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New in town... with bowel distress

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phdezra

Guest
Hi all. I'm a 38-year old male currently going through testing to determine if I have Crohn's/IBD/Celiac... here's my story, in brief... please, please if you have any advice or thoughts, please reply and chime in. I'm also hoping my history will help others as we all continue to learn about issues. I am looking for any help and suggestions specifically on My Plan (and Research) list toward bottom of this post. Thank you all so much. :)

My History
In 2002 (31 yrs old) I started noticing some funny pains in my lower abdomen (primarily right side), every so often. It did not occur all the time and until this point in my life, I was fairly healthy. Apart from an appendectomy in 1985 (13 yrs old), I was healthy and lean (140 lbs). After seeing a GI specialist and going for a colonoscopy, it seems that I was 'simply' lactose intolerant and the flare-ups were due to my eating of lots of ice cream. :ybatty: I cut out all ice cream and eliminated milk, instead going to Lactaid (lactose free milk), and I was fine.

The next few years passed with no major issue and no specific bad event transpired, but I noticed that I would soon want to go to sleep leaning on my right side only, almost exclusively last couple years. Additionally, I developed an "overactive bladder" in 2009 to go along with an occasional irritable bowel (which I thought was normal). As it turns out, it seems as though sleeping on my LEFT side (for me) could be irritating my bladder if my lower right bowel area is inflamed (my GI will determine shortly).

As it turns out, in early 2010 (couple weeks ago), I went back to my original GI to get to the bottom of this. I had not seen him since 2002 and he looked over my old records and mentioned that he wrote "possible Crohn's" in the file (we had done a colonoscopy in 2002 just to be sure, but there were NO meaningful signs at the time), but obviously it was so mild since I had not really complained. I also mentioned that I have acid reflux *every day* for a while, and come to think of it, I've been taking Zantac (over the counter, lowest dosage) or Prevacid prescribed by my general Internist just about every day for five years. :eek2:

Long story, short,... we decided to do 1) CT scan (scheduled for this week), 2) specific blood work (primarily to see if any signs of Celiac, because all my annual generic blood work was all normal--last done in Sept 2009) and 3) Endoscopy (examining the need for and affect of all those Zantacs). Lastly, we will do a Colonoscopy in a month or so, but he wanted to get those first three things done sooner because my bowel/Crohn's/IBD symptoms are relatively moderate (or maybe I just didn't seem like a complainer to him :ycool: ). Make no mistake about it though, even though my symptoms seem minor and I am not complaining like on fire, he does think I have Crohn's and from all the reading I've done, it seems quite likely but a relatively mild case. That said my goal is to arrest my painful lower right abdomen issues before it gets worse...

My Symptoms
  • Acid reflux, which I think is primarily brought about by gluten-based products, thus the possible Celiac issue
  • Lower right side discomfort every other day; particularly bad about 1 to 6 hours before I need to make a B.M.
  • Stools are sometimes normal, but sometimes quite loose; no major diarrhea on a daily basis, and no more than 1-2 trips to bathroom per day, at most.
  • Unable to sleep on left side without feeling need to urinate

My Plan (and Research)
The web, and this website in particular(!) is a godsend with tons of information and collective intelligence. While each of our bodies is unique, there are some common things that seem to apply. I am going to try a modified elimination diet...

Gluten-free: Thus far, after a few days only, I have eliminated 100% of gluten products (at least, as far as I know they are gluten) and my acid reflux is already *dramatically* improved. To me this signals some kind of gluten-based allergy/incompetence of my system. So, I'll be nixing all that stuff. No more cakes, cookies and challah (jewish bread) which I love so much.

Supplements: Tons of blogs, articles and random postings all over the web. I already take a multi=vitamin (delicious gummy bears from Slice of Life: they are gluten free), but I'll be adding the following slowly based on my research:

Colostrum: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU149/ItemDetail I will take this initially. I am NOT planning on taking this long-term.

Omega 3-6-9: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/NWF072/ItemDetail I used to take this on a regular basis years ago anyway. but I've been lazy and have dropped it off my schedule for a while now. Need to add it back.

L-Glutamine: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SW826/ItemDetail My understanding is that this is an Amino Acid that helps grow new muscle and intestinal mucosa cells, making the villi longer and more efficient, which increases absorption of nutrients and protection from toxins.

Albion Chelated Chromium: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU078/ItemDetail Maybe. I'm not sure.... looking for advice on this?

Flaxseed: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWE007/ItemDetail I'm pretty sure the "grind-it-yourself" variety is better for you, but I'll never get aroudn to eating it if I need to do that, so I'm going to try this from time to time. Good or bad idea?
Garlic: I have always loved garlic. Fresh, raw, cloves mashed up and put on anything from crackers (though no more crackers for me) to mixed into my chicken soup (an OK food, right?). I've read the sulphur(?) nature of this is beneficial, in addition to the anti-infection properties, etc. I've been gobbling down 3 cloves per day (that's three of the little wedges, not three heads(!)) and no impact at all on heartburn and no worse effects on the bowels.

Avocado and Bananas: Will increase consumption of these and see the effects, most research I've done suggested these foods are GOOD for people with Crohn's? Any thoughts?

Red Wine: I will add a small glass of Red wine (less than 6 oz.) per day to my diet. Probably in evening.

