Discussions By Condition: Gastrointestinal conditions

Bloating/Distention/Intestinal Gas

Posted In: Gastrointestinal conditions 388 Replies
  • Posted By: pelorick
  • January 30, 2007
  • 03:44 PM

I originally posted this under the "conditions" forum, so I have reposted to this forum. I apologize in advance if any of you have already read this. Thank you.

I am a 34 year old male in good health. In general, I eat pretty healthy and I go to the gym 4-5 times a week. However, I have been trying to figure out a stomach/GI issue that I have been dealing with for the past couple of years. When it started a couple of years ago, it only occurred every once in a while. Then it started happening a couple times a week. Well, in the past 4 or so months, it has been occurring every day and has become progressively worse. Basically, I am dealing with abdominal bloating/distention and intestinal gas. When this issue started a few years ago, it seemed like the intestinal gas was the more prominent issue. However, it is the daily distention that is affecting my quality of life. It is extremely uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful (the pressure); not to mention it can potentially be embarrassing. When it is bad, I don’t feel like doing much and the pressure buildup also leads to more frequent urination. I have tried many things that don’t seem to help. Basically, it starts off in the morning where I feel slightly bloated, but it isn’t that bad. I would say on a scale of 1-10, it starts off at about “2” on a daily basis. Then throughout the day, the gas pressure/bloating builds and peaks (anywhere from 7-10 on the scale). It seems like it peaks in the early afternoon during the week because I start my days early. On the weekends, it seems to peak in the late afternoon because I usually eat breakfast later than during the week. My doctor is perplexed because these are the only symptoms. Because my symptoms don’t include any elimination issues (i.e. diarrhea, constipation, etc.), he says that IBS and other similar diseases/issues are unlikely; I don’t fit the profile. I have tried the following supplements/items, but none have worked:

Gas X
Charco-Caps
Lactaid (for dairy)
Beeno (digestive enzyme)
Peppermint oil capsules (to help alleviate intestinal gas/bloating)
Papaya enzymes (to help alleviate intestinal gas/bloating)
Fennel seeds (chewing them is supposed to help intestinal gas/bloating)
Prilosec OTC (tried this for 2 weeks even though I don’t have heartburn)
Digestive Advantage – IBS (even though I don’t have IBS, this is supposed to help bloating by restoring the balance of good bacteria in my GI Tract. This will only work if the bacteria count is skewed)

My doctor tested me for Celiac disease and for the H. Pylori bacteria. Both of these blood tests were negative. Recently, I took the lactose intolerance hydrogen breath test and found out that I am not lactose intolerant. This explains why the Lactaid didn’t help me, but unfortunately, none of the other things mentioned above helped me either. Not even when taken in combination. Although I am not lactose intolerant, I just found information related to a milk ingredient called Casein. I have heard that this could cause GI issues, but from what I understand, is a lot less common. I also had an abdominal ultrasound. The results were normal. The only thing noted was that there was a small mass on my gall bladder which the doctor wasn’t at all concerned with. He said that it is most likely a cholesterol polyp which is nothing to worry about and would not cause the symptoms that I am experiencing. I also sent in my hem-occult slides to my doctor’s office.

I have been keeping a daily food journal to see if there are any specific food items that seem to cause these symptoms. However, I have been unable to find ANY correlation between items.
At this point, my doctor seems to think that I have some type of food intolerance (not allergy). However, I am a bit skeptical because I am waking up bloated. I thought that symptoms from an intolerance would disappear overnight. Before, I thought that I was starting at “0” in the mornings, but I just don’t think I realized that I was actually waking up slightly bloated. I tend to hold my stomach in because it helps with my lower back pain. The only other suggestions that my doctor has at this point is to try two different dietary changes. The first one would be to try a modified Atkins diet/reduced carb diet. If this doesn’t make a difference during the two-week trial, he recommends that I try a two-week gluten-free diet. I am willing to try anything to find a resolution to this issue, but a gluten-free diet would be extremely difficult for me to follow based on my normal daily diet. I was going to start the first dietary change in a couple of days, but I have decided to try this Digestive Advantage product first. I don’t want to change my diet yet because then I won’t know if this product is working.

