IBS: How to Live with It (and C Diff)?
I am a male, lifelong vegetarian, and 55 years old. Last July, I was diagnosed with diverticulitis, for the third time in 19 years. I was put on Augmentin to treat it. Within two days the diarrhea started and I ended up in the ER about 4 days later. The ER doc thought that I may have developed CDIFF because of the Augmentin. I was taken off this med right away and tested for cdiff, then sent home. The following morning, I got the results that I had cdiff and went back to the ER. They then gave me Vancomyacin. It worked and my diarrhea stopped.
However, a week after I finished the vanco treatment, the diarrhea started again and I went to urgent care. Again, tested positive for Cdiff and I went back on Vancomyacin. This worked, but for two more weeks, I had nausea, off and on diarrhea, and severe acid reflux. The reflux was so awful I thought my chest was on fire and I had to take an ambulance to the ER. They gave me esophagus coating medication which took a few days to work. I could not take a real acid reflux medication because that could increase the chances of Cdiff coming back. I also then had an upper GI and all was normal.
I did see several times an outstanding GI specialist who reassured me that I am okay and that it would take months for my gut to heal from the cdiff. I was also diagnosed with chronic IBS-D and this will never go away. There are certain foods I can never eat again and I am trying to go full vegan with the exception of lactose free yogurt and lactose free cheese. He also recommended a probiotic called Florastor that has real clinical research behind it. It is expensive but I started taking it and I really felt better. I did have the occasional bout with diarrhea if I was not careful with my diet.
In March of this year, I had a really bad bout of IBS D and this time they ran a Fecal Calprotectin test to check inflammation in my gut. Test results were normal.
Last Thursday and Friday morning, I had 6 very dark, watery bowel movements between 10pm and 7am. This freaked me out and I ran to urgent care. They ran very detailed stool panel. All results were normal except that they detected cdiff again. I went back in and they told me that I will probably always test positive for Cdiff going forward but as long as I don't have massive, watery diarrhea, the infection is not present…just the germ.
This is what the CDC site also says. People who get a formal diagnosis of Cdiff will always carry the bacteria though have no formal symptoms. Since last Friday, I have have not had any massive watery diarrhea and deal with my "normal" bouts of IBS. No fever, some random pains here and the in my abdomen which I have had for many years.
Finally, I can tell you that I may have anywhere from 2-4 bowel movements a day. At least 2-3 before noon and maybe one in the afternoon. During flare up weeks, I can have up 5-6 movements. My GI doc, who I really like and trust ( very patient, knowledgeable, and a great communicator) states that this is basically my IBS flaring up randomly. During my bout with diverticulitis and Cdiff last summer, I lost over 15 pounds in two months. All blood tests were normal and my doctors told me that I was at my healthy weight and should try to maintain it instead of gaining at all back.
Very frustrating and depressing. I literally avoid going out anywhere in the morning as I need to be near a clean toilet…which is basically my home.
Any thoughts or similar experiences?
Thank you for reading.