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The Horticulturalist

Bimonthly Episodes Of Very Severe Diarrhea

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I just posted this on an IBS forum but wanted to post here too as I know that gluten is at least part of the problem for me, but not sure that it's the only problem. If anyone has similar symptoms I'd love to know, I can't find any stories online that sound like mine and am really at my wits end :(

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Almost 2yrs ago our family had a D&V illness that was doing the rounds that winter, I had diarrhea only, the others were all vomiting. We all recovered normally it seemed at the time. 3 months later in March 2010 I had a similar diarrhea episode that was so severe that I assumed it was food poisoning, I took immodium and it stopped within 1 - 2hrs. I had another 'episode' in May 2010, then again in August 2010. Following the August episode I started to have these episodes on average every week.

A typical diarrhea episode would start with me feeling hot, flushed and generally unwell about 30 mins before the diarrhea starts, I did not have a fever though. Once the diarrhea starts it would very quickly become watery and often foul smelling, like rotten fish. I would be very weak, shivering, teeth chattering and barely able to hold my head up. I usually would lie on the cold bathroom floor near to the toilet as I was too weak to move very far. At no time did I ever have abdominal pain or cramping. Within 1 to 1.5hrs of diarrhea starting the medication would start to become effective and the diarrhea would stop and I would go to bed. The severe episodes have *only* ever happened in the evening, almost always after my evening meal, only once I think it happened just before we sat down to eat.

Despite eating and drinking as normal the next day, I would be very weak and extremely fatigued, much more than I would expect after only an hour of diarrhea. I would usually spend most of the next day and the following day in bed and unable to do normal things around the house. I would be far too weak to attempt to drive. It takes days for me to feel fully back to normal. In between these episodes my bowel movements are totally normal, no diarrhea or constipation. I have lost weight, usually 1 - 2lbs after each episode of diarrhea. My weight 1 year ago was about 125lbs, It

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Have you tried keeping a food journal? That might help you find a pattern. Soy is a common culprit, have you looked into that?

It's also possible that you are getting contamination you are not currently aware of. Since you are confident that's not it, I'm assuming you have done all the basics like having your own pans, utensils, kitchen appliances, cutting boards, not sharing condiments, checking all ingredients, calling manufacturers of any packaged foods you eat and asking about shared lines, replacing personal care products, not having anyone use loose flour in the house, making sure your deli meats aren't sliced on shared equipment, not eating many "gluten-free" packaged foods, etc. We were surprised to learn that some products we thought were safe were not. For example, plain lentils. We used to buy them from Azure Standard - however, even though it was a direct order, (not loose in store bulk bins) they would repackage them into the smaller bulk bags in the same warehouse as gluten products.

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Have you tried keeping a food journal? That might help you find a pattern. Soy is a common culprit, have you looked into that?

It's also possible that you are getting contamination you are not currently aware of. Since you are confident that's not it, I'm assuming you have done all the basics like having your own pans, utensils, kitchen appliances, cutting boards, not sharing condiments, checking all ingredients, calling manufacturers of any packaged foods you eat and asking about shared lines, replacing personal care products, not having anyone use loose flour in the house, making sure your deli meats aren't sliced on shared equipment, not eating many "gluten-free" packaged foods, etc. We were surprised to learn that some products we thought were safe were not. For example, plain lentils. We used to buy them from Azure Standard - however, even though it was a direct order, (not loose in store bulk bins) they would repackage them into the smaller bulk bags in the same warehouse as gluten products.

I am going to go through everything again, contamination is in theory possible and I have replaced the cutting boards and so on a while back. I am getting rid of the last traces of gluten in the house as my youngest son was diagnosed with celiac last week. I've always been very careful, but this has forced me to look again. I've also decided to not eat anything anyone else has prepared so that I can know for sure whether cross contamination is causing this.

I have accidentally eaten small amounts of gluten a couple of times in the last year and immediately realised I had done it, but I did not get sick on those occasions, so it's hard to know what is going on.

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I almost could have written your post, although I don't get full body symptoms as horrible as you're describing. I just go into orbit around the toilet for 2-3 hours until my intestines empty themselves out, get dehydrated, and feel tired the rest of the day every month or two. Sometimes my stomach will be upset for the next few days. The D was chronic until I got off gluten, then it got a lot better.

Like you, I'll still have an episode out of the blue every couple months. It's frequent enough that I don't think it's always a GI virus, plus it's what I used to experience all the time on gluten. I've gotten gluten CC'd accidentally a few times without a severe reaction so I'm pretty sure it's NOT gluten at this point.