Any information that may help relieve or resolve this frustrating problem would be very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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  • I'm very sympathetic to your predicament; I'm a 40 year old male in good physical shape who has been suffering from similar issues for over a month. I wake up with gas throughout my digestive tract and have it off and on most of the day. Like you, no elimination issues. I also have belching/chest pressure issues, some mostly mild, infrequent upper abdominal pain and sporadic, mild, seemingly gas-triggered pain in my mid-back. I hope I get some answers when I see my doctor this week. The first time I went, my doctor thought it was GERD because I was also feeling heartburn at the time. The PPI she prescribed actually seemed to work for about 10 days, but after that the symptoms came roaring back, minus only the heartburn. Now the PPI seems not to be helping much. Have you been checked out via endoscopy for a possible peptic ulcer or gastritis? There was a woman posting recently either here or on another site who said her endoscopy revealed an ulcer and that her only symptom was excessive belching. I hope things improve for you (and me) real soon.Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 30, 2007
    • 05:49 PM
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  • Hi Jim, I know, this has been a terrible past few months. I haven't had anything "invasive" done at this point; I am hoping to avoid that if possible. Especially, if my doctor doesn't seem to think that it would be beneficial. I did have the blood test done for celiac and for the H. Pylori bacteria. I believe that the latter is the one associated with ulcers. I actually sent my narrative to my old general doctor (who is a gastro... dr.). He suggested trying Ultrase (enzyme) or Xifaxan (medication). I will leave these as options, but I am really trying to figure out the cause of this issue so I can make the necessary changes (avoid offending foods, if that's what is causing it). I hope that you get some answers when you see the doc. Please check-in and let me know how it goes. Thank you again.
    pelorick 84 Replies
    • January 31, 2007
    • 03:26 PM
    • 0
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  • Hi Jim, I know, this has been a terrible past few months. I haven't had anything "invasive" done at this point; I am hoping to avoid that if possible. Especially, if my doctor doesn't seem to think that it would be beneficial. I did have the blood test done for celiac and for the H. Pylori bacteria. I believe that the latter is the one associated with ulcers. I actually sent my narrative to my old general doctor (who is a gastro... dr.). He suggested trying Ultrase (enzyme) or Xifaxan (medication). I will leave these as options, but I am really trying to figure out the cause of this issue so I can make the necessary changes (avoid offending foods, if that's what is causing it). I hope that you get some answers when you see the doc. Please check-in and let me know how it goes. Thank you again.Pelorick,Keep in mind that not all ulcers are caused by h pylori, and gastritis is not necessarily tied to it either. It's worth inquiring about with your doctor if nothing else seems to be working. My symptoms seem to have improved slightly yesterday and today--the gas/pressure/occasional pain is still there, but not as intense or constant as before. (Knock on wood.)I am also working on my diet. One thing I did was to cut out all coffee, tea, alcohol, greasy foods, tomato sauce and other foods that are on the potential stomach irritant list. That seems to have helped settle things down a bit for now. I'll update after the doctor visit. Best of luck.Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 31, 2007
    • 04:39 PM
    • 0
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  • My friend, you need a good detox system. go to the dr natura website and try that for 2-3 months. It should work wonders for you. I would also recommend a probiotic.. dr joe mercola's website offers the very best.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 11, 2007
    • 09:38 PM
    • 0
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  • hi im a 35 yr old mom of 3 children and reading your post i suffer from all the symptoms you are. i wake in the morning bloated,,the gas and pressure isnt too bad,by the afternoon im sometimes doubled over in pain. i get severe gas pains in my abdomin and lower back,lots of pressure and lots of swelling. ive been suffering from this about 2 yrs now. i have had every test u can inmagine and found nothing. my gastro dr thinks its IBS but im skepital also. i have also had the ulcer test and nothing. ive tried every medication over the counter gas x alkaselzer and nothing works. im currently on the medication zelnorm which is for IBS but doesnt seem to work. my stomach gets to where i look nine months pregnant. ive been doing some reading and i plan to try a detox program and hope that helps. colleen
