IBS Linked With Anxiety?

Hi All

Completely new to this forum thing, but here it goes. I'll try and keep it brief. Please take time to read my story, I'm sure there are a lot of people who can relate to me and stop me feeling so alone or that I can help in turn.

I've been suffering with IBS type symptoms for 6 months now. Before this all started I was an active young male (early 20s), in the gym 5 times a week and was in the shape of my life. I have a good job, great social circle, and all the support I could wish for in the form of girlfriend and family.

One morning, all of a sudden, I developed what I thought was a bout of diarrhoea. I thought nothing of it until it didn't shift for about 10 days. This caused me to go to the doctors and this is where the fun really does start for me.

I continued with this trend of having constant diarrhoea, using the toilet 6-8 times in the morning, until it stopped for the day. I'm presuming that this is because there was nothing left to come out. I've been through the whole testing process via the NHS (flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, MRI scans, gastroscopy, blood tests, stool samples etc) and everything has come back absolutely fine. The doctors have since diagnosed IBS. I can't help but think this is because they can't find anything else and have sort of given up with me?

I'm still under the care of the gastro team, and have also begun the low FODMAP diet. There has been some suttle changes in my stomach problems, but nothing I would ever shout from the rooftops about. Over the past 4 weeks though, I have begun to get on a very slippery road with what has been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). For this, I have begun taking a course of Pregabalin as recommended by a private psychiatrist I was hauled to see by my parents after what I'll call a funny spell. To cut a long story short, this medication is helping to take the ease of my anxiety symptoms associated with the IBSD, however I'm still in a hole that I don't know how to get out of.

Basically, my problems are related to my bowel habits first thing in the morning. I am completely obsessed with looking what the end results of my poo looks like. If it doesn't look "normal" this is when my problems each and every day begin. I will get severe anxiety, panick attacks and depression. I've also developed a habit of never feeling empty, and going to sit on the "toilet" to check I don't need to use it. The end result of this is usually another bout of diarrhoea of which I have come to the conclusion can be avoided? More recently over the past week or so I have become so unstable in a mental state I was admitted to the local hospital for a brief stay. The thing I can't understand is if my poo looks "normal" first thing in the morning, I will sail through the day fine? I have also developed an eating disorder where I am so terrified what food is going to do to my stomach, I rather wouldn't bother. This also doesn't help a 3 stone weight loss from July 2015.

So my question to whoever looks at this post:

1) Does anybody ever feel like I do?

2) Are there any medications (Within the UK) that people can recommend that I should ask my GP for?

3) Any inputs on diets to try? The whole FODMAP thing doesn't really work for me. I can eat one thing and be fine the day after, and eat exactly the same and have a day from hell as a result? I've also tried eliminating dairy, wheat, and even meat. When I do eat, its usually only fish and gluten free products?

4) Any general advice how to deal with these symptoms with regards to public transport commutes on a daily basis?

Thanks for taking the time to read quite a large post, honestly any replies really would be appreciated.

Hope to hear from anybody out there soon!

All the best, Lewis

63 Replies

  • Hi Lewis,

    Spotted your post just as I'm on my way out so can't stop to answer as fully as I'd like at the moment. However, I've got time to tell you that all of the things you describe will be familiar to most of us on here so you're def not alone. Also, as your symptoms came on so suddenly and you make a lot of trips to the loo first thing in the morning, I suggest you ask your GP for a SeHCAT test to check for bile acid disorder/malabsorption. Google this and look for pages by Prof Julian Walters, he says that a huge percentage of people diagnosed with IBS actually have this condition which is very treatable.

    FODMAPS helps loads of us on here but you have to be absolutely meticulous about sticking to it for it to work. If you believe you're doing it properly and still no good results, try missing out rice and its derivatives, e.g. rice flour as found in gluten-free bread et al as it causes probs for a lot of us.

    Run out of time now but hope this helps.


  • Rosie

    Thanks for coming back to me, and my apologies about the delayed response. Work block this site for some reason.

    Anyway I really appreciate you mentioning about the SeHCat test, and have done some further research. I'm meeting my consultant later on today so will ask her opinion and hopefully she will be able to send me for one.

    With regards to the FODMAPs, I am so strict with them and eat exactly what is on the list. The problem I seem to have though is I am fine (ish) one day with what I eat. I then eat the same then all hell breaks loose, which leads me to think my problems aren't really food intolerance related.

    I will keep you updated, and thanks for coming back to me again. I really appreciate it.

