NHS Choices Condition
Content supplied by NHS Choices
Geoff Lyon, 57, has had severe IBS since early childhood. He tells us his story.
âIt all started when I was about eight years old. I was getting a lot of unexplained diarrhoea and feeling sick. I couldnât go anywhere without wanting to go to the toilet and my parents didnât understand what was wrong with me.
âAs I grew up, it didnât get any better. I was still suffering diarrhoea and nausea, as well as constipation, headaches and feeling tired all the time. Sometimes it would wake me up at night and Iâd sit for a couple of hours on the toilet sweating, with a severe cramping pain in my gut. I wouldnât be able to go, then suddenly, Iâd have a gush of diarrhoea. I would be exhausted the next day.
âIt wasnât until 1980, when I was 29, that I was referred to hospital to have a barium enema (when the colon is filled with a liquid that shows up on X-ray) and a blood test. They couldnât find anything seriously wrong and eventually diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis.
Â âI was given an antispasmodic drug to take two to three times a day, which slows the contractions in your gut. I now control my IBS with codeine phosphate, an antidiarrhoeal drug.
âNot only has the treatment helped, but also cutting out dairy products from my diet. About nine years ago my doctor suggested I try a non-dairy diet and it seems to help. Iâve always loved milk and cream so it was difficult switching from them to soya products, but itâs worth it. One Christmas I gave in and had some cream trifle, and within half an hour I was on the toilet, which proves it isnât good for me.
âAt the moment I do still get attacks, quite frequently, but theyâre not as bad and Iâm more in control of them. I know when Iâm going to have an attack as I become really lethargic and my stomach distends the night before, like Iâm six months pregnant.
âIâve noticed that if Iâm stressed, my IBS kicks in a couple of days later, so I tryÂ to relax and remove any stress from my life.
âI run a self-help group for The Gut Trust charity, which Iâd recommend joining. You get lots of factsheets and a âCanât Waitâ card thatÂ you can show to hotels or shops if you desperately need to use their toilet facilities.âview information about Irritable Bowel Syndrome on www.nhs.co.uk »
The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.