It's terribly hard to troubleshoot this when it only happens occasionally and no particular food seems to trigger it. I've suspected yeast, nuts, red wine, and soy, but I've eaten all those foods multiple times since with no episode.

I've noticed a couple times it happened after eating chicken but I'm not sensitive or intolerant to chicken. I eat it all the time. I'm starting to wonder if I'm not being careful enough when I handle raw chicken (I THOUGHT I was careful!!!) and getting mildly salmonella poisoned. Salmonella isn't supposed work that way but maybe I'm more sensitive to it than some folks. I've gone crazy OCD handling raw meat using hand sanitizer after scrubbing my hands and Lysol on anything I might have touched (faucet, dishwasher handle, etc.) to see if it helps.

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I almost could have written your post, although I don't get full body symptoms as horrible as you're describing. I just go into orbit around the toilet for 2-3 hours until my intestines empty themselves out, get dehydrated, and feel tired the rest of the day every month or two. Sometimes my stomach will be upset for the next few days. The D was chronic until I got off gluten, then it got a lot better.

Like you, I'll still have an episode out of the blue every couple months. It's frequent enough that I don't think it's always a GI virus, plus it's what I used to experience all the time on gluten. I've gotten gluten CC'd accidentally a few times without a severe reaction so I'm pretty sure it's NOT gluten at this point.

It's terribly hard to troubleshoot this when it only happens occasionally and no particular food seems to trigger it. I've suspected yeast, nuts, red wine, and soy, but I've eaten all those foods multiple times since with no episode.

I've noticed a couple times it happened after eating chicken but I'm not sensitive or intolerant to chicken. I eat it all the time. I'm starting to wonder if I'm not being careful enough when I handle raw chicken (I THOUGHT I was careful!!!) and getting mildly salmonella poisoned. Salmonella isn't supposed work that way but maybe I'm more sensitive to it than some folks. I've gone crazy OCD handling raw meat using hand sanitizer after scrubbing my hands and Lysol on anything I might have touched (faucet, dishwasher handle, etc.) to see if it helps.

Hmm, that does sound like me! The worst part is not knowing when it will happen as there is no discernable trigger, I feel like I'm being attacked by the invisible man! Like you I am eating soy, eggs, and everything else for weeks on end with no apparent symptoms, then bam, it happens again.

I'm from Scotland and now living in the USA, the worst part at the moment is that I'm too frightened to travel on my own that kind of distance in case it happened on the plane or in the airport and no one would be with me. It happened in Gatwick airport earlier this year, it was awful and we had a 5hr wait for our plane to Scotland. Thankfully my husband was with me, but it was really grim. The diarrhea did not last too long, but felt like I was dying for hours afterwards.

EDIT: Skylark, have you ever tried any kind of regimen of probiotics and/or other supplements?

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I, too, could have written your post, Horticulturalist, except I would usually add a brief fainting episode between the flushing and cold sweats. I eventually discovered that I was reacting to lectins in various food families (there are lectins in gluten), but the major offender for me was corn - that was a guaranteed knockout. I also react to soy, nightshades, legumes, citrus. There are also lectins in dairy which I fortunately do not react to :) You might try experimenting with these food groups, or note them on your food diary.

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Shroomie, can the lectin thing come and go? Like eating a food fine most of the time, but crashing and burning once in a while on the very same food? I had chronic GI trouble with the gluten, not OK for a couple months between wipeouts.

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Shroomie, can the lectin thing come and go? Like eating a food fine most of the time, but crashing and burning once in a while on the very same food? I had chronic GI trouble with the gluten, not OK for a couple months between wipeouts.

Yes, and it used to depend for me on how much I consumed and what I consumed it with- maybe part of the food combining theory,, I don't know. :blink: If I ate just corn chips, well bingo. But if I had a burrito maybe not. But it doesn't come and go any more. That being said, I am tolerating some potato starch and corn starch now (I think because the lectins tend to be concentrated in the skins since they serve a protective function for the plant to deter insects.)

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Shroomie, can the lectin thing come and go? Like eating a food fine most of the time, but crashing and burning once in a while on the very same food? I had chronic GI trouble with the gluten, not OK for a couple months between wipeouts.

I feel a little more encouraged that I'm not the only one with these random attacks! I have ordered a probiotic from amazon that I saw discussed somewhere else, I plan to completely cut out soy and corn also.

This might be nothing to do with it but I've wondered if the 'stuff' they add to raw meat to bulk it out could be causing me problems, they add broth, which is labeled gluten free, but goodness knows what other junk is in it. We had pork chops that I broiled recently that were so salty they were almost inedible. Beef and pork in particular don't seem to sit well with me anymore.

