SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

January 21, 2013

Dr Roach on IBS


Changes in diet might ease IBS

Q: I have been given a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. But the only time I am affected with multiple bowel movements, cramps and loose stools is after breakfast and lunch.  Do you have any ideas of why this could happen at these two meals only?

I didn’t have any problems until after the removal of my gallbladder.                                                                                 KEITH ROACH

A: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition that encompasses one or more of the following characteristics: abdominal discomfort, usually cramping or fullness, often relieved by bowel movements; stool changes, constipation, loose bowel movements or alternating between. It affects more women than men.

IBS can be debilitating, and a large number of people with this condition limit their social activities because of symptoms or fear of symptoms. There is no cure for IBS, but  most people can find relief with treatment.   Treatment includes dietary changes, medications and stress management. IBS doesn’t cause permanent damage to the intestines and doesn’t increase cancer risk.

Dietary changes are tricky. Fiber helps many people with constipation symptoms but it might worsen conditions for people who have fullness and bloating. Keeping a food diary and a symptom diary can be helpful in tracking down whether foods are a big trigger.

In your case, I would concern yourself with the foods you’ve eaten during breakfast and lunch, especially caffeine. Because stress can significantly affect symptoms, however, I wonder whether work stress might be an issue.

Also, I have had a few patients who developed IBS symptoms after gallbladder removal, and the use of the prescription medication cholestyramine, which binds bile acids (formerly kept in the now-removed gallbladder),  has occasionally,  been life-changing.

Having a talk with an expert in this, usually a gastroenterologist, can be helpful.

Q: During the past two years, I have experienced some hair loss during winter and wondered what it portends. I find, however, that growth resumes during the rest of the year. I have read that this might be due to the flu vaccine. Can you expound on this matter?

A: There have been a few cases of documented hair loss after vaccination, usually the hepatitis B vaccine. But there have been even more cases associated with influenza and hair loss.

In my opinion, the likelihood that this is due to vaccines is very small, and the overall benefit of influenza vaccine is greater than the risks.
Other causes of winter hair loss include dryness, hat wearing and hormonal changes.

Dr. Roach answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or

(Jan’s comment:   I had wondered why Dr Roach had joined with Dr Donohue – it is evident now.  We didn’t say goodbye, I enjoyed him.     

Q #1:) There can be no quarrel with this doctor’s answer  and I would agree about the food diary and log of symptoms.  Anything we can do to become more in tune with our body’s language is helpful – as I have said, our body does talk to us.   

For my part, I would like to touch on the “what seems to be happening thing” and what can we do about it. And for background reference, Dr Loren Cordain of Paleo Diet and Jordan Rubin of the “Garden of Life” line of products.  The Paleo rundown filtered thru my memory tells us that we are dealing with the presence of increased intestinal permeability (not a good thing), brought on by the gut barrier allowing increased passage of bacteria and/or food particles (antigens) into circulation, which in turn sets up an immune response of the cells lining of the intestinal track as the problems manifest.   Therefore;  a treatment target would be “decreasing intestinal permeability, which in turn would lower or eliminate the distress.  

Dr Cordain suggests it would be wise to avoid certain nutrients til symptoms subsist; mainly grains, legumes – including potatoes, soya and peanuts  and egg whites most of which are impetus to harm the intestinal lining  which is the permeability factor often known to be the causation.  For fuller discussion see March 31, 2010 ‘Crohn’s disease and Paleo diet’. 

I would personally like to see people suffering with such symptoms  try to incorporate fermented foods into the diet as well as looking into the taking of probiotics   

Jordan Rubin is a well known individual with an excellent product line which came about after having suffered to almost the point of death with many afflictions and his IBS was a major traumatic problem. After seeing countless doctors and clinics around the world for years, it turned out to be a practitioner in California who believed in an ancestral diet very much like the Paleo diet.   It was his turning point, but the major thrust was when he started to ingest HSO’s which are Homeostatic soil organisms.  This was found in soil naturally back throughout time.  He claims it restored his energy levels, muscle, appetite and health, which is why in the following years after he started The Garden of Life nutrient line, he was so proud to offer Primal Defense. 

It is a very sad thing to hear of people having their gallbladder removed for I believe it to be an unnecessary loss.  Additionally, the problems do not go away, they persist.  So where is the gain?  When one knows about cleansing and the enormous benefits thereof,  it makes one wonder about the state of the “science of medicine”.  I have benefited from the books of Dr Hulda Clark in which she shares her theories and methods and even the specs for building her equipment so that people can take charge of their own health.She recommends doing the liver cleanse twice yearly.  Hundreds of stones  are excreted.(as many as 1K) ah well. 

As for Q#2, I’m sorry, I have nothing whatever to say on the subject – averse as I am regarding flu shots.



  1. Dr. Donohue has retired, and I have taken over the column. I am very glad you have no quarrel with my answer! It can be a controversial topic.

    Comment by Dr. Keith Roach — February 5, 2013 @ 8:04 am | Reply

    • Thank you Dr Roach, I am honored that you took the time to notice and comment. Thank you and welcome. Jan

      Comment by Jan Turner — February 5, 2013 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

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