In this article I will talk about irritable bowel syndrome, specifically IBS-D, which manifests itself in loose stools or alternating diarrhea and constipation. I won’t talk about IBS-C, which seems to manifest only in bloating and constipation.

If you have landed on this page it will be because, like many millions of others, you have been trying to self-diagnose your condition or, more likely, because you are searching for a cure. I must warn you in advance, although I am educated, I am not a medical health professional and you should always consult a physician before embarking on any form of treatment, no matter how minor.

In this article, I will cover my battle with IBS for about 10 years and how I finally found a cure that works. Everyone has a different story when it comes to IBS-D, but as I found out, we all have one thing in common. I will continue to discuss this in the following paragraphs, but I just want to start by talking a little about myself.

About 10 years ago I was a young university graduate and decided to join a job that at first seemed exciting and had infinite possibilities. I soon learned that this job was very stressful and required a 24-hour commitment. I had no problem with working hard, but I had a problem with my work environment. Many people at work felt miserable, anxious and horrible towards each other and constantly tested their bodies to the limit. It seemed the norm to be constantly stressed, have a poor diet, and feel like you had no control over your life. My work was my life and my life did not exist.
Within a few months I started going to work and headed straight to the bathroom. As any IBS-D sufferer will know, this meant constant diarrhea. No matter what he ate or drank, he always had diarrhea. It was not uncommon for me to visit the bathroom three or four times a day after eating little or nothing and immediately having diarrhea.

Little by little I got used to the feeling and for some reason I didn’t think about anything else. As soon as I ate, I didn’t feel comfortable until I had gone and emptied my bowels, after which I immediately felt better. Along with the diarrhea, I was losing water from my body that I never had time to replenish, so I looked like a dried plum. For 5 years I continued to do this to my body hoping to find a better role in my work and eventually all of this would stop.

It certainly didn’t go away, in fact in my 6th year of IBS-D all of a sudden out of the blue I started having debilitating cramps immediately followed by diarrhea. I would have these cramps 5-10 times a day and would literally need to run to the bathroom or feel like I was about to get dirty. This made it hard to be effective at my job, which then created a vicious cycle that caused my IBS-D to spiral completely out of control.

Suddenly I thought that I had developed cancer and said that I was reading everything on the Internet about which disease matched my symptoms. I found quite a few, so self-diagnosis is not such a wise idea. I went to my doctor and we started him on a course of antibiotics because he thought I might have developed an infection after an episode of food poisoning.

This had no lasting effect and I soon went back to him demanding further testing. This started with a breath test to rule out food allergies and moved on to multiple blood tests to finally rule out ulcers, colitis, celiac disease, Crones disease intestinal infections, etc. I then moved on to the next and final step, which was endoscopy of the upper and lower digestive tracts. All of this turned out negative as well. I was eventually diagnosed with severe IBS-D. In a way, I was relieved to learn that I didn’t have something like colon cancer, but at the same time I was depressed to think that IBD seems to have no cure.

The next chapter of my life involved tracking down a long list of medications in the hope that they would solve this problem. Now I want to tell you that of the medications that I’ve taken, there are a lot of people who rave about some of these medications and what they’ve done for them. That’s great since everyone’s body is different and what works for you may not work for me.

I speak to the many patients around the world who, like me, have tried everything under the sun and been unable to find a cure. Now, the following is a non-exhaustive list of the drugs I’ve tried and the results next to it.

Fiber (ineffective) Made things worse
Pre and probiotics (ineffective) At first seemed promising but quickly stopped working
Exercise (ineffective)
Drinking lots of water (ineffective) Made things worse
Exclusion diet (ineffective) Some foods like cheese, chocolate, and spices made my IBS worse, but excluding all the culprits didn’t solve the problem.

Antispasmodic (ineffective) Many different brands but all useless
Imodium (ineffective) Helped a little with diarrhea but certainly not with cramps
Tricyclic antidepressant (ineffective) Has effective drying at first but wears off quickly
Hypnotherapy (ineffective) Very insightful and relaxing, but not enough on its own.

At this point the specialist GI consultant had run out of ideas and I was left to suffer on my own.
After countless hundreds of hours of research, I found the answer. In Islam we believe that for every disease, God has created a cure, so look for it.

These are my opinions on IBS-D;

IBS-D will not kill you, it is easily treated, and nothing serious is wrong with you.
IBS-D is a functional disorder caused 99% by stress, whether conscious or subconscious.
IBS-D can only be treated by treating the cause behind the problem and not the problem itself.
IBS-D affects people in general in the western world, where the 24/7 lifestyle and the pressures of society cause people to be stressed beyond limits and this is often considered mild anxiety or depression.

So here is the magic wand everyone has been waiting for that worked for me and if my concept is correct it should work 100% without fail for genuine IBS-D patients.

First accept that you have IBS-D because you are consciously or unconsciously under pressure and this is your body’s way of warning you that enough is enough.

I spoke to my GP and ordered Venlafaxine XL, which is an SNRI antidepressant. I chose this specifically because it had constipation as one of its side effects; it was a powerful antidepressant and reduced visceral hypersensitivity.

In 6 months on 150mg daily, I had completely 100% recovered from any IBS-D symptoms.
So how did it work? It is simple; the vicious cycle of stress followed by cramps followed by diarrhea was broken. I no longer worried every time I went out if I was intoxicated or where the nearest bathroom was. It just allowed me to get on with my life without thinking about IBS and soon I was able to stop worrying about IBS and that’s it.

Each person reacts differently to different antidepressants, so try them out and see which one works best for you. While you’re at them, you can try using hypnotherapy to make yourself understand that if you eliminate stress, you break the cycle. It is your thoughts that control your intestines. Controlling your thoughts will help control your IBS, but as I said before, hypnotherapy is not effective on its own.

The only other drug I’ve used when coming off venlafaxine was a benzodiazepine called Alprazolem, brand name XANAX. In the UK this is not prescribed on the NHS so you will need to get it on a private prescription. This drug can be addictive, but if you have good self-control, it is an excellent drug to use in a controlled way as needed. One 0.5mg tablet and I’d be saying IBS? You must be very careful not to increase your dose or develop a habit for this drug. You should also know that you can develop a tolerance, so you will need to start increasing your doses. Use it as it’s supposed to be used as an IBS treatment and not recreationally for your pleasure and you’ll be fine.

Finally, I would like to conclude by saying that if I didn’t have God in my life, I probably would have given up a long time ago. Now I got my life back and I am free from IBS-D. God always gave me hope that you never give up seeking treatment and treatment begins with knowing your condition. So don’t make the mistakes I did and waste ten years of your life before you realize that we are all human and we all have breaking points. If you’ve passed that breaking point, your body will tell you one way or another, so listen to your body.