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 02:40 PM
    • 0
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  • hi im a 35 yr old mom of 3 children and reading your post i suffer from all the symptoms you are. i wake in the morning bloated,,the gas and pressure isnt too bad,by the afternoon im sometimes doubled over in pain. i get severe gas pains in my abdomin and lower back,lots of pressure and lots of swelling. ive been suffering from this about 2 yrs now. i have had every test u can inmagine and found nothing. my gastro dr thinks its IBS but im skepital also. i have also had the ulcer test and nothing. ive tried every medication over the counter gas x alkaselzer and nothing works. im currently on the medication zelnorm which is for IBS but doesnt seem to work. my stomach gets to where i look nine months pregnant. ive been doing some reading and i plan to try a detox program and hope that helps. colleenColleen,Sorry to hear of your discomfort. Maybe try switching to small meals and eliminating *all* alcohol, caffeine, acidic and greasy foods from your diet. It seems to have worked for me, at least for now. I am eating the diet of a monk, but it's worth it to be the bloated, gassy wreck I once was. Best,Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 05:01 PM
    • 0
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  • Colleen,Sorry to hear of your discomfort. Maybe try switching to small meals and eliminating *all* alcohol, caffeine, acidic and greasy foods from your diet. It seems to have worked for me, at least for now. I am eating the diet of a monk, but it's worth it to be the bloated, gassy wreck I once was. Best,JimOoops, that should be "NOT to be..." in the last sentence. I'm not a glutton for punishment.Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 05:09 PM
    • 0
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  • At this point, my doctor seems to think that I have some type of food intolerance (not allergy). However, I am a bit skeptical because I am waking up bloated. I thought that symptoms from an intolerance would disappear overnight. Before, I thought that I was starting at “0” in the mornings, but I just don’t think I realized that I was actually waking up slightly bloated. I tend to hold my stomach in because it helps with my lower back pain. The only other suggestions that my doctor has at this point is to try two different dietary changes. No, a food intolerence is a pretty chronic condition if you have a problem with one of the common additive ingredients. One meal with just a few molecules of the offending food can cause 3-7 days worth of symptoms, so just two meals a week of the offending food could leave you in chronic digestive distress. The varying levels of pain could be related to stress and energy levels or the immediate stress of digestion in a compromised system. Because of the way the kidneys hold proteins and peptides, symptoms can linger for 26-28 weeks following total dietary elimination. Skin conditions related to a food intolerence (rare) can take up to 10 years to fully resolve. You're pretty lucky to have a doctor who suggests a gluten-free diet without typical blood test diagnosis. The anecdotal evidence suggests gluten-free helps a LOT more people than the tests identify (Recently published report suggests the blood tests detect ~1% of the population as gluten intolerent, but that a gluten-free diet can alleviate symptoms in ~10-30% of the overall population. The tests are basically looking for total intestinal failure and the associated antibodies in extreme amounts (like, carcinogenic amounts). There's a possibility that you could go back in a few years and get a positive Celiac diagnosis once your body has deteriorated more. Regardless of what your tests say now, the gluten-free diet may be beneficial to preventing full onset later in life. My only suggestion on dietary experimentation is that you put AT LEAST two weeks of SERIOUSLY STRICT enforcement into place. You may need 1-3 months to even feel a small difference. Don't short change your health because of convenience. The latter stages of food intolerence are not convenient at all (cancer, malnutrition, lupus, doubled mortality rate). An upset stomach is a very mild early warning sign. Non-gluten food intolerences are just as real and serious as well, but there is ZERO test for those at all and almost no documented clinical research. Soy, milk protein, salicyliate family (tomato group), corn, and others have been ID'd as potential culprits.
