon/IBS symptoms. One woman even
said she had spastic colon, the other just
said she had awful pains and bloating with
salads, fruits, vegetables, dairy.
I thought it was interesting that all three
of us were in therapy and all three had
IBS type problems. Comments?

Dr Salt

Posts: 50

posted 09-24-1998 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dr Salt   Click Here to Email Dr Salt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The research to date shows:
1.Psychological stress exacerbates gastrointestinal symptoms.
2.Psychosocial disturbances amplify illness experience and adversely affect health status.
3.Having a functional GI disorder impairs the quality of one’s life.

Another way of saying this is:
1. Anyone who is a "gut reactor" can experience gastrointestinal symptoms. Those who have IBS have a higher liklihood of experiencing stress-induced GI symptoms and feeling them more intensely and frequently.
2. Psychological disturbances like anxiety and depression are not the cause of IBS; however, these disturbances are like an amplifier which increases the liklihood that the sufferer will interpret the symptoms as an illness and consult with a doctor about them.
3. IBS is the second leading cause of missed work in the United States. The symptoms are real; the suffering is real. Quality of life is impaired for many.
Remember, we can all heal.


Posts: 66
Registered: Jul 98

posted 09-25-1998 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dogwood   Click Here to Email Dogwood     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Doctor Salt:
Thanks for that clarification, it really
helps. But I have to say, when you write that
"We can all heal," my response is "Not me."
I have spent ten years trying to control
this demon and it seems the rug is constantly
being pulled from beneath me. I've spent so
much of my own money on this (no insurance)
and have considered everything like diet,
allergies, parasites, stress, therapy,
meditation, exercise and NOTHING "heals."
I find things that lessen the severity
for a couple weeks, but they always eventually fail.
I'm sorry to sound so cranky, but I am feeling particularly crummy today and am
pissed off at my naturopath doc who makes
me pay $70 a visit, continually eggs
me on to these $200 "tests", and always just
tells me to stay on these impossible diets.
If IBS is not generated psychologically,
is not originating with diet, then it seems
like it has to be organic--a motility problem
caused by a pathogen. Why do all these
docs keep suggesting it could possibly be
this or possibly be that? I would feel much
better if someone just said, "It's a pathogen
or something we don't know anything about
yet, so there's nothing we can do," instead
of leading me off into all these directions
to try and "manage" it, when in the end,
nothing really works. I have D symptoms
every day, three times a day or more, and
constant gripes and gas in between, every
day, every day, every day...I have no more
money, I cannot sleep, I cannot hold a regular job, I cannot have a relationship--
I'm thirty years old.
Where's the "healing"?
Sorry, bad day.


Posts: 296
Registered: Aug 98

posted 09-25-1998 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sass   Click Here to Email sass     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Dogwood,
Don't know what to say to make you feel better as it sounds like you've heard it all already!
So here's a BIG hug!
((((( )))))


Posts: 171
Registered: Jul 98

posted 09-26-1998 02:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alyson   Click Here to Email alyson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dogwood my friend...I hear you. It is so annoying and obnoxious somtimes you just want to crawl underneath the covers and rest for a long, long time. I wish I had some great words of wisdom or advice but frankly, I don't. I have had IBS for 11 years(I'm 34) back problems(disc) for 9 years and my newest illness, interstitial cystitis(no cure either) for one year. I just would like one week as a normal experience no pain, to go for a drive without fear, to make love to my husband, to be there fully for my seems like so little to ask for but it's just not happening.

All I can say is I take my happiness in this life wherever I can find it and then I just hold on to it real tight. It may just be something simple like a trip to the movies with a friend, the sun shining or the way my sons hair smells after a warm bath but it is SOMETHING. I will not let all the shit my body is putting me through rob me of my life.There is just no way. I hope you are ok Dogwood and I hope you stay strong. Feel Good. Alyson

Dr Salt

Posts: 50

posted 09-26-1998 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dr Salt   Click Here to Email Dr Salt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are not alone in feeling this way. Based upon current understanding, IBS does not appear to be caused by an unknown pathogen. Rather, as the University of North Carolina Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center says, "IBS is considered a dysregulation, or abnormality of brain-bowel function. There is increased pain sensitivity and abnormal motility (increased or irregular muscular movement of the gut). In IBS, diarrhea comes from an increased rate of passage of stool through the colon. Constipation is the result of a decreased speed of stool passing through the colon. Spasms, which are very strong contractions, also occur in IBS. Increased pain sensitivity results from the increased sensitivity of the nerves. Sometimes, the nerves are so sensitive that normal contractions, even with digesting a normal meal, bring on pain or discomfort."

These functional GI disorders are very common: in the U.S., almost 20% of the entire adult population meet the diagnostic definition of IBS and 70% the diagnostic definition of one or more other functional GI disorders.

The truth of the matter is that 100% of people (myself included) experience functional bodily symptoms like IBS, fibromyalgia, fatigue, headaches, back pain, irritable bladder et. cet. These disorders are probably more similar that dissimilar. Many people have several of these symptoms.

