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Ask Dr. Gott 9/5
Not looking forward to IBS in retirement
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrhea) for 50 years. It began in my early teens. I have tried everything from the early treatment of eating bland foods to today's adding bulk to my diet through the use of roughage and fiber. It feels like I have tried virtually everything but still haven't found relief from what, for me, has been a life-altering condition. Everything I do revolves around IBS, from school in my teens, to jobs, family activities and even everyday routines.
    I am now in my 60s, and retirement is hopefully not far away. I don't want the rest of my life to be dictated by this condition and the availability of a bathroom.
    DEAR READER: We still don't know what causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We often have ways to treat it, and we know the symptoms and how to diagnose it, but ways of treating it successfully still elude the medical community.
    Early treatments, popular when you were first diagnosed, consisted primarily of unseasoned, bland foods, which often were of little or no help. Most of today's treatments are for IBS with constipation, such as Zelnorm, which is off the market for most sufferers unless no other treatment works and it is approved by the physician. However, the diarrhea type is usually treated with over-the-counter products such as fiber bulking agents (Metamucil and others) or antidiarrheals (Imodium and others).
    One over-the-counter drug that appears to work for either type of IBS, and better still, for most sufferers who try it, is Digestive Advantage IBS. This product seems to work in a way that prescription drugs haven't. It is affordably priced and available nearly everywhere. Try this product, with the approval of your gastroenterologist, and let me know how it works.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: You wrote about a woman who couldn't shut her brain off at night. I, too, suffered these nightly "loopy loos."
    I found that taking melatonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid and 5-hydroxytryptophan work well for me. I started this treatment based on the theory that serotonin levels decrease in aging brains. I purchase the products from an herbal-supply store. They don't work quickly, but I am now three months into treatment, and my sleep pattern is nearly normal.
    DEAR READER: I am glad that you found a treatment that works for you. I am passing it on to my other readers who may benefit from it. I also ask that anyone who has tried or tries these products write me with their conclusions. I will print a follow-up article with the results.
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