    Azaral 152 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 07:13 PM
    • 0
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  • No, a food intolerence is a pretty chronic condition if you have a problem with one of the common additive ingredients. One meal with just a few molecules of the offending food can cause 3-7 days worth of symptoms, so just two meals a week of the offending food could leave you in chronic digestive distress. The varying levels of pain could be related to stress and energy levels or the immediate stress of digestion in a compromised system. Because of the way the kidneys hold proteins and peptides, symptoms can linger for 26-28 weeks following total dietary elimination. Skin conditions related to a food intolerence (rare) can take up to 10 years to fully resolve. You're pretty lucky to have a doctor who suggests a gluten-free diet without typical blood test diagnosis. The anecdotal evidence suggests gluten-free helps a LOT more people than the tests identify (Recently published report suggests the blood tests detect ~1% of the population as gluten intolerent, but that a gluten-free diet can alleviate symptoms in ~10-30% of the overall population. The tests are basically looking for total intestinal failure and the associated antibodies in extreme amounts (like, carcinogenic amounts). There's a possibility that you could go back in a few years and get a positive Celiac diagnosis once your body has deteriorated more. Regardless of what your tests say now, the gluten-free diet may be beneficial to preventing full onset later in life. My only suggestion on dietary experimentation is that you put AT LEAST two weeks of SERIOUSLY STRICT enforcement into place. You may need 1-3 months to even feel a small difference. Don't short change your health because of convenience. The latter stages of food intolerence are not convenient at all (cancer, malnutrition, lupus, doubled mortality rate). An upset stomach is a very mild early warning sign. Non-gluten food intolerences are just as real and serious as well, but there is ZERO test for those at all and almost no documented clinical research. Soy, milk protein, salicyliate family (tomato group), corn, and others have been ID'd as potential culprits.I agree with you, but now, there is Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique- it can help.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 07:47 PM
    • 0
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  • Hello, I started this thread a couple weeks ago. I have tried so many things to relieve this issue, but nothing has worked so far. I also saw the news segment with Dr. Dean Edell, and it basically says that Xifaxan was really helpful in eliminating chronic bloating. My only symptoms are bloating, distention and intestinal gas. I have had this issue intermittently for a few years, but daily for the past 4 months. The things I have tried are as follows: Gas X (only effective before gas reaches the intestine)Charco-CapsLactaid (for dairy. This was before I tested negative for lactose intolerance).Beeno (digestive enzyme)Peppermint oil capsules (to help alleviate intestinal gas/bloating)Papaya enzymes (to help alleviate intestinal gas/bloating)Fennel seeds (chewing them is supposed to help intestinal gas/bloating)Prilosec OTC (tried this for 2 weeks even though I don’t have heartburn)Digestive Advantage – IBS (even though I don’t have IBS, this is supposed to help bloating by restoring the balance of good bacteria in my GI Tract. Only works if the bacteria count is skewed) Dairy-free Diet – 10 day trial. Didn’t consume any known dairy. Also, was diligent about avoiding hidden dairy. My GI said that this could help because it is a good gut sterilizer with relatively no major side effects. I am thinking about starting this in a couple of days. One concern I have is that I don't suffer from any constipation or diarrhea. However, I am hoping that taking this antibiotic won't change it to the point where this becomes a problem. I don't think that this would happen. I would think that if it doesn't help, it just won't work (it won't create new problems). I just left a message for my GI to verify this. I am really hoping that this resolves my issue. If it does, I will probably start taking a supplement to ensure that I always have a healthy balance of good bacteria in the intestines. If this doesn't work, the only other things I think I could try at this point would be a lower carb diet or a gluten-free diet. I also want to say thank you for everyone who responded to my original post from a couple of weeks ago. Good luck.
