A case study on irritable bowel syndrome
This case study is an excerpt from Pierre Fontaine’s book “Homeopathy, Sweet Homeopathy: Coming Home to Perfect Health”. Find out more information including how to purchase a copy.
MC: H PYLORI
• GI tract
• History of gallstones
• Chronic yeast infection
• Spider veins
• Severe PMS
Pierre: Please tell me what is going on?
“I have PMS with bloating. I get very moody and irritable and I feel like I am on the warpath.”
OK, what else is going on?
“I have allergies in the spring from March to April. I get an itchy nose and I sneeze a lot.”
“I have pretty severe spiders veins that are painful if I sit down for a long time. When I sit, the pain starts behind the knee and it gets much worse during the summer.”
“I have very painful intercourse and I also have chronic yeast infection.”
“I have hemorrhoids.”
I think when we spoke on the phone you mentioned IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?
“Yes. I can’t eat. I have heartburn and most of the time I have gas no matter what I eat or drink. These problems have progressively gotten worse over the last ten years. I never really drank orange juice when I first came to this country, but now I really can’t drink it as I get major burning in my throat if I do.”
Describe the symptoms to me a little more, please.
“Even when I drink water I belch. I call it an empty belch. For me it is so strange that without eating I belch. I always blame my diet of sweets. The whole thing is definitely worse when I eat chocolate or anything creamy. Everything is worse when I eat meat but I also can’t eat fruits or vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage.”
“ I get diarrhea as soon as I drink coffee and the same is true if I eat any citrus. I felt better after I cut milk. If I drink milk, I feel like there is a net in my throat and food gets caught there. I feel like the throat needs to expand to let the food pass. I try to swallow but my stomach is pushing everything back up. I choose very tiny pieces to swallow and I never eat a big piece of meat.”
I am sure there is a lot more you can tell me. Please continue.
“I get severe heartburn and reflux. I have burning in the throat. It all comes up in my throat. I started paying attention to it 20 years ago. I eat something and that’s it, it starts. As soon as I eat something, I feel bloated and the colon feels like it is pushing. I get the urge to go to bathroom. The gas is really horrible. My system is in rebellion with what I eat. I get very loud rumbling noises in the abdomen and I feel like there is pushing in the rectum. It is as if there is something broken and the system cannot handle it. It is like everything is falling apart and then there is one big pain. I feel so sick I cannot function. I feel depressed, nervous and anxious. I can’t handle it, and I can’t control the craving; it is stronger than I am. I just have to accept it. I feel so miserable and helpless that there is something stronger. I have accepted it. I am very suspicious and careful. Just because everything is fine this minute does not mean something is not going to happen the next.”
I get the sense that you want to tell me something, please tell me what is on your mind.
“I love chocolate. I need to have it. I love the smell of it and the taste of it. It satisfies my hunger for sweets. I can’t help it. I have to have it. As soon as I eat something sweet everything is all right. It hits the spot (pointing below her ribs) and I can go about my life. I feel satisfied, happy, yet at the same time I feel guilty because I may be creating the problem. It can destroy your health, you know. I can’t have one piece of chocolate. I have to have the whole thing. I can’t have one cookie only, I have to have a whole bunch. I definitely have something missing.”
Tell me more about that please.
“It is something that is coming from the inside. The stomach has a sucking sensation. Something needs to be fed and I get so hungry that I have to feed it. On the other hand, fish smell and taste makes me nauseous. Even the ocean smell is not acceptable to me. Even passing by a seafood store triggers the nausea. The smell is atrocious for me. I don’t know what to tell you anymore.”
Talk to me about the warpath?
“It started as a teenager. I am Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Seven days before my periods I get really upset and I want to quarrel with people. I can’t control that. It is stronger than I am. I get severe cravings for sweets. I get mad and upset at everybody. Just look at me the wrong way and I am ready to fight. It is like striking a match, but I cannot control it. It happens so suddenly it always amazes me. Everything is stronger. It’s like politics; I cannot control it so I’d rather not listen to anything.”
Please describe the feeling of having something stronger than you.
“It makes me feel helpless, upset and angry. I cannot take over and change it.”
Tell me about your dreams. Any dream that had a particular impression on you or any recurrent dream in your lifetime.
“I am in an area with a lot of trees. I don’t like desert at all. This place is calm and beautiful. The trees are tall with a lot of branches and very green. That’s why I like a real Christmas trees. I would hug the trees. I have this strange sensation as if I belong with the trees. I should be there. I feel safe with them. I need them for my survival. I am feeling calm, carefree and happy with them. Without them I feel weak rather than strong. It is like the IBS. It makes me feel as if I can break at any time like a tree branch. I could just break in two. I could just snap.”
Pierre: How have you been feeling?
“I used to have nausea all the time. Now it is not nearly as bad as it used to be. It was especially bad in the morning but I must say that it is a lot better. I have also noticed that my PMS has been better as well. This time I didn’t even get cramps. I had a yeast infection after taking the remedy but it went away on its own.”
Did anything else get better?
“The throat feels normal now. Not tight or constricted and when I swallow I don’t feel like I am going to choke. Three days ago I had the feeling that it was getting narrow again.
Last week at a party I ate everything but not as much as I normally would and I had some symptoms but they went away quickly. Before, I would have felt really terrible and the symptoms would have been really bad.”
How is the craving for chocolate?
“The craving of chocolate is strong if I see it, whereas before I had to have it. I would not even think about it, I had to have it. The feeling of something missing is not as bad. The craving I had there (pointing under the ribs) is not as strong anymore. The feeling that something needs to be fed is much better. It is really not as strong.”
