Did Kurt Cobain suffer with irritable bowel syndrome before his death?
1st May 2014
Last month saw the 20th anniversary of Nirvana singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain’s death from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. However, fans who participated in tributes at his home city of Seattle, US, claim the grunge icon may still be alive today if doctors had properly diagnosed and treated the stomach problems that had blighted him in the years leading up to his untimely death, and a source of clear distress for Cobain – evident in his published journals. One theory being suggested is that the blonde rocker was suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – an umbrella term that spans several gastrointestinal disorders, but many of which involve similar symptoms such as stomach cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. Other IBS symptoms people may experience include: loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, backache, headache, belching, quickly feeling full after you have eaten food, heartburn, and bladder problems due to an associated irritable bladder. Although IBS unfortunately does not have an absolute cure, there are a number of over-the-counter and prescription-only treatment options that can ease symptoms for some sufferers and these include: Mebeverine, Buscopan IBS Relief and Colpermin. Overall, IBS diagnoses and treatments are much more advanced in the present day compared to back in 1994 when Cobain died. His suicide was estimated to have occurred on 5 April 1994 after an electrician had found him slumped in the greenhouse at his cabin by Lake Washington on 8 April. Toxicological tests concluded he had a massive amount of heroin in his system when he died, and many people are speculating if Cobain had been given a proper diagnosis and received effective treatment for his debilitating stomach ailment, he may not have been driven to that tragic end at the age of just 27. By choosing to end his life at that age, Cobain joined the “27 Club”; members of the music industry who had passed away at the tender age. In addition to Cobain, this group now includes: Jimi Hendrix, Janis ­Joplin, ­Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Jim ­Morrison of the Doors and Amy Winehouse. A TV interview recorded only months before Cobain’s death is now attracting renewed interest. In the interview Cobain angrily hits out at the doctors he says have failed him “during six years of being in constant pain”. Cobain adds: “They never figured out what it was. Most gastro-intestinal doctors don’t know anything about stomach diseases. They just have PhDs, get paid a lot of money for ­pretending and prescribing drugs. It’s a total scam.” Los ­Angeles-based Dr Morris Mesler, who has treated countless famous faces, is one of the many who believes Cobain was suffering with IBS and even pointed to study that connected IBS-associated pain with an increased risk of suicide. Dr Mesler said: “While IBS is a grab-bag term that covers a multitude of symptoms and conditions, there is a great deal we can do today that we couldn’t do then. "Tests could have established if he had a genetic condition such as coeliac ­disease. Or it could have been something much more simple like lactose or gluten intolerance that we just weren’t really aware of 20 years ago. “Endoscopies are also much more advanced, so we can actually see what’s going on in the stomach much more clearly now. I believe we could have established pretty quickly if he was ­suffering from something physical, organic or even psychiatric. “It might merely have been a ­question of slightly altering his diet.”