I have had irritable bowel most of my life; I am 69 now. (My mother, who is 94, had it, too, and now has ulcerative colitis and was taking Pentassa but now has to switch to another medicine because of low kidney function. Pentassa is very expensive, and I suppose the new medicine will be expensive also. She had 16 inches of her bowels removed about ten years ago and had blood transfusions because of bleeding from diverticulitis. She was not diagnosed with ulcerative colitis until she saw a gastrointerologist a few years ago.)
When in my 20s, my problems started with raw onions, canned orange juice, and canned corn. Now High Fructose Corn syrup really bothers me, causing me to have nausea and really watery diarrhea and gas. Eating out is usually a disaster because so many foods contain HFC: sauces, sodas, bread, crackers, ketchup, condiments, dressings, juice, anything that substitutes HFC instead of sugar or regular corn syrup. Fiber bothers me, so I have to have vegetables very well cooked and avoid apple and potato peels. I can eat oranges, though. Cherries usually upset my stomach, but the mushier, well cooked fruits and vegetables are, the better it goes down. When traveling, I avoid the bothersome foods and am on a very limited diet. Lactose bothers my bowels, also. I drink Lactaid Milk, which has no lactose, and have started also eating ice cream with no lactose.
When I travel, I have to take some of my own foods or eat really bland, plain foods. When shopping, I have to read the ingredients on all of the labels. Some foods say on the front label, “No HFC.” To deal with the diarrhea, I take Pepto-Bismol. For gas and nausea, I take Gas-X strips. For indigestion, I take Tums. When constantly feeling like having to have a bowel movement, I take Immodium A-D but do NOT take Pepto-Bismol with the Immodium A-D, or I get badly constipated. Then it is time to drink prune juice! This has been the only way I can even travel anywhere. I also wear CVS Women’s Panties when I go anywhere so I do not have an embarrassing accident. When attending events, I scope out the location of the women’s restroom in case I have to get there quickly and I avoid the foods. If the diarrhea is really bad, I stay home and do not eat until my bowels/stomach settle down. It is a real hassle to try to keep it under control. Sometimes, if I am lucky, there will be a fairly long period of time (watching carefully what I eat) before I have another spell, usually caused by an offending food or ingredient.
I would not wish bowel problems on anyone! Good luck to anyone having these kind of problems! Most doctors do not seem to know how to deal with it. A gastrointerologist is definitely needed.