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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18448
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hello, I have been having loose stools for about a year or

Customer Question

Hello, I have been having loose stools for about a year or so now, and lately it has been getting worse to the point that I can barely hold it in to get to a restroom in time, I am assuming I have IBS but I am not sure. I was wondering if Imodium is safe for me to take? I just ordered some and just need some reassurance. I just want my life back, thanks!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I will be glad to assist you today.

Yes, it is OK to use Imodium for short-term control of diarrhea, including if the underlying cause is from IBS. There is some concern if the Imodium is used regularly for a longer period of time, but it is OK to use it for short-term or intermittent relief of symptoms.

However, it is appropriate to do more than just take the Imodium. First, it would be appropriate to perform a proper evaluation to determine the exact cause. While IBS is a common cause of chronic or recurrent diarrhea, it is still better to be certain that there is no other problem present. While using the Imodium for the present, it would also be appropriate to pursue the proper evaluation.

If it is confirmed to be IBS, then it also would be appropriate to increase the amount of fiber in the diet. This may seem counter-intuitive, since fiber is commonly used for management of constipation from a variety of causes, but fiber has been shown to be helpful for people with IBS that has either constipation or diarrhea.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for such a fast reply. I was reading earlier that a few people have become ''addicted'' to it and after using it for a few years, they suffered withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, muscle ache and nausea etc. Should I be worried about this?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
There are concerns with using it long-term, which I referenced above, which is why it would be appropriate to pursue a proper evaluation and to use other interventions to control the symptoms. The symptoms that you describe can occur, but it is more common for long-term use to make the diarrhea worse, and even worse than it was before the Imodium was started. However, there is no reason for being worried about this for short-term use for control of symptoms while pursuing further evaluation.

Dr. D. Love and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One last question if that's OK. How long would you consider short-term?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
It is OK to use it for up to 2-3 months. Most people that have problems with long-term use have used it regularly for at least 6 months to a year, but it is reasonable to maintain a buffer period.

It is OK to use the Imodium intermittently for long periods of time. The concern is when it is being used regularly for a long period of time. For example, if increasing the fiber leads to improvement in symptoms, but still have occasional diarrhea, it is OK to continue to use the Imodium for the occasional diarrhea, even if this pattern persists for years.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, you've been such a big help, thank you so much, Doctor! Take care and have a wonderful day :D

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome, I hope that you feel better soon.