    pelorick 84 Replies
    • February 14, 2007
    • 11:50 PM
    • 0
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  • I just was searching on the web - saw this last entry - and wanted to respond. I have had similar symptoms, except more severe in that I was hospitalized 3 times 3+ years ago and all of my horrible GI problems are too lengthy to type. It started one day out of the blue and I had excessive gas almost every 5 or 10 minutes non stop for 24 hours a day. I was nauseated, and felt very flu-ish. I tried everything to get it to stop - it took over 2 years to get to a position to be functional without bloating, feeling like I was going to throw up, knife stabbing pain, embarrassing gas, etc. I have a cabinet full of more than 40 types of natural remedies, since 4 GI docs just shook their head and labeled it IBS. Oh yeh - I had test after test in the hospital, with nothing showing up. The financial debt I charged up in search of anything that would help is insurmountable.Today, I considered myself "healed" from whatever it was that hit me, and live with your current symptoms: severe bloating, gastroparesis (stomach not digesting food), gas and unlike you - severe constipation. At least I am not writhing in pain like I used to be! Well listen up- here is something for you to look into! Recently married, my husband encouraged me to seek more professional help. I reluctantly tried another GI (5th one) who actually took an interest in my first illness years ago and started detailing me about it. Bottom line is he discovered I had all of the symptoms of SIBO - I am currently being treated by Xifaxan. SIBO is bacteria usually found in the large intestine that has somehow ended up overgrowing in the small intestine. This bacteria releases methane gas as soon as food hits it - the gas is produces and reeks havic. Research has discovered this gas can cause paralysis of the colon (ie-constipation) or in other cases diarrhea (neither of which you have) but also causes your other symptoms. Any other antibiotic will not work on this bacteria - you may get better for a few weeks, but it will come back. (this happened to me). Of course I am in the middle of treatment right now - so I am not sure if it will work on me - but after all of these years finally having someone label my symptoms something other than IBS or allergies etc is just a huge relief.! And it all makes sense when you read about SIBO. Find yourself a GI who is familiar with this diagnosis, and even if it isn't this in your case, this type of DR will be more likely to look further into newest GI discoveries. You may also look at helmuths as a possibility too.In the mean time - I have found that keeping yourself cleared out helps with the bloating and gas. (Note: no, it will not eliminate it BUT at least you can go a few days at a time without these issues) Either find a colonic center and invest in completely eliminating old built up matter, or at least drink laxitive tea or something and take a lot of a good quality probiotics- these things have made my condition easier to manage.If you have SIBO - continue to ask questions like - how did it happen - we need to continue to ask questions, or these things may happen again.! Good luck! Amy
    latinsalsadancer 2 Replies
    • February 17, 2007
    • 09:21 PM
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  • Thank you for your thorough response. I know we have to be persistent in trying to find solutions to our issues! rp71
    pelorick 84 Replies
    • February 20, 2007
    • 04:08 PM
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  • You are welcome - I really hope it helps - let us all know - the more info we share, the more people it will help! I will let everyone know also in 2 months if my treatment for SIBO has cured me - so far today (my 5th day of treatment with Xifaxan) I feel GREAT! (a little sleepy but that is ok with me!):)Amy
    latinsalsadancer 2 Replies
    • February 20, 2007
    • 07:58 PM
    • 0
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  • Hello All,I just wanted to post my most recent attempt to get rid of this daily bloating/distention/intestinal gas. I tried a 6-day course of Xifaxan (200mg 3 times a day). Unfortunately, this didn't help me at all. Now I am really discouraged. However, I will probably start a 2 week gluten-free diet to see if this helps at all. rp71
    pelorick 84 Replies
    • February 22, 2007
    • 07:52 PM
    • 0
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  • Hello All,I just wanted to post my most recent attempt to get rid of this daily bloating/distention/intestinal gas. I tried a 6-day course of Xifaxan (200mg 3 times a day). Unfortunately, this didn't help me at all. Now I am really discouraged. However, I will probably start a 2 week gluten-free diet to see if this helps at all. rp71Sorry to hear you haven't had luck with the Xifaxan. Have you considered combining probiotics with a fiber supplement? I still have recurring bouts of intestinal gas and am taking a bifidus probiotic complex along with Citrucel for fiber every day. Although many fiber supplements can actually *cause* gas, Citrucel is one of the few that doesn't, because it does not ferment in the large intestine. My doctor thinks that even though I don't have any major elimination issues, the fiber supplement may help squelch the gas by "normalizing" my intestinal function. We'll see if the theory holds up in the long term, but for now I do feel as if my gas symptoms are improving. Here's hoping you find some relief soon. Best,Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 23, 2007
