My Dr recently prescribed Bentyl for my abdominal pain and I have taken it for almost a week now, but it isn't helping. I would like to know if I should be feeling relief by now.
What is irritable bowel syndrome and what are the symptoms?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often described as acute abdominal pain and discomfort with varying bowel habits, in the absence of any other medical explanation for the symptoms. Patients with IBS often report the BCDGs or bloating, constipation, diarrhea and gas.
How can you distinguish normal digestive problems from those needing medical evaluation?
Certain foods, like beans and prunes, can cause gastrointestinal effects in most people. A certain amount of gas is normal and healthy. However, if you are experiencing abdominal pain, a change in your bowel habits, or if your gas, diarrhea or constipation is interfering with your normal activities, you should see a doctor. It's important for your health care provider to help you rule out other problems, especially if you have any of the following:
Blood or pus in stools
Family history of colon cancer
Symptoms that wake you from sleep
Onset after age 50
A lump you can feel by touch
Unintentional weight loss
IBS responds well to dietary restrictions...
In the diarrhea-prominent type of IBS, the primary form of treatment is diet. Constipation can be more challenging to treat with diet alone. Other forms of noninvasive therapy that are routinely used are physical therapy and stress management because studies show the mind-gut connection is very real.
Certain foods aggravate the condition such as:
Foods that are: high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeinated coffee and tea. Some foods, such as beans, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peas, onions, and bagels, that can cause minor discomfort in a normal GI tract can cause significant bloating, gas, and abdominal pain in IBS sufferers.
What is the best diet for people with IBS symptoms?
There is no one-size-fits-all diet. A high-fiber diet was thought to be the best diet for almost everyone with IBS, but recent studies have shown that this isn’t true for everyone.
For people with constipation, it's common to try a high-fiber diet of 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams for men to see if that helps. People should eat as much dietary fiber as they can tolerate, and understand that a certain amount of gas production is a sign of healthy gut microbes at work. The challenge is finding an acceptable fiber intake without experiencing debilitating abdominal pain and bloating, and frantic dashes to the toilet. And sometimes focusing on fiber alone doesn’t address the removal of potential trigger foods from the diet.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals spread throughout the day instead of larger meals can lead to less discomfort for some people. What is really important is to identify the foods that are causing the symptoms.
For individuals with diarrhea, gas, or bloating, or if a high-fiber diet fails, I suggest a two-week trial FODMAPS elimination diet. (FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols.)
What is the FODMAPS approach?
You'll work with your physician and registered dietitian to eliminate all foods that contain the five forms of carbohydrates (lactose, fructose, fructans, sugar alcohols, and galactans) for a trial period of 1-2 weeks. If FODMAPS carbs are causing the symptoms, relief can occur in just a few days. You follow the elimination period with a challenge of reintroducing one of the FODMAP carbs and observe symptoms. Additional FODMAP carbs are slowly added back, one at a time. At the end of the reintroduction phase, a final diet emerges with only those FODMAP carbs that are fairly well tolerated. The goal is to find the most liberal and varied diet possible that still keeps symptoms under control. Most people find they can still include their favorite foods if they exercise care. For example, a person who discovers that fructans (found in wheat) cause a lot of distress might find they can’t tolerate wheat at every meal, but may be able to tolerate one portion of wheat without a problem. Health care providers have known for years about the GI impact of select FODMAPS, such as lactose and sugar alcohols. Fructose and galactan intolerance are a bit newer. Although it is very well accepted and widely practiced in Australia, it is a new idea for most health care providers in the U.S. The FODMAPS approach is unique because it views all of these carbohydrates as one big system, looking at the forest instead of the trees. Some providers are concerned that the FODMAPS is too complicated, but many patients are very motivated and willing to do anything to feel better.
Is a gluten-free diet a good option for IBS sufferers?
Gluten-free diets are very popular right now for a wide variety of conditions. When you eliminate gluten, you also eliminate wheat products that contain fructans, one of the FODMAPS carbohydrates.
Eating certain carbohydrates can cause gas, bloating, and watery diarrhea for some IBS sufferers. Lactose, or milk sugar, is one example many people are familiar with. If your bowel has difficulty tolerating lactose, when you eat it -- especially in high doses or when you eat it alone -- bacteria in the large intestine ferment it, and it can result in gas and painful bloating as well as excess gas.