I have found supermarket meat hard to digest lately, but if I can't eat beans and legumes them I don't know where I can get my protein from! I might need to speak nicely to some deer hunters and stock up on that!

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Yes, and it used to depend for me on how much I consumed and what I consumed it with- maybe part of the food combining theory,, I don't know. :blink: If I ate just corn chips, well bingo. But if I had a burrito maybe not. But it doesn't come and go any more. That being said, I am tolerating some potato starch and corn starch now (I think because the lectins tend to be concentrated in the skins since they serve a protective function for the plant to deter insects.)

I think you may be onto something with the food combining thing. I have not read about it but I wondered if it was caused by a 'perfect storm' type thing where a combination of certain food, me being tired, and maybe some other factors all conspired together to cause it. I just don' know what the factors are though. Maybe I should just eat bananas and rice!

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Horticulturalist, I developed my other lectin intolerances after I went gluten free, before I learned about leaky guts (and not knowing if I had a leaky gut because I was never diagnosed). So the intolerance to soy was immediate, and the potatoes (and other nightshades) about a year later. Next thing I knew I was reacting to citrus because I had been eating way too much of it to compensate for no tomatoes :( and then came the legumes because it seems like we allways had beans or peas (yes, green ones :o ) for dinner (this was a time when hub was doing most of the cooking) :D

So I then went on a strict program to heal my leaky gut and have hopes that I may be able to gain back more foods than just the corn and potato starches.

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Do you have any local farmers you can buy from? We get our meat from people who raise it organically, pasture it, and don't use corn based citric acid when processing it. We have to buy in bulk, so we have a chest freezer to store it in.

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We, too, are in the process of healing our leaky guts. We are using the GAPS diet for this and are 8 months in.

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We, too, are in the process of healing our leaky guts. We are using the GAPS diet for this and are 8 months in.

Do you take any supplements on the GAPS diet?

I need to look into getting meat from organic farms, there are none nearby so I would have to order online probably. I can get venison for nothing if I speak nicely to some people,it doesn't seem to cause me problems. I can also get bass fish for nothing too, thought I'm not a huge fan it's easy to digest.

I'd love to get some non farmed salmon, but that's more expensive per lb than fillet steak.

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Venison is wonderful! I wish I had easy access to it :)

I recommend you read the GAPS book and consult your physician rather than take my word for what supplements to use. I have a blog linked from my profile and one of the posts on there is called GAPS Resources. That one has links to the book, etc. We also have a Starting GAPS post and I'm in the process of blogging the stages, only have Stage 1 up so far.

I'm really not big on supplements but the diet does suggest using some. What we use (not as regularly as I should, I forget to take them) is:

- Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pastures (the fermentation is key)

- Mineral drops from ConcenTrace

- GutPro Probiotic Powder (Dr. Natasha recommends BioKult but we use GutPro)

- Epsom salt baths

The diet is heavy on home-fermented foods as a source of probiotics. We make sauerkraut, ferment our own pickles (all kinds of pickled veggies), make kim chee, make yogurt (from whole, raw, organic milk), make water kefir & dairy kefir, and kombucha. We tried beet kvass, too, but it wasn't a big hit.

The most important thing, imo, more than supplements, is to get the body to a state where it can accept nutrients from our food. The GAPS diet is aimed at providing the most easily digested and absorbed food so that you can get the most nutrition while allowing your gut to heal. You also starve out the overgrowths of candida and other bad bugs by drastically reducing sources of sugar in the diet (it's based on the SCD), while introducing beneficial flora.

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Venison is wonderful! I wish I had easy access to it :)

I recommend you read the GAPS book and consult your physician rather than take my word for what supplements to use. I have a blog linked from my profile and one of the posts on there is called GAPS Resources. That one has links to the book, etc. We also have a Starting GAPS post and I'm in the process of blogging the stages, only have Stage 1 up so far.

I'm really not big on supplements but the diet does suggest using some. What we use (not as regularly as I should, I forget to take them) is:

- Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pastures (the fermentation is key)

- Mineral drops from ConcenTrace

- GutPro Probiotic Powder (Dr. Natasha recommends BioKult but we use GutPro)

- Epsom salt baths

The diet is heavy on home-fermented foods as a source of probiotics. We make sauerkraut, ferment our own pickles (all kinds of pickled veggies), make kim chee, make yogurt (from whole, raw, organic milk), make water kefir & dairy kefir, and kombucha. We tried beet kvass, too, but it wasn't a big hit.