    • 01:22 AM
    • 0
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  • Hi Jim, Thanks for your response and info. I am thinking about starting a good probiotic, but not sure which ones to look for. It seems that some have different strands of the "good" bacteria. Do you know which (if any) is more recommended for something like this? I tried the Digestive Advantage (2 pills a day for two weeks), but it didn't seem to make a difference. At this point, it could only be a good thing to add something like a probiotic into my daily diet. I think Costco sells a type that would be affordable (and everything they sell there is usually of good quality). However, I don't think it is the one that you mentioned. Also, the fiber supplement could be helpful... Thanks again! rp71
    pelorick 84 Replies
    • February 23, 2007
    • 03:36 PM
    • 0
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  • Hi Jim, Thanks for your response and info. I am thinking about starting a good probiotic, but not sure which ones to look for. It seems that some have different strands of the "good" bacteria. Do you know which (if any) is more recommended for something like this? I tried the Digestive Advantage (2 pills a day for two weeks), but it didn't seem to make a difference. At this point, it could only be a good thing to add something like a probiotic into my daily diet. I think Costco sells a type that would be affordable (and everything they sell there is usually of good quality). However, I don't think it is the one that you mentioned. Also, the fiber supplement could be helpful... Thanks again! rp71No problem! It definitely can be a process of trial and error in finding a probiotic that helps you. I first tried acidophilus and didn't notice any improvement at all. A friend of mine with IBS told me to try something with bifidus instead. I am now taking 2 daily capsules of Power-dophilus by Country Life (with 4 different kinds of "good bacteria" in it including bifidus) and it has seemed to help with my gas/bloating symptoms. It is not cheap but not one of the most expensive ones either. I picked mine up in the refrigerator section of the local health food store. I basically randomly selected Power-dophilus after reading the label, but there are a number of other brands with bifidus that seem to be in the same price range ($15-$20). I'm not familiar with the Costco brand or Digestive Advantage, so I'm not sure what's in them. Hope this helps!Best, Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 23, 2007
    • 04:45 PM
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  • Hi Jim, This information definitely helps. I am going to look for the Country Life product this weekend. It may just take one of the suggestions from everyone who responds to resolve this issue. As always, all information & responses are very much appreciated. Thanks!
    pelorick 84 Replies
    • February 23, 2007
    • 11:26 PM
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  • Hi Jim, This information definitely helps. I am going to look for the Country Life product this weekend. It may just take one of the suggestions from everyone who responds to resolve this issue. As always, all information & responses are very much appreciated. Thanks!No problem...just to clarify, I take the probiotic along with the fiber supplement. I am not sure if taking the probiotic by itself would be enough. It seems that the probiotic works better along with fiber; maybe it is a combination of clearing out toxins or whatever from the intestines while adding the good bacteria that does the trick.One final suggestion: aloe vera juice. Not sure it will work for you or anyone else, but I'm just throwing the suggestion out there for what it's worth.Whenever I start to sense that my discomfort might be returning (about once every 2 days or so), I have been drinking 2 ounces. The feeling of unease diminishes within a few minutes thereafter. I use a distilled version (brand name is George's) that has no taste, since regular aloe tastes pretty nasty. Why it works, I have no idea; but I keep a bottle handy in the fridge now. Best,Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 24, 2007
    • 03:23 PM
    • 0
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  • No problem...just to clarify, I take the probiotic along with the fiber supplement. I am not sure if taking the probiotic by itself would be enough. It seems that the probiotic works better along with fiber; maybe it is a combination of clearing out toxins or whatever from the intestines while adding the good bacteria that does the trick.One final suggestion: aloe vera juice. Not sure it will work for you or anyone else, but I'm just throwing the suggestion out there for what it's worth.Whenever I start to sense that my discomfort might be returning (about once every 2 days or so), I have been drinking 2 ounces. The feeling of unease diminishes within a few minutes thereafter. I use a distilled version (brand name is George's) that has no taste, since regular aloe tastes pretty nasty. Why it works, I have no idea; but I keep a bottle handy in the fridge now. Best,JimJust to clarify...the aloe vera juice I am talking about is a food grade version sold in health food stores. It is meant to be eaten, unlike the non-food grade aloe that is sold for healing burns, etc., which should never be eaten.Jim
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 24, 2007
    • 03:34 PM
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