I need a stomach reset button
January 29, 2013 2:42 PM   Subscribe

I have angered my stomach, and don't know how to get it back on track. Details that I can't believe I'm talking about inside.

(thank goodness for anonymous asking).

About a week ago, I angered my stomach, and now I don't know what I should be doing to get it back on track. I ate two meals (a chili mac for dinner one night, and a hamburger and onion rings the next) which usually result in not great bowl movements, but corrects itself within a day or two. But, I've been stuck around a level 6 on this scale, to just a mush, but not all liquid for now going on about 7 days, and have no idea how to get back to my usual 3 or 4.

Lots of noise from my stomach, grumbling
Some gas
Burping, but I've always been a bit of a burp-er
No nausea or pain
No other symptoms (tiredness, fever ect)
Only going about 1-2 times a day
Not dehydrated, drink a ton of water.

Background Details: 29 year old female, healthy BMI, stable weight, not pregnant, no known allergies, no meds besides birth control that I've been on for years.

I've started taking a probiotic, but as someone who usually has a pretty normal digestive track, don't know really what to do beyond that- is this something I should be taking pepto for/fiber supplements/ a really simple diet/what specifically? I never really pay attention to my fiber intake (ignoring the 2 dinners mentioned above, I'm a pretty healthy eater), but is this something I should be really upping? It hasn't seem to matter too much what I eat- I did just fine with a grill cheese and tomato soup, but the banana (or oatmeal) I just ate caused much grumbling and some gas/burping almost immediately. I have been drinking homemade juices (carrot/apple/ginger or blueberry/apple/spinach) which cause no sounds of trouble, but then the internet just told me that juice is a bad idea. And now I just read an old AskMetafiler (http://ask.metafilter.com/64918/I-want-harder-poop), and now think maybe I'm getting too much fiber? ACK.

So hivemind, (and I know, YANMD) what's my best course of action?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Toast with butter and jam. Tea.

White Rice. Add well-done, cooked hamburger meat when you feel up to it.

Juices and fruit make your poo thinner, not thicker.

Banana and oatmeal have very particular effects on some stomachs, mine included. AVOID.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:48 PM on January 29, 2013

You may have picked up a bug.

Once I was poisoned at work by someone who left the stuffing in the turkey. The dinner was on Tuesday and we called the following day, "Big, Fluffy Wednesday" because we all had the trots.

It was unpleasant and took a while to, you should pardon the expression, pass. Are you running a fever, have chills or feel otherwise unwell?

BRAT Diet. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast were prescribed and helped get us all back on track. If Bananas bother you, don't eat them.

Stay hydrated, avoid juices and see a doctor if you don't feel better in a day or so.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:50 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, fibre won't help, fibre absorbs water so it makes your poop softer.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:52 PM on January 29, 2013

I suggest store-brand fibre supplements (yeah, like for old people) for a few weeks. Something psyllium based with no other medicinal ingredients. That'll help normalize your output consistency and won't exacerbate other conditions. Make sure you get plenty of fluids. Once your output stabilizes just start scaling back on the supplements.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:52 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

You have a stomach bug prolly. White rice, boiled chicken breasts, boiled potatoes, boiled carrots, and plain unsweetened yogurt are your best friends. Caffeine will make thing worse.
posted by elizardbits at 2:53 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have to contradict EndsOfInvention. Dietary fibre helps trend stool consistency to the moderately mushy normal range, both from the too-hard and too-loose realms.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:54 PM on January 29, 2013

Pepto Bismol may help a bit here, too. It'll...lock things down for a little while. Also, your tongue will turn brown, but you can clean that off with a toothbrush.
posted by jquinby at 2:54 PM on January 29, 2013

Yup, fiber. It is both the WD-40 and the duct tape to most poop chute troubles. Enjoy.
posted by phunniemee at 2:55 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]

Two caplets of Pepto Bismol should fix you right away, even if it's just temporary. I've never had the dark tongue side effect, so it depends on your chemistry (in particular, how much sulfur is in your saliva at the time).
posted by halogen at 3:01 PM on January 29, 2013

Whenever you have a major stomach problem, you sometimes wipe away your body's natural lactase stores and subsequently put yourself into a state of temporary lactose intolerance depending on how good your body is at manufacturing more lactase. Avoid dairy for a week or two, stick to the BRAT diet, and slowly reintroduce dairy and see if that makes a difference.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:07 PM on January 29, 2013

I know this well. Greasy, cheesy stomach. If you are the herbal/natural type, my 2 go-tos depending on what's in my medicine cabinet (but never at the same time!):

1) Bentonite clay. Take 1 tablespoon once or twice a day.

2) Shen ling bai zhu pian. Take 2-3 tablets a day. (These also have the side effect of giving me extra energy. YMMV.)

Again, don't take these together, and make sure to drink a lot of water with either, or you may end up with a Bristol Level 1 situation pretty quickly.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 3:14 PM on January 29, 2013

How about go to a doctor and submit a stool sample. Your description matches what I had a while back, and a stool sample revealed I had c. dif (Clostridium difficile).

