I know it's been quite some time since I've been around here, mostly because I've been doing so well I'm quite stable now, thankfully! I hope everyone else here is well too. I've missed you all!
I'm here now because I'm looking for some help for a friend who has been suffering very bad C - and suffering through a**hole doctors, too. I do consider myself pretty knowledgable when it comes to IBS (I'd better be by now!) but most of my experience is with IBS-D so I'm hoping you C'ers can give me some advice.
Here's his story. Sorry if this gets a bit long and thank you for reading!
My friend immigrated to Canada in September. Before that he was living in a refugee camp in Africa since 2001. He's told me that he's had problems with C and hemorrhoids for the last 2 years or so but that it's gotten much much worse since he came to Canada, mostly he suspects because of the drastic change in food. He's living in the dorms at the university here and his choices for food in the food court aren't exactly the healhiest ones. (That's a pretty damning statement on the state of food in the west if he was eating more healthfully in a refugee camp...)
Anyway, he's been here for about 5 months now and his C and particularly his hemms have gotten really really bad. He can't sit down for his classes because he's in too much pain and because they start bleeding pretty badly. He says he can't sleep because his stomach hurts so much. His doctors haven't been much help. They've repeatedly put him on different suppositories, stool softeners and laxatives, which help at first but then stop helping so they put him on a different one. He told me that he feels like he is totally dependent on them now and that they're not really helping. (No kidding!)
No one has given him any diet advice. He's had 4 different doctors take his medical history and listen to his symptoms now. His last doctor referred him to a surgeon (assumingly for the hemms maybe?) who he saw today (I went with him), and who gave him a scope. That's the first real test he's had beyond physical exams. He has another appointment with the surgeon in 4 weeks. In the meantime, he perscribed yet ANOTHER suppository, a stronger one this time.
I certainly don't know for sure that he has IBS or anything else but I do really strongly feel like he could benefit from going on Heather's diet and taking a lot of the other tips typically given for IBSers. I'm really worried about him being on all these suppositories but at the same time I'm hesitant to tell him to go against his doctors' advice.
What I think I'm going to suggest to him is that he start changing his diet - increasing fiber, cutting out triggers, basically - drink more water and exercise more and see how that goes. Maybe start taking a fiber supplement too. I'm also going to suggest things like peppermint and hot packs for the pain, and maybe an over the counter hemm cream for the hemms? (I'm surprised that his doctors haven't suggested that... would there be some reason to not do that? I don't have a lot of experience with hemms)
I don't think I'm going to give him any advice on IF vs SF at this point, mostly because I'm not sure that he has IBS, possibly just chronic constipation.
What do you think? Right now his biggest concern is really the hemms because they're causing him so much pain and because they're bleeding quite a bit, but I'm concerned that his doctors seem to be only (sort of) treating those and not addressing his really bad C that he's had for a while - which, really, could be causing the hemms in the first place (right????)
Any help/advice you can give would be greatly appreciated! thanks all!