Why does Pepto Bismol not work on my anymore?
April 5, 2009 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Help me get my gasto-intestinal tract back in order! (a question about Pepto Bismol)

Somehow I discovered that by taking Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) I could regulate my bowels so that I always had a firm stool. Normally I would take a half of a Pepto Bismol chewable pill each day and my stool was always the same consistency. I discovered that I could make up for eating strange food (like Indian or really spicy curries) by taking an extra tablet either before or after the food. The same if I had several beers in an evening, I could avoid the worst of the "beer shits." I have been doing this for over ten years and I have become accustomed to the firm, dark poo made by the Pepto Bismol and now, suddenly, it doesn't work anymore!

Since about November my poo has been soft and unusual. I have upped the dosage of Pepto from the 1/2 to one tablet per day to about 3 per day and I am still not on track (so to speak).

My question is...does anyone know why this has happened and what I can do about it? My diet has not changed (although I may be drinking more coffee b/c we have an infant but I think this started before the coffee increase started).

Please tell me how I can get my firm stool back!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Both my wife and I experienced a "firming" after removing most (her) or all (me) wheat from our diet. Sounds counter-intuitive since we're consuming less fiber.
posted by muzzlecough at 9:52 AM on April 5, 2009

What's your diet like? You could be lactose/gluten intolerant or have some other kind of food-triggered IBS. If I were you, I'd get checked out and look into taking florastor to get my gut flora back on track.
posted by aquafortis at 9:53 AM on April 5, 2009

Eating a meal with a large serving of brown rice, and cheese content as well (maybe some hippy style Mexican food), will often do the trick. It could be that something up with your intestinal flora.
posted by idiopath at 10:06 AM on April 5, 2009

You can definitely ask a doctor, or try a few things like those digestive-regulating yogurts like Activia which are supposed to ensure flora is set properly.

You can also try adding something like shredded wheat or fiber capsules to help get things back to normal.
posted by disillusioned at 11:05 AM on April 5, 2009

I really don't think Pepto is meant to be taken daily... You should up your fiber try eating yogurt daily or acidophilus supplements.
posted by delladlux at 11:37 AM on April 5, 2009

Try some kefir. If you are near a Trader Joe's, theirs is the least expensive.
posted by jgirl at 11:51 AM on April 5, 2009

Ditto the kefir suggestion. A few months ago, my dog was having some problems similar to what you describe. Our veterinarian (who I love, simply because he's not afraid to suggest alternative/natural remedies as a complement to traditional medicine) suggested giving her some kefir with her meals to see if that helped - and it worked like the proverbial champ. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Deadmessengers did the same thing to help with similar issues, and it helped her, as well.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2009

Not a doctor, but don't think you should be taking Pepto daily, unless you have something like Crohn's or IBS. Might want to check with your doctor about this.

I might suggest the stress caused by your new child might be the source of your intestinal problems. I'm sure your sleep patterns have changed as well.
posted by Busoni at 1:08 PM on April 5, 2009

kefir, real yogurt... talk to doctor
posted by edgeways at 2:11 PM on April 5, 2009

While there's no reason to panic, it's not a good idea to ignore one of the seven warning signs of cancer. Mention it to your doctor so you can get the appropriate screening tests to rule out a serious problem.
posted by Ery at 7:21 PM on April 5, 2009

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