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Suffered from jaundice and have poor digestion. Medication, diet and test required?

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Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 437 Questions
Hi there,

I suffered from Jaundice in 2002 and since then I have problems with my digestion. Just after jaundice, I joined college where used to live in hostel where the lifestyle and food quality was not up to the XXXXXXX I used to smoke a lot during those 4 years of graduation. I am in job for last 6 years, and I smoke a lot less for past 2 years or so, but I still have poor digestion.

I work in night shifts. For the past 1.5 years, I have been taking fiber from supplements like Naturolax and Softovac (Phylum husk based preparation) on and off, and I have been taking them almost regularly for past few months. But even this does not fixed the problem to satisfactory levels.

I noticed that when I take fiber my stools are a little loose and it does not stick to the floor, which is good, but when I stop taking fiber, the stools are sticky, harder, and they wont wash away easily from the floor. I use Indian toilets. Have I developed a dependency to fiber supplements?

I dont experience complete and satisfactory evacuation. If lucky, may be few days a month, else, its a lot of discomfort. I feel like something is in there inside the stomach, which is not coming out, and as the day progresses, I start getting gas with bad smell and heaviness in the stomach.

I conducted an LFT test a few months ago which came out as normal. I exercise 3 times a week and take 100% Whey protein shake from ON. Do I need to stop taking protein shakes. Anyway, please advise me of any medications, lifestyle or dietary changes, and tests that might be useful for further analysis.

If you have any questions, feel free to seek clarification.
Posted Wed, 27 Feb 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh 9 hours later

It looks like you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome - constipation variant.

Taking fibre supplements is safe and can be taken for years without any dependency.

If you feel that despite of fibre supplements, symptoms are not controlled or worsening, it is worthwhile getting yourself evaluated once. Basic test like complete hemogram, stool examination and thyroid function test (TSH) may be reasonable. But if you have alarm symptoms like loss of weight, poor appetite along with worsening symptoms, blood in stools or significant abdominal pain getting a gastroenterology opinion and a colonoscopy would be necessary.

You can try stopping the protein supplements for few days and see.

In addition, you need to stop smoking and continue with your exercise.
Take a proper sleep and de stress yourself (will help a lot)
Increase dietary fiber intake by increasing fruit, and salads in your diet.
Do drink adequate water depending on the weather condition there.

Most of your illness is related to lifestyle; so a positive lifestyle will definitely help.

Hope this answers your query. Do let me know if you have any further queries.

Wish you a speedy recovery...

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffered from jaundice and have poor digestion. Medication, diet and test required? 13 hours later
Hi Dr. Deshmukh,

Thanks for your response. I have more comments, information and questions for you, listed below, and I would like to get your answers and comments to each of them in the order they are put in. Here are they:

1. If taking fiber does not create dependency, then why do I experience hard stools when I stop taking them? Just curious.

2. You said you suspect I am suffering from IBS-constipation variant. Do you think there is any proven medical solution for this or any other IBS variant? Please explain.

3. Working in night shifts is my livelihood because I work with International clients. I cannot change that. But I have noticed that when I am on leave for 5-6 days, and stop working in night shifts, my digestion gets a little better. How do I manage with night shifts..there has to be some solution?

4. I don't get blood in stools, don't experience abdominal pains as such, and I think I have reasonable appetite. I gain weight when I exercise regularly and take protein supplements, and for last 2 years, my weight has been in the range of 80-90 kgs. My height is 6'4. So I think I am an healthy individual.

Do you still think I need to get deeper and get things like a endoscopy and colonoscopy done or examining the stool will be a good enough to begin with?

5. No matter if I have a clear bowel movement or not, I ensure I have my lunch and dinner and eat other things in between. Is that right? If I start skipping my dinner for I am not clear inside, I will loose weight, because generally 20-25 days a month, I am not clear. Please advise.

6. Can you list down things to eat and not to eat. What are absolute no no's and what things can be beneficial in improving the situation apart from Fiber? I love dairy products like Milk, Curd and Paneer, is it Ok to have them?

Please respond to each of the above questions in the order they are asked. This will help me in deciding the course of action.

Answered by Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh 11 hours later

Thanks for the query. The answers are as follows:

1) Fibre does not cause dependency. It's like using spectacle; you just need them and that is why symptoms recur when you stop the medications

2) There is no cure as of now; you can control the symptoms with the advice as above

3) Well, it is a difficult question, I guess no one will have an answer to it - it’s physiological to sleep at night and when you disturb it, it creates stress. You need to cope up with it by destressing yourself and ensuring good 6 -7 hrs sleep during day time while on night shift.

4) That's good - so you do not have any alarm symptoms. We can wait for colonoscopy then; just get your stool examination done (occult blood for 3 days)

5) There is no need to skip meals - that will not help. Be regular in your meal times as far as possible, drink lot of water and take high fibre diet.

6) You do not have any specific food restriction. You can have dairy products - no problem with that.

Hope this answers your queries. Let me know if you have other enquiries.

Wish you a speedy recovery...
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffered from jaundice and have poor digestion. Medication, diet and test required? 12 hours later
Thanks for your answers. Much appreciated. I respect your advise but I want to be completely sure about my stool. I have heard that disease-causing bacteria and parasites are also tested in the stool. So please list down different types of Stool tests that I can get done to capture any underlying issues? Also, tell me if there are any specific to do's for eating before giving stool samples. Hope you understand the question.
Answered by Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh 11 hours later

Thank you for the query.

Get your stool routine one sample and stool occult blood for two samples, send only one test each day. Therefore, you will need to submit three samples in total.

No specific eating restrictions before except for stop iron supplements and beet root 4 days prior, if any.

Hope this answers your query.

Best wishes
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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