Kefir. http://www.lifeway.net/Products/Kefir.aspx Fortunately, I love yogurt. Always have, always will. And I usually gobble down at least one yogurt per day. In the past, this has been Stonyfield Organic (either chocolate or plain flavor), however in my research the amazing properties of Kefir is light years beyond plain sugary yogurt. I tried a cupful of the stuff so far and it seems to taste like Liquid Sour Cream (which is delicious to me). I have tried the PLAIN, since I noticed the flavored varieties have noticeably more sugar. additionally the Probiotic benefits do not seem bad and can only be good (I think?). Anyone with thoughts on Kefir? Looking for advice of others who have tried it. It is both lactose-free and gluten-free (and it is kosher for those of you who need that).

Sugar: My goal is to eliminate most foods with refined sugar. My wife's chocolat cake will be sorely missed, but my gut won;t mind I think.

Ensure (or Jana Klauer MD) supplement drink. To maintain my calories, I'm going to add one or two of these drinks per day, since over the past week since I;ve become even more aware, my calorie intake has dropped. I also see that my food choices are going to be limited (bye-bye pizza pies), but I need to make up the calroic intake difference somewhere.

Herbal Tea: For the past few years, I've been a rabid Rooibos (Red Tea) as well as Green Tea drinker.... approx 3 cups per day of Republic of Tea Double Green Tea with Matcha: http://www.republicoftea.com/templates/detail.asp?navID=1833 however, my Urologist (when I was seeing one) thought this might have somehow contribted to my bladder issues. Perhaps--it is the caffeineted variety. So, I eliminated that, and now I have a roster of three teas I cycle through every day (Yogi Berry Detox, Yogi Peach Detox and Yogi Kombucha ( Decaf)). Any thoughts on these?

Water: The most obvious, perhaps, but I need to drink more. In addition to three cups of herbal tea (Yogi brand as noted above) I am going to try to drink another four cups of 8 oz. water. Plus a few cups of Kefir and Ensure/Kaluer drink. Hmm.... I'll be in the loo most of the time...! Am I drinking tooo much?

I'm sure I am missing something, but thank you so much for reading all this and commenting. :ysmile: As mentioned, my goal is to arrest my painful lower right abdomen issues before it gets worse... any input is graciously appreciated.

Cheers,
Ezra.
 

imisspopcorn

Punctuation Impaired
:welcome: Ezra.....That sounds like a great plan. You are approaching it very systematically...Nothing seemed hokey to me.....I hope you can get a concrete diagnosis so maybe you won't have to be so extreme with some of the diet issues....Are you feeling really bad, or just not quite right? This disease affects each of us so differently, that not everything works the same for everyone....Keep us posted on the results of your CT scan. I really hope you don't have IBD, but if you have any specific questions in the meantime, just ask.
 

Astra

Moderator
hi Ezra
and welcome!

very informative post Ezra, lots of stuff I didn't know about too! thanks
I agree with Popcorn, in that once you get a definite dx, you might not have to go to such extremes measures, but if it's working for you. that's smashing!
good luck with scan, hope you get answers real soon.
Joan xx
 

Jennifer

Adminstrator
Location
SLO
I agree with both posts above about the diet. May not be needed in that extreme if you're diagnosed but if you can do it and if it does help you, then by all means. From my experience with crohns, if never mattered what I ate when I was having a flare.

As far as the yogurt and garlic. Perhaps cut up some fruit in the plain yogurt and wear plenty of deodorant when eating that much garlic. I don't mind it so much but an old professor of mine went on and on about this woman who stank of it because she ate it so often. Some people just can't stand the smell when it leaks out of your pores.
 

ameslouise

Moderator
Welcome, Ezra! You sound very well informed and organized. It's great you have a plan. I hope that works for you. Even if you do end up having to go on meds, everyone could benefit from following a healthy diet low in refined sugar and processed foods and high in vitamins, etc. Your body will thank you for it!

Good luck with the CT, endoscopy, etc. Keep us posted on your progress!

- Amy
 
Hello Ezra, and a warm welcome to our community. You're in good company.

You certainly have the right attitude toward your issues at hand. Research is the best way to go. Trying different foods to see what works for you and what does not is a pretty good method of elimination.

I emulsify my own berry & veg. drink of frozen strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, dates, grapes, spinach, carrots, wheatgerm and plum juice. That's my breakfast. It gives me so much energy to cope with my very hectic work days. Lots of water and chicken soup. I sometimes cook up organic pasta with chicken, stringed beans and mushrooms. I'm still in the trial and error stages of finding the right treatment and foods as I've only been diagnosed four months ago with Crohns.

I also sleep mainly on my right side since my left is extremely painful. I'll do anything for comfort right now.

Keep that great spirit raving and let us know how you progress.

Sincerely,
Nicole
 
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Welcome to the Forum Ezra!

A very in-depth profile you have given us!
Let's see what the test results say and go from there.

It's good to have you on board.

Once again....
Welcome~
Nancy
 
Welcome to the forum.

It is possible that the reflux is not directly related to the other symptoms.

One of my early symptoms was a burning Stomach and reflux. While I had a stricture that was caused by Crohn's, my earlier efforts to alleviate the symptoms led me to use antacids. These antacids allowed H-Pylori bacteria to invade my Stomach and cause burning pain. At least that is my theory on it.

Three tests for h-Pylori came up negative, but since there are not many bacteria that can cause these symptoms, I treated it anyway. I used an alternative treatment method, and it worked immediately.

That resolved that problem, but I needed surgery to take care of the stricture.

I later started taking Low Dose Naltrexone as my main treatment, but use several other methods to keep myself symptom free.

I would treat for H-Pylori and see if it helps. The bacteria may be part of some of the Crohn's symptoms also. It certainly will not help in any case.

Dan
 
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