    All the best,


  • Yes - not alone.. IBS or IBS like symptoms are both physical and mental. It is how you balance those that will lead to some relief.

  • Hello,

    And sorry this is happening to you. Mine came on after the flu, and now I go thought the same as you, checking the loo every time, sometimes I think I am mad!! I mean who does that!!

    I also lost a lot of weight and I am tiny and do not have much to lose, and a, scared of eating anything now as well.

    I did however have luck with the fodmap diet, but like someone mentioned you really have to stick with it, be really strict. Things that work for me, white bread, plain diet from fodmap. I check labels to see low fibre content, anything with high fibre goes straight through.

    You are not alone, and I think this stupid ibs can cause anxiety as well as stem from it. Have you been through any stressful patches in your life recently?

    I regards to public transport I am lucky I can drive to my work, but having ibs and dealing with people, eg leeks and smells, can be embarrassing to say the least, so I schedule things when I know I'm not at risk, try to eat a breakfast that will stuff you up, till you are at a place you know where you can get to the loo is. Oats are good, white bread toast too. Assuming you are ibs-d? Look up food ideas on the Internet for low fodmap Diet, and cut back on sugar, that's helped me loads too. Take safe snacks out with you as well, in case you can not get to say food. I started the fodmap and saw results in a fe days.

    I recommend the fods diet really has helped me no end, and I was full of anxiety like you. I feel calmer now too, now I have some control over it. I no longer rush to the loo, and I can control things better, things are firmer, and I go twice now and feel empty, rather then six or more times and feel I still have stuff up there.

    I printed all the fods charts out I could find and looked up recipes on Internet, planned meals and snacks, don't have big meals, eat more often and smaller. I bake oat biscuits as some sugars upset me but home baking is fine. You will slowly find you get to know your body's rhythm really well and what works and what does not. Good luck Lewis, wishing you all the best.

  • Hi

    Thanks so much for your reply, and apologies about my delayed response, work block access to this site for some reason.

    The problem I have with the FODMAP diet is I have seen no success. I am so meticulous with it and ensure I eat all the right things, little and often etc. I can then see signs of improvement, then it all goes flying backwards after a few days.

    The problem with using the toilet frequently in the morning hasn't stopped, and if anything has got worse. I usually go 2-3 times with volume but for some reason I never feel empty. I guess this could be more of a psychological thing though.

    I'm struggling with this at the moment, and it really does control my life. I'm hoping though to see some improvement soon, would be a lovely Christmas present...

    Can I ask if you tried any long term medication at all to get rid of your symptoms?

    All the best, and keep in touch,


  • Hello Lewis,

    That's ok, yeah my work blocks some odd sites too.

    No I sadly have not been back to the doctors as they were very unhelpful with me and quite dismissive. I have not tried any medication. My friend is on anti anxiety meds which have helped him loads, you could see if that would work, as I do believe ibs and anxiety are linked.

    I do take a good pro biotic which does seem to help a little, perhaps fods is not working as your anxiety levels are quite high?

    I wish there was a pill you could take to fix this, it is a massive pain, like you worry about leaving the house, have had time off work, I worry about being in meetings etc at work and travel... None of which helps the worry in your gut. Have you tried relaxation techniques or meditation?

  • Hi sorry to butt in on this conversation but i thought i might help. Lewis you'll find I've already sent you a post when you get the chance to read it :) I didn't mention that my doc thought my IBS as due to anxiety too and i was suffering with panic attacks and anxiety severely that at one point i was stuck in my flat for 6 months with family and friends getting my food, paying bills etc.

    Anyways after receiving counselling , working hard with my CBT and the right medication ( Paroxetine ) i got better to where i can hardly remember the last time i had a panic attack. My point is that despite the success with that my IBS has remained and i have also tried with strict diets where they work one week then completely fail the next.

    My point is that i just try to live my life the best way i can regardless of this , ok some days i have to stay in because my IBS is really bad but i try my best. Talking to likewise people should help with the mental side of this , i know it's helping me.

    All the best, Sara.

  • My IBS is completely anxiety related. You're def not alone! However, mine comes throughout the day anytime I start obsessing over where the bathroom is. I'm still to find the skills to deal with this, as it comes in phases and I'm relatively fine for a few months, and then the few months after, I feel crappy.

    Don't give up on yourself! Try different approaches so that your mind will control your stomach a little less. I wish I had better advice to give you but I'm yet to find it.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Hi Lewis,

    No you are definitely not alone so take heart from that. You have started your recovery by looking for ways round it and trying the fodmap diet. Anxiety can play a big part or even the biggest part in IBS because you don't know how you are going to feel day to day and therefore what sort of a day you are going to have.