Tell me more about the IBS, please.
“I still get some rumbling, but I am much better. I have some bloating and some urge to go to the bathroom but overall that is also much better. The gas has improved as well. I don’t feel as bad, I don’t feel as if I am going to break or as if something is broken. My whole system is working. I feel like it is under control. It is not stronger than I am. I was depressed before. I wouldn’t acknowledge it, but now I don’t see things in such dark colors. I don’t get as scared about food any more. If I don’t have such a good day I look at it now that tomorrow will be better.”
“I am especially happy that I don’t have to go to the bathroom after eating. I also got ill only once this winter whereas it used to be several times. The PMS is so much better now. I have been better. No nausea. G.I: Empty belch is far better. The feeling that something needs to be fed is much better. The feeling that something is broken is almost gone.”
This case is presented because it is elucidated through her dreams. In homeopathy, we are not really interested in the dream itself as that can be open to interpretation.
Open any book on dreams and you will quickly notice wide differences in what an elephant in a dream might mean. As a homeopath, I am interested in the feelings in the dream. At the root, the dreams always match the emotional and mental level and show what is going on deeply in the constitutional disorder. George’s case of ADHD (see case) is a great example of that. In this case, the dream combined with other symptoms made the remedy very clear to me.
Within the first sentence she talks about being on the “warpath” the tone is set!
It is common for people to speak for 15 minutes nonstop. I generally have a hard time keeping up with the writing as things are being rattled off in quick-fire style. It is also common for people to stop after one or two sentences and wait for me to ask a question; it is so in this case.
When people struggle with the questions, I often hear, “I can’t tell you anymore than that,” Or, “That’s it, I can’t say more.” The initial consultation can be difficult for these people as they feel they have little to say. Truth be told, there is always more to say, really.
Here so far we are only building a list of complaints. When this happens I often stop asking questions and I explain why I am asking them. Most of the time it breaks the ice and then it all unfolds very nicely.
Not being able to eat most foods is very common for people suffering of IBS.
Many alternative practitioners commonly recommend a restricted diet because they blame candida in the G.I. tract and attempt at getting rid of it with diet and detoxification of the colon. I have seen this help sometimes as long as the person stays on the diet, but then after a while the symptoms come back at which point further restrictions are needed. This is a classic case of a dog chasing its own tail; it doesn’t lead anywhere in the long run. Foods can provide some relief if the condition is minor. I talk a little more about diet in Celeste’s case of IBS (see case). While we should be mindful of the food we eat, blaming it for our problems is really misleading.
Others think antibiotics wreak havoc with the intestinal flora. At last count, there are over 350 different types of bacteria in the intestines. I have even heard that between 50 to 75% of our body weight may be bacteria. If this is true (and there is no reason to believe that it is not), can we even begin to know what antibiotics have done to our overall body ecology and what they have caused in the long run? Thank heavens this doesn’t have anything to do with homeopathy.
“It is stronger than I am and I accept it” is the coping mechanism. Understanding the speed of the case is a crucial part of the initial consultation. For example, in Clara’s case of lupus there is total destruction, and in Tom’s case of migraines it is an attack and then there is relief (see case). The cases in this book give all of the different possibilities so far identified.
Outside of homeopathy one would say, “You need to overcome this desire of having to have chocolate.” This is such a harsh thing to say – and you chocolate lovers know what mean! She is aware of that but she can’t. She says it when she states, “It is stronger than I am.” In any case, I doubt it would make a difference.
Freedom is what homeopathy is all about on the physical, emotional and mental level. In this case, the result for her should be to be able to have chocolate without having such a need for it. She should no longer suffer from IBS and H. pylori. Yes, it is possible!
I was so steeped in her delightful chocolate craving, imagining smooth, silky buttery taste in my mouth that the contrast she made with the fish was nauseating to me, too.
Now that she has told me her guilt or her sin about the chocolate, she feels she has nothing left to say and I should be able to figure this out but I need to have more information so I go back to something I don’t understand in the context of the totality of symptoms. I ask her about “the warpath.”
She wants to quarrel before her period. She doesn’t want to but “it is stronger.” This is the same feeling as when she was speaking of chocolate. It is also how she spoke of her IBS pains and politics. Now we are seeing that problem from four different issues. All around, it is the same perception. We are getting closer to the root of it all. The whole disorder can be nailed.
I am trying different ways to get to the root level and I am still missing relevant information to make a good choice of remedy. She is still reluctant to give me information. I change the approach with the hope of getting the information in a different way. I decide to go the dreams route. Often, they give me the opening I need to get deeper. To the homeopath the dreams are an integral part of understanding the case. It is not something outside the person that needs to be interpreted. The dreams are used as an extension of life. They are connected to the waking state just like the physical level is connected to the emotional and mental level. There is no break in the continuum. It can’t be any other way.
As she says, “I could break in two,” she makes a gesture as if she were breaking a stick. Now that she has put life into the case, she is using all of her senses to express the disorder.
Now she can go to a party and eat everything but in lesser quantity. This is good but it is not the time to indulge in food. It is understandable that she would eat more from time to time after several years of guilt about eating food. This reminds me of a woman who was really seriously debilitated by migraines and since she was feeling much better she figured she would catch up on socializing with friends and family. I am thrilled she is so much better but I advised to slow down a bit. She said to me that she didn’t know how long the relief would last and that she wanted to take advantage of it. She continues to be well, took a step back and a great life is unfolding.
Now that health is being restored, everything is getting easier and look at that chocolate craving. She needs much less of it. It is no longer a craving like it was before. The reason for that is that her inner state is far healthier.