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Thread: IBS in Spinal Injured Patients

  1. #1
    Senior Member wheeliegirl's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    2 blocks away from the Real Housewives of Orange County

    IBS in Spinal Injured Patients

    Hi. How difficult is it to diagnose IBS in SCI patients? I think I had it prior to my injury, and lately it has gotten really bad. Nothing has changed in my bowel regimen. I'm still taking the same amount of fiber and other medications, and at the same time of day. My diet is about the same too.

    I'm having intermttent bouts of diarhea and then constipation with stools that are small (about the size of large marbles), hard and dry as rocks. I had two accidents last week, which is really rare for me.

    In recent weeks I've been having bouts of nausea, but no vomiting. The nausea usually comes at about the same time each day, around noon. Also, I still feel hungry, even after I've eaten.

    I'm afraid that my doctor will either poo-poo my symptoms, or send me to a gastro interrologist to run horrible tests where I'll have to drink the dreaded "Go Litely"!!! I had to drink that prior to bladder augmentation, and wasn't able to get down even a third of the jug before I started throwing up.

    Since I have no sensation, I can't tell if I have any other symptoms, such as pain in my stomach or anywhere else in my abdomen. My spasticity level is about the same. I often have the sensation of feeling "crampy" or having to make a BM, but there is nothing there. I have not had a significant increase of gas either.

    The last time I had an accident I sat on the toilet for 45 minutes with all the "signs" that I was done. However, after being in my chair for a few minutes, I got the feeling that I wasn't done because I began to pass gas, so I went back to the toilet. Then nothing happened after 30 minutes. Then, a few minutes later as I was sitting in bed removing my slippers, I got "that feeling" and discovered that I had soiled my newly laundered sheets! What a pain in the butt!!!!! LOL. Anyway, I'm really tired of this, and what's bothering me the most are these bouts of nausea.

    What are the tests to diagnose IBS? Has anyone taken Zelnorm to help their bowel problems? Does it work on people with SCI?

  2. #2
    We have used Zelnorm on pts with SCI & MS. It seemed to have helped the MS pts, some of the SCI.
    I would keep a written record for a while (a month or so) so you can present it to your doctor. I fhe has theinformation he might make another change.
    Hopefully others have tried it and you can get their input.
    I don't know of any side effects.


  3. #3
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    North Carolina, USA
    Get tested for celiac disease ...... it's far more common than previously thought and can and dose cause those exact symptoms.

    Ami <-- a celiac
    Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jadis's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Salish Mtns, Montana
    I have chronic ulcerative colitis. It's one of the two diseases under the IBS umbrella. I was diagnosed prior to my SCI. I was diagnosed through colonoscopy. No go litely involved for me.

  5. #5
    ... a few minutes later as I was sitting in bed removing my slippers, I got "that feeling" and discovered that I had soiled my newly laundered sheets! What a pain in the butt!!!!! LOL
    I hate when that happens!

    Hi Wheeliegirl,

    I think IBS is hard to diagnose in everyone. Hence the name "syndrome".

    My able-bodied sister has been diagnosed with IBS so thought maybe it ran in my family. Because of this I thought the pain in my side might be bowel related. But it appears that it's neuro-referred pain coming from my spine. Who the hell knows with SCI. You stub your toe and it hurts in your abdomen or whatever. It's insane.

    But I read up on IBS and most of it is supposed to be stress related. Maybe try some Valium or other anti-anxiety medication as a starter. Best of luck in getting an accurate diagnosis.... it'll probably you take awhile and quite a few doctor visits and tests since it's one of those hard to pinpoint or diagnose syndromes, even in the able-bodied. Grrrr....
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tim C.'s Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    New Jersey
    Blog Entries

    Wheelie: In the few months immediately preceeding my SCI...

    I was diagnosed (or it was suggested) to experience IBS. For years I figured I had something going on with me since I had an ultra-fast metabolism, my life cruised at the speed of sound, pooped often 3X/day (we're all casual here about our private stuff, eh?) pooped even more often as a result of anxiety, (yes, had an extreme anxious personality, almost AADHD level), pooped even more as the result of job stress (if that's imaginable), ...and always had a gas problem, especially when anxiety was up,....thank God I was able to pass the latter off on the family dog. I was so bad that I'd be running to the toilet after each meal, stool was always loose; Immodium in my office desk. Skid marks? (ok, that's overkilling it).
    In any case, I was given these nasty looking green capsules, and instructed to pop them an hour or so b4 a meal. Never had a chance to try it, rest is history.

    At the beginning of my rehab at Kessler, I was told that at one day I'd be leaving with bowels trained to void 1X/day, or even every other day! YEAH RIGHT !
    By the time I was readying to leave I was hearing the threat of colostomy.
    Ugggh, life worsened with the much needed narcotic pain killer regimin.
    Fought a life balanced between narcotics, extreme laxes (mag citrate/ go lightly) and hellish BPs/ bowel accidents, et,al; for the past 3.5 years.
    Help me!:
    G.I. MD,
    another G.I. MD opinion,
    colo-rectal MD,
    back to Kessler (3 inpatient visits)

    stage ll decubitus
    accidents gaylore
    Even Lidocane insertion now hurts to hell, yes I'm ASIA A

    You tell me?

    Now, I'm looking

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jadis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Salish Mtns, Montana
    I was diagnosed in 2005. I was told it was auto-immune then and during classes the IBS umbrella was also classified as auto-immune. I have asthma and allergies also. Last summer when I was diagnosed with eczema in my right ear, my doctor was not surprised that I had yet another auto-immune condition. I'm trying like heck to stay off steroids for obvious reasons.

    I do know that certain foods and stresses do trigger a flare-up. Benadryl and Immodium are carried with me since I never know when I'll need them.

  8. #8

    My experience

    I was diagnosed with reflux and IBS (constipating) years ago. Couldn't take anti-reflux drugs and both reflux and ibs progressively got worse. Got desperate so was willing to try almost anything. I found a natural solution and I was able to get rid of both reflux and IBS in less then a week. This won't work for some people. I understand reflux is caused when either you have either too little acid or to much created by stomach. My situation I believe is too little acid. I started taking organic apple cider, a couple teaspoons a day. I had remarkable results immediately. I haven't felt this well in 15+ years. Now, my wife tried the cider vinegar and it made her reflux worse so it is not for everyone. It tastes awful also. I know some people are going to think this is bs, but it worked for me and there are others who swear by it. Do a google search for apple cider vinegar reflux.

    Another site that helps with ibs by focusing on diet is

    good luck

  9. #9
    Senior Member HR's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    San Diego


    I have IBS and my GI Doctor (Gastroenderologist) gives me Bentyl 10mg and it works great! I'm a C5-6 if that helps. But think about going to a Gastroenderologist he sure did help me.


  10. #10


    Did you have lots of accidents before you tried this med? My brother is also C5/6, 2.5 years post and has had accidents regularly the entire time, several per week, even after a regular bp each morning. Our father had IBS, along with another brother.

    If you did have accidents, did this stop them? Are there any side effects?


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