Dear Dr. Roach: I have dealt with irritable bowel syndrome for over 40 years. I have had less cramping and loose stools when I quit drinking milk. However, now over the past few years I have had mild constipation and very frequent bloating. I take dicyclomine, 10 mg, before meals and bedtime, that helps a little with spasms. When bloating is more constant, I take Phazyme, Tums and Pepto-Bismol, along with 150-mg ranitidine, which helps a little. I am concerned that I am taking too many types of pills to control it. I have been getting acid reflux lately and feel pressure in the stomach and up under the breast bone with a lot of burping.
My question is if it is OK to take all of these pills within a couple of hours, or is there a better alternative? I wore a heart monitor for a month because of irregular heartbeats and heavy heart beat. Incidences were recorded, but it wasnt severe enough to be concern with right now. I feel the problem was caused by the pressure of bloating. J.F.
Answer: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common (10 to 15 percent of adults) disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, manifested by abdominal pain or discomfort and bloating, along with changes in bowel movements, such as diarrhea or constipation. Abdominal discomfort is typically relieved by a bowel movement in IBS.