    Some things that have worked for me :-

    Taking linseed (ground and unground) every morning with breakfast helps to firm up my photos. You have to experiment with how much to have of each.

    Drinking lots of water. I keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge so I know how much I've had.

    Getting plenty of exercise. I've got an app on my phone to tell me how many steps I've taken!

    Keeping a score out of ten of how good my day has been. Then taking note of the upward trend!

    Keeping a note of foods I have a bad reaction to and after having 2 bad reactions I leave them for a while.

    Good luck with finding your path through this maze and try not to be to disheartened by a bad day or reaction.

  • Hi Lewis,

    sorry you are suffering mentally so much with your IBS,I have had IBS for 20yrs and most of your symptoms are typical ,have you tried probiotics they do help some people ,a friend of mine found acidophilus worked well for her(you can buy from Holland and barrett)she suffered mainly the diareah version,IBS definatley does affect you mentally, your doctor could try you with lopermide?Imodium this works well in short term for the diareah, something that helps me is called lepicol you can read up on this in search engine.Hope you find something that helps ,please remember you are not alone and what helps one person may not help another, Good luck x

  • The Monash FODMAP app on your iPhone may help you. They have a traffic light system so to start eat only those goods which have the green symbol for about six weeks. You could try self hypnosis

    IBSaudioprogram100.com CD's for the anxiety

    I use Imodium instants for diarrhoea Which I now only get infrequently as Fidmaps has helped enormously.

    Get a RaDAR key which allows access to disabled toilets.

    If you can I would suggest travelling to work and eating once you get there where you know you will be close to toilets. This is dependant upon what type of work you do of course.

    Good luck as you really have to try everything to see what works for you as we are all different

  • Hi Lewis, we probably started this IBS with anxiety "thing" at about the same time. Many, many people feel as you do, you may be sure! They even have a name for morning d - it's called the morning rush!

    I know just how it feels to think you are the only person who could possibly feel as you do , I currently feel as though I am thrashing about in the dark, with advice from all areas, and I too have been very concerned about my mental state, because I don't know what to do for the best.

    Take confidence from the fact that you are under the care of the right people, and have had a raft of tests done, which is more than I have.

    I know that Rosie and others have had great results with the low FODMAP diet, and as she says, you have to follow it to the letter. I have done, for the last 10weeks, and you couldn't have put it better - sorted some bowel problems out, but I still have loads of gas, bloating and pain - I wouldn't shout my success from the rooftops either!

    So- where to go from here - firstly, stop panicking and accept that you have a problem which at the moment seems overwhelming, but you WILL get there, with the support and understanding of those around you.

    Take care, you are not alone,


  • Hi Nobiker,

    I wouldn't want you to think that doing FODs totally solved my problems - it didn't. It took me a long time to work out that just because foods were on the 'safe/green' list several of them weren't at all suitable for me. The main culprits were rice, bananas, blueberries and grapes - rice took me ages to work out as, like most people, I thought it was such a bland food, it couldn't possibly be causing any trouble. Once I got those sorted, I was about 90%-95% okay, but still had a bit of pain, gas and bloat some days.

    Then a couple of months ago, a post came up on here by Shon48 (you can find her in the members' list) about an OTC tablet called Phenergan (promethazine hydrochloride) which is a sedative and used at low-dosage for travel sickness, allergy relief and insomnia. She'd been taking this and found it eliminated all her IBS symptoms and her GP cleared it as okay to take long-term. A couple of weeks' ago, I decided to give it a try to see if it would help me get rid of my remaining symptoms. I wasn't very hopeful as I've never believed my IBS was down to anxiety in any way and have, in the past, almost smacked people for even looking as if they were about to suggest it was! So, it was a complete surprise and revelation to me, that not only has it got rid of my residual symptoms, but I've spent the last week reintroducing high-FODs with no ill effects whatsoever. I'm taking it slowly doing this as I haven't eaten outside of the diet for almost 4 years and my system is no longer used to them, but so far, so very, very good. It also gives me a brilliant night's sleep which is a real bonus

    I'm well-aware that diets, remedies,'cures' etc for IBS can sometimes work for a period of time and then it all comes back again, so I'm not holding my breath here, but thought you might like to know about it.


  • Hi Rosie , yep working for me still


  • Shon48

    This seems really interesting, and I'm happy to give anything a shot. Whats the worst that could happen?!

