YANMD - Butterflies in my stomach...well, intestines
September 30, 2017 4:30 PM   Subscribe

I am a mid-20s male, and have been dealing with constipation-predominant IBS for several years. Generally, fiber supplements are enough to keep me regular. However, sometimes I continue to get a very annoying (though painless) tingling, "anxious", nauseous feeling in my intestines even several hours after "going" successfully. What could this be? (See details.)

It's not an urge to go at first, but I start to hear rumbling in my guts and eventually the churning feeling becomes so intense I have to go again (I end up passing strangely-shaped, incomplete stools and having to go multiple times). I'm not generally feeling anxious when this happens (ironically, when I'm actually anxious, I just tend to get more constipated). I can't go anywhere because once it starts, it comes and goes suddenly without warning and lasts several hours.

It happens no more than once or twice a week.

Had a colonoscopy earlier this decade for the constipation symptoms - nothing found except a few hyperplastic polyps, and no celiac, IBD, etc. The GI doctor basically told me to take fiber when I get constipated.

I've been taking Lactaid when I'm about to eat dairy, by the way, so I don't think it's that.

What exactly could be causing this? It seems to come and go very suddenly, and I haven't found a pattern.

(YANMD disclaimer applies.)
posted by Seeking Direction to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I had similar symptoms, I later found hidden sources of dairy in my diet that I was unaware of, particularly whey protein in processed foods.

Pepto-Bismol tablets help, where it's too late to avoid.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:40 PM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm lactose intolerant and I've found Lactaid to be very hit and miss.
posted by aetg at 5:53 PM on September 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Heliobacter pylori ? (The bacteria that causes ulcers.)
posted by freethefeet at 8:14 PM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

This could well be a food intolerance (or caffeine) or a bacterial thing. For me stuff like this was my gallbladder (though I felt very sick and had pain), certain foods, Candida overgrowth, endometriosis, and IBS.

Definitely try to see if it's a food or something else but they make a class of meds for IBS that have minimal side effects. I take those and I get minimal issues (but I am prone to side effects.) they're called anti-spasmodics.

I do recommend seeing if there is absolutely anything else contributing because doctors tend to brush things off as IBS when it's more complicated than that especially in women (if you are one.)

(The first few doctors just threw meds as me before I figured out all the other chronic health issues that are contributing.)

So, keep a food journal and symptom journal. I like the app Cara (I think android and My Symtoms or something??) and then talk to your doctor, possibly exploring IBS meds once other things are ruled out.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:18 PM on September 30, 2017

Response by poster: ^ I am a mid-20s male
posted by Seeking Direction at 10:05 PM on September 30, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far! I'm thinking this might have to do with H. pylori, since I seem to be having more heartburn issues that usual lately.
posted by Seeking Direction at 10:05 PM on September 30, 2017

I had some vaguely similar problems that slowly abated. I think the cause might have been a muscle strain. Doing pelvic floor exercises seemed to help.
posted by a puppet made of socks at 7:59 AM on October 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do you actually know that you're lactose-intolerant? I.e. you've done a dairy elimination challenge for at least one week? Lactaid does not count; you really need to get ALL traces of dairy out of your diet for at least a week. Read labels and ask at restaurants religiously if you eat anything that you haven't prepared yourself from raw ingredients, during that time.

Like a poster above, I'm also lactose-intolerant and find Lactaid to be hit or miss. The brand name is better than the Costco generic, but even so, I need to watch like a hawk that I pop another pill every 20 minutes.
posted by serelliya at 9:17 PM on October 1, 2017

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