You have obviously tried very hard to deal with your problem. Consider taking a different tact: consider reading:
"Timeless Healing," by Herbert Benson, MD

"The Mindbody Prescription," by John Sarno, MD

"Why People Don't Heal and How They Can, by Carolyn Myss.
We all underestimate our ability to heal, and I am confident that you will find your way to healing.

"The longest journey is the journey inward."


Posts: 1033

posted 09-26-1998 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for flux   Click Here to Email flux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dogwood, I am curious, what happens to your diarrhea if you fast for a prolonged period?


Posts: 14
Registered: Jul 98

posted 09-27-1998 03:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ANNA   Click Here to Email ANNA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, Dogwood
I understand how you feel perfectly, because I have been in that situation for many years and I had exactly the same thoughts. I don't know if it will help you, but I will tell you how I got out of the circle and I can say that I live a happy life now, although I still have IBS
1. I don't spend any money on it because I have accepted that nobody can help me right now
2. I do go to a therapist once a month but not because it will improve me but just to tell somebody how bad I feel and "the terrible time I had the other day when...bla,
bla". In this way I don't speak about it with my family or friends, it's too much for them.
3. I have learned to control the D, nobody will tell you how to do it, you have to find out. Fasting, the BRAT diet (see Terio's posting), proteins, this always stops it. If everything fails, Immodium.
4. My gastro always suggests taking antidepressants and/or tranquilizers but I don't take them because I am not depressed, I can sleep well, eat and enjoy life, so I won't take them.
5. Alyson is right, so many glorious moments in a normal day! I try to appreciate everything I have and I accept the fact that IBS has deprived me of many things. Yet, I am content with what I have. But I would be happier if I was 30 like you! But it doesn't mean that you will heal yourself. I don't think that we can heal just by thinking positive
I don't know if this will help you,
in any case these are my thoughts after 11 years of it.
All the best for you and I hope you get better!


Posts: 66
Registered: Jul 98

posted 09-28-1998 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dogwood   Click Here to Email Dogwood     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the support, friends--it
helps me a great deal. Doctor Salt--
I ordered your book the other day and I will
take at the suggested reading. I realize
things could be a lot worse--I feel really
bad for you who have kids and feel your
time with them is impaired by this. That's
really rotten, because they are growing up
now and I understand you want to be there.
Flux--I have never really fasted, even
for a whole day. I have a very high metabolism and tire very quickly when I
don't eat. But I could try it. Suggestions?


Posts: 5
Registered: Oct 98

posted 10-03-1998 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bigguy   Click Here to Email Bigguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Dogwood! Hello others! I just found this web site... nice to see I'm not alone.
I wanted to say that I commiserate with you. Others don't quite understand. I am thankful that I have had some reasonable success in controlling my IBS with Loperamide HCL and diet. I find I'm a very heavy user. I am concerned what the future may hold for my GI tract, putting 10 or 12 pills into me almost every week... ? I've lived with IBS since 17 years old... started immediately after an episode of food poisoning... I'm almost 34 now. I found caffeine to be my biggest trigger. One cup of coffee or one can of soda and I'm on my way in just a couple of hours... long painful night ahead. I find it very hard to avoid caffeine completely, soda & coffee are OK, but evils like chocolate just aren't made caffeine free. Caffeine, Spicy Food & Stress are my IBS enemies. Unfortunately, I am exposed to them regularly to some degree, so I rely on Loperamide to bring me back. Sometimes, I take one or two doses, in anticipation, if I'm going out to dinner, a stressful meeting later in the day or I really need to be sure I get a good night of restful sleep. My concerns are that the Loperamide and/or GI irritation resulting from IBS will lead to a greater tendency for more serious disorders in the future...colitis?, cancer? After hearing about Darryl Strawberry (36 yrs. old), I've decided to investigate IBS and my options in greater detail. I hope some of this may help y'all in some way. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

Dr Salt

Posts: 50

posted 10-03-1998 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dr Salt   Click Here to Email Dr Salt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is quite safe to take Immodium on an indefinite basis. There does not appear to be any long-term risk.

The evidence is clear that irritable bowel syndrome does not increase the risk of developing any disease process, including cancer or the colon and rectum and inflammmatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis).

Caffeine is a very common trigger of symptoms. Not only does it increase the secretion and activity of the intestine, it also increases anxiety since it is a stimulant. Increased anxiety also translates into increased symptoms and/or distress relative to them.


Posts: 34
Registered: Sep 98

posted 10-04-1998 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IBS2   Click Here to Email IBS2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dr. Salt
I find I can't take immodium or lomtil anymore. If I now take even one dose I get severe upper GI pain of the heartburn type within 24 hours. I had an upper GI endoscopy without any finding of ulcer. I wish I knew why, after using these years for many years, I now have problems. Not to mention the fact that at least they worked and now I have no other alternative drugs.


Dr Salt

Posts: 50

posted 10-04-1998 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dr Salt   Click Here to Email Dr Salt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the pattern of your symptoms has changed, then it is important to consider re-evaluation. It is good to know that your upper endoscopy is normal, but perhaps more investigation (colon?) is advisable. I do not know why these drugs would otherwise be provoking symptoms.

All times are ET (US)

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IBS & the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection, by William B. Salt II, MD