Living with Anxiety
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Can anyone help with Anxiety and IBS

Hi I a newbie to this. I have a problem with bowel incontinence possibly related to IBS and anxiety. I had a Colonoscopy which found nothing abnormal. I am diagnosed with G.A.D. I go to the loo about 4/5 times in the mornings this is quite urgent. BM ok but its the frequency and urgency that bothers me, I also can't go far in a car or travel far as I need to be near a toilet. Should I be away from a toilet for more than 10/15 min I panic. This is affecting my quality of life. I am having Graded Exsposure Therepy to help with travel in a car, and am doing well. Went in car for 25/30 mins yesterday. I am on mebeverine. Has anyone else had similar symptoms with IBS Anxiety. Does anyone have any coping skills or advice?

4 Replies

My wife has IBS and her 'trigger' for want of a better word was bookshops! No idea why but she only had to walk into one and she needed the loo badly.

Luckily it's gradually faded with time but she still has bad IBS.



I suffered with IBS for several years mostly in the Mornings and would avoid going any where , I would make all appointments if I could for an Afternoon and if I did have to go out in a Morning I would get up extra early as I had worked out this went on for about 3 hours once I was up and then seemed to settle the rest of the day

I was also taking a medication called Lanzoporal , this was as I make to much acid in my stomach causing dreadful indigestion , they worked well for that but after several years been on it one day I thought they were not helping as much so I decided to stop taking it , when I did the IBS improved by 80% and one of the side effects of these meds were to give you loose bowels so I have always wondered if they were contributing to the problem even though I have had to start taking them again just recently so I am observing what may or may not happen

Do you feel any medications you take could be making this worse ?

Worth observing and if you feel anything is consulting your Doctor about it

The problem also is the fear makes the IBS worse as one theory is Anxiety can cause it in the first place so it can be like a viscous circle

But looks like you are starting to work on that now and making those small journeys which is really good :-)

The other thing I would do was if I knew I had to go somewhere and be out a long time and maybe there would be no toilets I would take Imodium

That did do the trick but you have to be very careful , firstly that you do not use them to much or your body can get reliant upon them and need more and more and secondly that your Doctor is ok with you doing this on an odd occasion but it would do the trick when that occasion came up now & again

Have you looked on all the Communities on HU ?

I am sure there is one for IBS I will have a look after I have finished this reply and will put you the link on if I find it

Not sure if this will help at all but you know people have read your post and we do care :-) x

Here we go , I found it straight away

Try having a look at this Community as well on Health Unlocked you may get some more advise that will help :-)


Hello I'm new to this too! Travel and the mornings are my biggest triggers also! Im not so bad in cars, as long as I'm driving and i can avoid heavy slow moving traffic. It must be the sense of control. Cant do buses, and planes are starting to become a bit of a problem now too!

If I'm traveling anywhere in the morning i have to make sure i get plenty of sleep. Tiredness just adds to my anxiety which in turn effects my ibs. It really is in my case all in my head. I could be sitting in the house all day and not need to go then mention going somewhere and off to the loo i go lol.

1 bit of advice that my doctor gave me though was exercise. Before going away anywhere if i put in a good 30mins or more tough/more than moderate exercise, this totally calmed me and meant i could travel and function normally. Its the whole fight or flight scenario. The exercise got rid of all the unwanted adrenaline in my body.



I'm new to this too...the website not the IBS and anxiety. I've had IBS since I was 6, I'm 22 now, and I have to say I've come to learn tha anxiety can totally effect my IBS but also that my IBS is a real problem on it own. Unlike the other post in reply to you, I ve found that urgency going to the toilet in the morning anything from 3-7 times is normal for me wether I've got something stressful on or not. And that sounds similar to yours.

So I'd recommend seeing a gastroenterologist and getting checked out. My gastro had me have barium meals, MRI scans, colonoscopy and ultrasounds to check nothing's causing my symptoms. After that they looked at medication to help me and the total life saver for me was Cholestyramine also know as Questran, it's a powder you mix with water and drink first thing in the morning and it absorbs the stuff in your stomach that causes the morning bout of loose stool and urgency. It basically solidifies things a bit. It drastically improved my IBS and enabled me to get my A Levels. But I do still have to go to the loo 2-5 times every morning, but I get more warning and it's not diarrhoea but more solid and sometimes I just get the urge to go but don't actualy need too (I don't know if this is just because I'm used to having to go so often in the past)

My best friend has recently started having the same symptoms as me and Cholestyramine has also helped her morning diarrhoea too.

Another med is Imodium which I use if I have something on in the morning that won't be near a toilet. It totally slows things down and I have to admit when I'm stressed I'll take loads of the stuff so I know for sure I won't need the loo. But it's not ideal because then you get the constipation and pain as your bowels settle back to normal routine.

In the last year my psychiatrist proscribed Pregaballin which helps in three ways, it deadens the nerve that cause pain in your bowels and stomach, it has a side effect of constipation so it's ideal for IBS-D, and it's has an anti anxiety effect.

After years of suffering these are the things I've found help most, I hope finding out about them sooner rather than later will help you get back on track. Also be warned gastro and GPs don't suggest Cholestyramine easily for some reason, which I find mad, so do go to your docs with a list of ideas and don't be afraid to push them abit to do what you want!

After I left school my confidence in my IBS hit rock bottom. After so long of suffering with it in the mornings and all the time and being embarrassed about it. Even through I'd found Cholestyramine helped I was so used to not being able to trust my stomach not to have a sudden diarrhoea attack that couldn't bring myself to believe it would be ok to do things in the morning again. I've ended up with severe social anxiety, Depression and panic disorder and wasn't able to leave my parents house for a year. But now I'm doing better, the Pregaballin is helping and I'm doing exposure therapy and starting CBT so I'm hopeful that now my meds are working for me that I can put my life back together again.

But I cannot stress enough how much I think I would have benefitted from gaining access to medication that worked for me before I learned coping behaviours and avoidance. So don't hold back, give everything a go and dont go feeling that it's not your right to have acces to resources and people that can help you sooner rather than later. I know it's embarrassing to talk about and that you can feel really exposed afterwards but you have to be explicit about symptoms or you won't get the advice you need.

Good luck I hope this helps. Look after yourself xx


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