First of all, since you have had these symptoms for three years, I suggest you request a referral to a gastroenterologist, (a specialist in diseases of the GI tract including stomach, small intestine and colon). This specialist will do a complete set of investigations including barium enema and colonoscopy. You should also get at least three stool cultures for bacteria and three cultures for parasites to determine the cause of your diarrhea (each culture taken two days apart). Occasionally birth control pills can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, but this is uncommon.
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a condition in which diarrhea alternates with constipation accompanied by hyper-secretion of mucous, abdominal pain, bloating and gas. Other diseases with similar symptoms include ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Once the specialist has confirmed the diagnosis of IBS, then it would be wise to seek out a naturopathic doctor to supervise your care.
Diet is key in management, in spite of what your doctor might tell you. It is important to determine your food allergies through an elimination diet or specialized testing from an alternative practitioner. Recent research has confirmed the connection between IBS and sensitivity to certain foods.
First described in 1951 by Drs. Sidney and Merrill Haas , the specific carbohydrate diet has been successful in treating and curing thousands of cases of ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, celiac disease and IBS. This diet is described and explained along with delicious recipes in Breaking the Vicious Cycle , by Elaine Gotschall (Kirkton Press, 1998). The basic principle of this well balanced diet is that no food should be ingested that contains carbohydrates other than those found in fruits, honey, properly prepared yogurt and certain vegetables and nuts.
Enteric coated peppermint has been shown to relax gastrointestinal muscles. Powdered ginger in capsules has a soothing effect on the gut. Powdered activated charcoal in tablet or capsule form helps gas and absorbs toxins from the gut.
Robert's formula is an old naturopathic herbal formula with a long history of use for inflammatory disease and other causes of diarrhea. The herbs include marshmallow root, slippery elm, wild indigo, echinacea, geranium, goldenseal, poke root and comfrey. Capsules of the formula are available at selected health food stores.
Other useful supplements include vitamin-A, vitamin-E, vitamin-C, zinc, folic acid and flax seed oil. Vitamin-A is a regenerator of the bowel mucosa. Plant enzymes help in the break down of food. The amino acid L-glutamine helps regenerate the cells of the digestive tract.
Often the gut flora are disturbed and acidophilus and other friendly bacteria should be taken on a regular basis. Chronic candida of the gut can be an important co-factor and also must be treated if present. Finally, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be very effective medicine for IBS.
Lose weight – diet and exercise plans