The Drs TV: Woman Suffers From Uncontrollable Diarrhea
Dr. Travis Stork shared that diarrhea can be an embarrassing and painful experience, but for a woman named Janina, it’s something she experiences every day. Janina is 31 years old and she has uncontrollable diarrhea that has restricted the way she’s been able to live her life.
At the age of 5, she already had problems urination and bowel movement because her bladder was not emptying correctly. She suffered from constipating, and also had to use a catheter, but her urination and bowels seemed to be under control. But then nine years ago, following a third surgery, she’s had uncontrollable diarrhea that just seems to be getting worse and worse. The diarrhea was even bad enough that she had to wear a diaper on her wedding day.
Vincent, Janina’s husband, shared that he’s had to clean an adult mess, and Janina feels bad every time it happens. He also shared that his wife has to watch from the window when he takes his kids across the street to the park, because she can’t be more than 10 feet away from the bathroom. Janina shared that she stays away from fruits, vegetables, and whenever she goes out, she wears layers of clothing just in case she has an accident.
She said her diarrhea is so bad that she’s constantly running to the bathroom. Vincent said he wants his wife back and their kids want their mom back, while Janina said she really wants her life back.
The Doctors: Causes Of Uncontrollable Diarrhea
Janina joined Dr. Stork and Dr. Jennifer Berman on the show, and Dr. Stork said he didn’t think people realize how severe Janina’s condition is. At one point, Janina left a trail of diarrhea in the reception area of the waiting room because she couldn’t get to a bathroom soon enough.
Janina went and saw board certified gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, whom Janina told she started suffering from diarrhea about nine years ago after undergoing an augmentation to her bladder. They removed 12 inches of her small intestine to make her bladder bigger. She needed the same surgery again as an adult and that caused them to take out even more of the small intestine, to the point where Janina probably doesn’t have much left of the end of the small intestine, called the ilium.
The Drs TV: Cholestyramine & Fiber For Diarrhea
Dr. Rodriguez said he thought what was happening was that Janina wasn’t absorbing the bile into the small intestine, because she didn’t have enough of a small intestine. He said bile is one of the strongest laxatives known to man. Janina shared that she’s been taking cholestyramine, twice a day, but Dr. Rodriguez wanted her to increase it to one scoop in the morning and two scoops before going to bed. He also wanted her to get on a low-fat diet, but told her that she was going to get better.
Dr. Rodriguez explained that if you look at the function of the small intestine, it’s supposed to reabsorb stuff like bile and fat, but Janina doesn’t have the capability to do that, so when the bile got to the colon, it was acting like a laxative. The cholestyramine actually binds the bile that we have and makes it inert, so that when it gets to the colon, it doesn’t irritate it or turn it into a laxative.
Dr. Rodriguez also explained that fiber “is nature’s sponge” and if you have too much fluid and eat a lot of fiber, the fluid goes into the fiber and you have formed stools. His advice was to actually increase the amount of vegetables Janina was eating.
Janina said since making the changes, she’s been 80% better, and knows she’s getting better and better. She said she’ll probably still have her bag with her, but she’s starting to gain more control and feel more confident. Dr. Stork reiterated that if you’re suffering from an embarrassing condition, you should bring it to light and discuss it with a specialist until you get the answers you need.