    What dose are you taking and when? I've had a look at Boots etc and there seems to be a lot of options? Assuming your UK based that is..

    I'm more than willing to give this a go, at worse I can only eliminate it from the list of "tried items"

    I really am so happy for both yourself and Rosie that this seems to have alleviated your problems, even if it does nothing for me I'm glad you've found your remedy.

    Thanks Shon48, I appreciate it.

    All the best


  • Nobiker

    You seem to have hit the nail on the head here, feeling alone and thrashing round in the dark even though you have all the professional help in the world.

    I have accepted I have a problem that means I need to make some changes to my life, however I am so out of control at the moment this is taking over my life. I somehow need to get back on the horse and stop feeling sorry for myself?

    Any ideas how?!?!

    Thanks, Lewis

  • Hi Lewis, I think firstly you need to have the help of those you live with. I'm still trying to make sense of it all so I'm not the best to offer help!

    A good dietician would be a start, and certainly give the FODMAP diet a bit longer.

    Try to remain positive - I know that's easier said than done, loads of gentle exercise, massages, acupuncture etc., generally pamper yourself a bit. There's no shame in seeing a psychiatrist either - whatever works for you!

    .....and drink water, water and water with everything.

    As for taking over your life? It's certainly taken over mine and I find it very hard going. I think in the beginning we're all the same, we'll get there.

    I'm also going to try Phenergan!

    Good luck, nobiker.

  • I feel your pain etc.

    But as nobiker says you are being seen to and will probably get sorted.

    This network is very helpful as no one understands this condition unless they have it themselves.

  • Yes; can relate to your post and have had all the tests as well. I have said this so many times some of the regular readers will be sick of it. I am now convinced mine is stress related. None of the diets worked (and were just more stress), so now I eat normally, in smaller amounts, as the Gastroenterologist said 'little and often'...it seems to work for me. Yes - I thought the Doctors must think I am a raving hypochondriac, and yes, I thought I had cancer (I lost 2.5 stone in weight). You have my absolute sympathy and there are no easy answers. Well meaning people tell you to try this diet and that diet, none of them did a thing for me except to stress me out keeping to the diets!!! As I said I now eat everything, I NEVER eat huge meals. I really wish you luck, try to de-stress if possible.

  • No i go through hell myself back kills me my anxiety is worse. Have been going for messages it helps.

  • Mine is not nearly as severe as yours but I have found that theraphy pushing down on iliocecal vale 4 seconds releasing 4 seconds repeat 30 times helps as well as taking vsl #3 morning and night helps a lot, Google valve for location

  • Hi Panter! You get back ache as well? I thought it was just me! In fact I get back ache, upper and lower hip ache, slightly burning colon pain at the same time. Sometimes relieved by yoga type exercise (temporarily). I am soooooo fed up with this - give me a break!! I walk every day, take high strength probiotic but no meds for IBS because mebeverine and colpermin actually made it worse. I may try phenergan though, thanks Rosie.

  • Rosie.

    How much. Phenergan do you take.

    Im trying it but in low dose.

    I know Shona is doing so well on it and now you as well.

  • Hi calista,

    I started off by taking half-a-tab at night at first and have now increased it to a whole one. I'm seeing my GP on Friday to get his views on it.

    Are you finding it's helping at all yet?

  • Hi Rosie.

    Well I havnt been consistent Im afraid.

    Took one tab instead of sleeper but that didnt work.

    Then tried half a tab in morning for a few days and think that helped.

    Then skipped yesterday as had grandkids etc for party...ate wrong food....so had d this a.m.

    Back to immodium as had dentatal apt today.

    Will try again for the week.

    I live in Ireland so not otc here.

    I had to get them over internet.

    Will be interested to see what your gp thinks.

  • Well, do give it another shot, you never know it may just do the trick - I hope so anyway.

    I had to stop taking Temazepam (for insomnia) once I started the Phenergan and found this much more effective - so much so in fact that I keep sleeping through my alarm!

    Will give you an update on what my GP says.

  • Thanks Rosie

    I take stillnoct.

    The night I took phenergan I was awake all night.

    Shona takes it a.m. I think now.

    She is doing great.

  • Hi I'm Shon48 . I have suffered for 41 years with IBSD due only to stress and anxiety. I have tried every over the counter medicine , hypnotherapy, relaxology , psychiatric help there is but to no avail UNTIL I found , quite by accident , an antihistamine called PHENERGAN . I tried it and have never looked back . I eat what I like, I can socialise without drugs and I've just come home from a holiday in America of which I didn't want to go as I felt so lousy . Am I glad I went?? Oh yes indeed.

