There’s nothing worse than the chronic stomach pain associated with your IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is there?
How can anyone truly understand the abdominal symptoms that you go through day in, day out and at any time?
If you think this, you are not alone as there are many millions of people who are suffering just like you.
What’s weird about this though is how, one minute you can be fine, the next minute it can be really quite severe can't it?
There’s no rhyme or reason as to why, when or where it might happen either! It’s a mystery to all, but one I am sure you are very familiar with.
I don’t profess to have all the answers to your IBS pain after bowel movements, but what I would like to do is discuss a bit more about how the chronic stomach pain occurs and other causes that can mimic IBS.
I will also look at relief strategies you can try to improve these symptoms too. So let’s get started……
No one actually knows the full cause of your stomach pain. The main recurring issue with all symptoms change in your bowel habit.
Doctors call this “increased visceral sensitivity”, but what does this really mean? It means your gut is hypersensitive for some reason.
One theory is that the gut is intimately linked with the brain and there is good evidence for this.
The so called brain-gut axis hypothesis works on the theory that your brain is stimulated by smell, sight, touch, hearing and this creates feelings.
We know that when you have feelings of stress, regardless of whether your bowel is “normal” or not, you tend to develop abdominal symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.
This occurs when the brain processes the senses and then sends messages down the spinal cord to the gut.
In the case of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there are either abnormal increased signals to the gut or the gut has increased sensitivity to them resulting in the spasms and chronic stomach pain you experience.
This is a two way theory, as foods that can trigger your IBS (take a look at diet page) can equally have an effect on the gut nerves sending signals to the brain with the resulting in the cramping that you experience.
It’s a good theory which holds some weight in my opinion.
Its not always IBS that causes your abdominal pain symptoms and chronic diarrhea. It can be blamed a lot of the time, but when you visit your doctor they do need to consider other causes of your bellyache.
Probably the most important of these is coeliac disease. These symptoms are caused by gluten which affects your small bowel.
Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye and barley. Sensitivity to gluten is common in IBS as well.
When you see your doctor, it is important to let them know if you have been avoiding gluten. Why? Because the blood test for coeliac disease may come back falsely negative if you have been on a gluten free diet.
They may need to repeat the test when you are taking gluten in your diet.
Diverticular disease is a condition that can occur throughout your bowel, although most commonly it is seen in your large bowel.
Pockets occur and can cause symptoms of abdominal pain and altered bowel habit in a similar way to IBS.
If they become blocked, they can become inflamed and cause diverticulitis which can cause quite severe bellyache too.
Chronic pancreatitis causes chronic stomach pain. It’s a condition that occurs after an acute episode of an inflamed pancreas, the most common causes being alcohol, drugs and gallstones.
This condition is normally diagnosed from a history of previous pancreatitis, blood investigations and from scanning the pancreas gland.
Peptic ulcer disease, both stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers, can give rise stomach ache. These symptoms can occur either with or after food.
Classically the pain occurs in the upper abdomen and can be associated with symptoms of reflux.
Endometriosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are commonly linked and symptoms can can be similar.
The condition, caused by “ectopic womb tissue” occurs when abnormal areas of womb tissue occur outside the womb. This can occur anywhere in the bodies cavities and can occur as deposits on the bowel wall.
Inflammatory bowel diseases can sometimes be misdiagnosed as IBS in the early stages. Both Crohns disease and Ulcerative colitis can cause symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea. You can read more about this in the colitis section on the navbar.
Ovarian cancer and bowel cancer can give rise to symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain and altered bowel habit.If your symptoms occur later in life, particularly over the age of 50 years, you should be checked for these conditions.
IBS has been linked to symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome, a condition of increased intestinal permeability although this is controversial.
There are many investigations that can be done for your bellyache, but it really depends on the history of your symptoms which your doctor will check.
If the symptoms fit with the diagnosis, as defined in the IBS Rome III criteria, there is usually no need for further investigation.
If there are concerns that you may have one of the other conditions outlined above or your doctor is looking for other causes of chronic diarrhea.
You may be referred for tests such as an endoscopy, colonoscopy, CT scan, ultrasound scan, blood tests or a gastroenterologists opinion.
So, coming to the most important part, you want to know how to improve the bellyache associated with your other symptoms.
There is no one answer to this, as no two people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome are really the same.
What may work for one sufferer, might not work for you, but it is usually through trial and error that you will find a treatment that works best for you.
Keep a diary of everything you try whether this be diet or other treatment to see what works (and what doesn't work) for you.
Very important areas to concentrate on can be found in the diet section and in the treatment section. If these fail to help your chronic stomach pain, then you may need to reconsider your diagnosis and look for other chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain causes.
Would you like to share your story with other sufferers? Below, you will find a submission form to do just that. This is totally anonymous unless you wish to put your name on it. It is a way of opening up on your symptoms and helping others too.
If you are submitting details, you should try to make it at least 300 to 400 words long. Why? Because, when submitting a story you are actually creating a web page. We know that search engines expect web pages to be at least 300 to 400 words long otherwise they penalize the website so I won’t be able to publish anything less (yes, don't blame me on this one, but Its always nice to read a story rather than a snippet!). It really is of benefit to you too as a long submission is more likely to gain a response from fellow sufferers. So......
Now's your chance to tell it as it is! Let other sufferers know what you are experiencing. Vent your feelings and frustrations!
Share ways that you cope, your best treatment options, what's worked and what hasn't.
Let us all in to your secret world and feel the benefits of sharing - it's so therapeutic!
IBS symptoms › Chronic Stomach Pain