Can probiotics or digestive enzymes help reduce symptoms?
The use of probiotic supplements may help reduce symptoms in the long run, but I would encourage using a FODMAPS approach before introducing probiotics into the diet. Lactose is the name of the enzyme that breaks lactose (milk sugar) down to simpler sugars during digestion. Using milk products that have been pre-treated with this enzyme, or taking an enzyme, are good strategies for reducing symptoms. Fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir and hard cheeses, contain less lactose than milk and may be better tolerated.
In a nutshell, what are recommended foods for IBS sufferers?
Use lactose-free or reduced-lactose dairy products; small servings of berries and citrus fruits; potatoes, rice, oats and corn products; lean meats, fish and poultry; salad vegetables; and plant-based oils. When it comes to sweeteners, small servings of granulated sugar and maple syrup are usually well-tolerated. Keep your diet as varied and colorful as you can tolerate. Remember, you can probably tolerate small servings of your favorite high-FODMAPS foods. Even if a whole bowl of grandma’s baked beans is out of the question, a little bite won’t hurt you.
Are people with IBS at risk for nutrient deficiencies?
Some people with IBS eliminate entire food groups to control symptoms. These very limited diets can cause weight loss and at the other extreme, weight gain. Unfortunately, some people with IBS find that the “healthier” they eat, with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and milk, the worse they feel. All of these situations can put them at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which is why it's important to have a registered dietitian help with the best dietary plan.
I know this is a lot of information but I wasn't exactly sure what the Bentyl was treating. I assumed it was IBS... but you didn't specify that. It is important to note that for IBS... medication alone usually doesn't work... it is a combination of the dietary restrictions and the meds.
I hope I have helped relieve your anxiety and am heading you in the right direction.
Please let me know if this helps you OR if I misunderstood your question so that I can start fresh. Sorry for the long answer but there is no shortcut for IBS and its treatment plan.
Hugs and many blessings to you on this journey of self-discovery.
The literature states the following concerning the administration of Bentyl:
Oral Dosage and Administration in Adults
The recommended initial dose is 20 mg four times a day. After one week treatment with the initial dose, the dose may be increased to 40 mg four times a day unless side effects limit dosage escalation.
If efficacy is not achieved within 2 weeks or side effects require doses below 80 mg per day, the drug should be discontinued. Documented safety data are not available for doses above 80 mg daily for periods longer than 2 weeks.
I would give the doc a call and let him know of your lack of results and possible try an increase in dosage. If that doesn't help within another week, then it is time to try something else.
Hi catsnack, & welcome to the site. Since you just list abdominal pain, & not a definate diagnosis, I wonder if you could even be taking the correct medication. I went thru a similar situation when the doctors could not accurately figure out what was causing my abdominal pain. If you have a diaganosis, I would definaltely suggest you call your doctor & let him/her know this isn't helping your pain. If it is a trial & error type of thing, & you are in quite a bit of pain, I would suggest you ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist as in a gastroenterologist for this pain. It took my doctors over 7 years to find out what my problem was, with me in bending over pain all that time. They tried me on several medications to no avail because they were trying to treat the wrong condition.
There is a meriod of problems that can cause abdominal pain, & I am just taking it for what you have written that you don't have a complete diagnosis or you would have listed it such as IBS. IBS can also be a catchall when they don't immediately see what is wrong. It has specific probelms of it's own such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation etc... If these are not your problems , then it sounds like you may be treated with the wrong medication. If you have a definate diagnosis please just hit the comment button & let us know so we can better help you... Mary
Welcome! In answer to your question, the Bentyl should start working for you within the first couple of doses. I have IBS and have taken it for 20+ years with good results. An unfortunate side effect of it is that it can also cause stomach pain for some people. So if it has not helped you, and you are still in pain, I would recommend you stop taking it and return to your dr. I hope this helps you. A good friend on the site has told us that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease", so I think you should go back to the dr and start squeaking! Best of luck to you and let us know how you do.
- Bentyl Information for Consumers
- Bentyl Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Bentyl (detailed)
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