The most important thing, imo, more than supplements, is to get the body to a state where it can accept nutrients from our food. The GAPS diet is aimed at providing the most easily digested and absorbed food so that you can get the most nutrition while allowing your gut to heal. You also starve out the overgrowths of candida and other bad bugs by drastically reducing sources of sugar in the diet (it's based on the SCD), while introducing beneficial flora.

Thanks for all that info, I'll need to spend some time working it all out. I can't tolerate casein so all the fermented dairy it out. I might give the other stuff a go though.

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Thanks for all that info, I'll need to spend some time working it all out. I can't tolerate casein so all the fermented dairy it out. I might give the other stuff a go though.

Casein is not central to the diet. It can be done without it :)

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Joy, will GAPS help obnoxious fatigue and mild depression? I keep thinking I'm showing signs of some sort of intolerance but it's not specific enough to track down. I feel foggy, metallic taste, and kind of vaguely poisoned. My asthma is a little worse too. I've thought of trying FAILSAFE because they list so many of my vague symptoms, but now you have me wondering about GAPS. It seems like my health started back downhill when I had bacterial bronchitis and had no choice but to take azithromycin last spring. (I tried HARD to avoid taking it but I was headed for pneumonia.) By summer I'd gone hypothyroid with the Hashi's much worse and I've not felt normal since.

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Joy, will GAPS help obnoxious fatigue and mild depression? I keep thinking I'm showing signs of some sort of intolerance but it's not specific enough to track down. I feel foggy, metallic taste, and kind of vaguely poisoned. My asthma is a little worse too. I've thought of trying FAILSAFE because they list so many of my vague symptoms, but now you have me wondering about GAPS. It seems like my health started back downhill when I had bacterial bronchitis and had no choice but to take azithromycin last spring. (I tried HARD to avoid taking it but I was headed for pneumonia.) By summer I'd gone hypothyroid with the Hashi's much worse and I've not felt normal since.

Skylark I'm going to try and get going with it this week if I can. I made a spreadsheet over the weekend that listed all the foods allowed on the FODMAP diet, I then cross referenced it with the GAPS foods and that ruled out all grains (which I was going to stop anyway) and sugars. I have also decided to stop all the nightshades, might as well go for it!!

I researched a little and ordered some probiotics and digestive enzymes. I have Vit D3 in drops already, I hate taking pills so the less the better. I got them all on amazon.

It does sound like the antibiotics might have upset your gut :(

EDIT: Skylark - are you male or female? I'm female and wondered if hormones might be a factor for me, but I can't find any info that would really support that.

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Female. My thyroid is so messed up it's hard to get a bead on the other hormones.

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Female. My thyroid is so messed up it's hard to get a bead on the other hormones.

:( sorry to hear that.

Well I'm going to head to the butchers tomorrow and see if I can get some beef bones for broth.

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We'll do this together! I just ordered the GAPS book, some Bio-kult, and Caldwell's culture starter. I think I can find unpasteurized cultured veggies at Whole Foods while I attempt homemade veggies. I'll have to start on the weekend as I don't have time to make soup properly the next few days.

What sold me is that Dr. Campbell-McBride says it can help autoimmunity. I would do a lot to get rid of this thyroid inflammation - I think it's part of why I feel so sick all the time.

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We'll do this together! I just ordered the GAPS book, some Bio-kult, and Caldwell's culture starter. I think I can find unpasteurized cultured veggies at Whole Foods while I attempt homemade veggies. I'll have to start on the weekend as I don't have time to make soup properly the next few days.

What sold me is that Dr. Campbell-McBride says it can help autoimmunity. I would do a lot to get rid of this thyroid inflammation - I think it's part of why I feel so sick all the time.

Ok, you're on!

I have the probiotics, the digestive enzymes should come tommorow. I don't have the book yet, I 'll need to get that and get going on the soups/broth before next week.

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Ok, you're on!

I have the probiotics, the digestive enzymes should come tommorow. I don't have the book yet, I 'll need to get that and get going on the soups/broth before next week.

Sweet! I'm happy to have a buddy in this. I have Threelac so I figure I'll start with that one and add the Bio-kult when it comes in. I hope my EmpowerPlus is OK for this diet because going off it is really not an option for me.

You know what's weird? I joined this group last April to ask about super-sensitivity. I got FAR more gluten intolerant after that antibiotic. I didn't have to worry that much about CC before and was eating a "mainstream" celiac diet with no issues.

Soup pot will be on the stove Saturday. I hope I can dig up the energy from somewhere for all the cooking...

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