It's amazing how modern science can trump a bunch of people on the Internet guessing you need to take fiber pills.
posted by PSB at 3:34 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sounds a little like giardia.
posted by exogenous at 3:59 PM on January 29, 2013

In case this is something that lingers, you might try Align, it's a really good probiotic. And yeah, caffeine angers the colon.
posted by angrycat at 4:09 PM on January 29, 2013

I heard something on NPR this morning about a salmonella outbreak via un- or under-cooked hamburger. And then there is also some weird stomach bug going around that is not flu. Both are said to linger for about a week. You're young and otherwise healthy, you should be fine within a couple of days.

posted by mareli at 4:29 PM on January 29, 2013

Random GI crap is hard even for a doctor to diagnose in an office, let alone for a bunch of non-doctors to diagnose over the internet. If this is giving you enough trouble that it's affecting your well being then you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. By all means try whatever remedies in this thread seem best to you in the meantime, and if it clears up nicely then you can always cancel the appointment, but you may have an infection or something that needs to be taken care of with antibiotics or the like.
posted by Scientist at 4:32 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

...I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice, check with your own doctor to confirm what I say.

I'm not quite so sure I'd jump to big-scale bugs like giardia just yet - you say that you just have the loose bowels, but no other symptoms except for gassiness. (Although, if your gas smells like rotten eggs, that IS a symptom of giardia.) Although the fact that this has been going on a week is where I'd think "yeah, call the nurse at your doctor's office to figure out whether this is A Thing."

Random question - where are you on your menstrual cycle? I know you take the pill, but I know that digestive wackiness is a very common PMS thing, and that's often how I know that i'm near the bleeding part of my cycle is when my own system goes a little nuts. (yeah, ain't being female fun?)

In the home-remedy department - yeah, bland diets will help calm things down. And something I picked up once -- and i have no idea why it always works for me, and have no medical explanation for it, but god-dammit if it doesn't always work for me - hot milk with nutmeg. Just heat up a mug of milk in the microwave and then stir in a couple pinches of nutmeg, and drink. It tastes like the kind of comforting thing that the nursemaids on DOWNTON ABBEY would be giving little kids when they had a tummyache, and it often helps my system settle down. (Even if it's just a placebo, well, it's a delicious one.)

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:48 PM on January 29, 2013

I came here w. the same question as the Empress. Um, not that I'd personally know what she's talking about, nope, not at all.

Funny, they never mentioned THAT in health class, back in the day.
posted by smirkette at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2013

If it's not a stomach bug, consider that your natural flora in the gut has been distrubed and try Florastor, a probiotic. I've used it several times over the years and each time it really helped to right the ship.
posted by Leezie at 6:55 AM on January 30, 2013

AHHH, you poor thing.

When my partner (of very delicate digestive constitution but an appetite for the weirdest, spiciest, etc. foods imaginable) suffers this way, we've found that not just a probiotic, but the right probiotic is important in getting things and keeping things on track. This one has worked well. We tend to double up til things simmer down, then go to one capsule a day for maintenance. I was thinking, based on reviews and reading, of trying this one when the current bottle runs out.

Her gastroenterologist initially suggested a fiber supplement, and that sounded like a great idea, but it caused so much uncomfortable gas and bloating, even in small doses, that we nixed that after a few weeks.

Imodium (loperamide) can be a game-changer when things go awry. It slows motility, gives your colon more time to absorb water, thus firming things up.
posted by houseofdanie at 7:44 AM on January 30, 2013

I agree with These Birds of a Feather. No dairy for a day or 2, then yogurt. Cooked grains, like rice, oats, wheat, limited fats, limited meat. Cooked vegetables, limited fruit.
Oatmeal & brown sugar, toast, scrambled eggs, applesauce, rice (risotto), chicken, green beans, meals like that for a couple days. Peppermint and ginger are both soothing to the stomach.
posted by theora55 at 10:38 AM on January 30, 2013

The BRAT diet is what they teach in school. Functionally, we normally say White Food--rice, potatoes, toast (people used to mostly eat white bread), the blander the better. Stay away from fat, caffeine, spice.

Also seconding Imodium.

Good luck.
posted by syncope at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2013

Nthing fiber. I have all sorts of gut problems. After I started using an online tracker to track calories that also tracked nutrients and fiber, I discovered that there was a definite correlation between my fiber intake and gut response. I have to get at least 20 grams a day to not have problems, and those problems range from constipation to diarrhea to gas and everything in between. 20+ grams fiber: no problem. (although when I accidentally ate 45 grams one day without realizing it, that caused problems, too! You have to get used to a fiber intake that high.)

You might want to try sparkpeople, myfitnesspal, or one of the other sites that track calories and nutrients for a week or two, to see what's really in your normal diet. It was a shock to me to see how little fiber was in what I thought was a normal, reasonably healthy diet.
posted by telophase at 11:30 AM on January 30, 2013

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