    I started taking one at night and I slept like a baby but after a few weeks I had restless legs which is a side effect so I take one in the morning now . My g.p says if it works for me it won't do any harm . The only drug that I know of that you can't use with this is Amytriptiline .

    You buy it at the chemist who might ask if you have used it before , just say yes and it's for travel sickness.

    I personally call it my miracle pill . It has changed my life completely. The only down side because I am now eating I'm putting on weight lol

    Give it a try ,it won't do you any harm at all .


  • Hi Shona, as recommended by rosie, I went to the Tesco pharmacy today as I was there anyway. They don't have it and said it's difficult to get now and many chemists don't sell it! He said it's because some were using it for "other" purposes!?? One can only hazard a guess, but wouldn't you just know it.....I'll keep trying. Thank you,


  • Och that's a shame . Boots the chemist sell it in tablet and liquid form . You can also get it online . It's not a dangerous medication so goodness knows what they are going on about with "other " purposes. I've been rumbled !!!!!! Lol


  • Shona

    The more I read down this chain, the more I become inspired with the journeys people have been on, and the successes they are having. I'm going to give this Phenergan a shot, and see what it does I think. Before I do though, I'm intrigued to find out what dosage everybody takes and when? If this is a sedative, is it a nightly thing?

    Please let me know how this worked for you in terms of dosage and taking it, I fully understand this might not work for everybody, but I'm willing to try/

    So glad to hear about your continued success,

    Best Wishes, Lewis

  • It's really a strange one this Phenergan . My story is I was on a cancer forum and a g.p had put on about Phenergan for long term use in keeping breast cancer away once the treatment was over --- lots of research had been done. Anyway, I thought I would give it a shot , nothing to lose and his directions were to take two tablets on the first night and one ever after. Well, I took the two but was like a zombie the next day but over the days I noticed that the ibsD wasn't there anymore. No Imodium, no diazapam , no sleepers , no buscopan . Just couldn't quite believe what was happening. I have no idea if it's true about the cancer trials but it's certainly given me a life worth living after 41 years of misery . The only down side is restless legs which is a side effect so I take one in the morning. Doesn't make me sleepy so that's a good thing if you are still Working. I sometimes try it at night for a few nights to get me off the sleepers but when the legs start I go back to mornings. Rosie tried it but she uses half a tablet . It's something you can tweek to suit you . My g.p is happy that I've found something although he doesn't know why , neither do I lol . Nut jobs the lot of us lol .

    It's much cheaper to buy the tablets than the liquid. £7.99 for 56 25mg tablets . Go for it Lewis and keep me uptodate on your progress. Fingers and toes crossed that it works for you too.


  • Shona

    That's really strange about the cancer issue. I had leukaemia a few years back, so if it helps keep a relapse of that at bay then happy days, 2 birds with one stone

    Will definitely give it a try! Can I ask where you get it from? I've tapped it into Google and nothing comes up? Seems like you know where to get it though!

    Also what do you mean by restless legs? Sorry to be such a pain.

    Thanks again, and all the best.


  • Boots the chemist sells it . Restless legs usually happens at night when you are desperate to sleep but just have to move the legs . I've seen me getting up during the night just to walk about for a wee while . Blooming annoying but I had this problem before I started the Phenergan . I'll send you the link for ordering it over the Internet.

    Lucky you in surviving leukaemia and I wish you continued good health . I haven't reached the five year mark yet but I'm feeling so well now . You would think after all the crap treatment we have both been through that we would never have this ibs trouble . Nut jobs !!!! Lol . Oh and you are no way a pain , I'm happy to help .


  • Thanks Shona. I'm of out in a minute to see if I can track some down. I'm a little sceptical about ordering on the Internet but if it comes to it I'll give it a go!

    Glad your on the right path, I completely understand what your saying. I do sometimes wonder why this is happening to me and that I get dealt the shit hand in life, but we need to remember others who are far far worse of than all of us.

    Will let you know how my quest goes. All the best.


  • Pharmacy2u.co.uk

    Express chemist.co.uk

  • Shona. I've finally got hold of some exactly as you said. 56 tablets for 7.99. Do you take yours in the morning or evening? And a hole tab or half as I saw somebody on this thread mention?

    Thanks for the continued suggestions


  • That's great that you managed to get them . Personally I would take one at night. Try a whole one and you can tweek it to what you need. I would love to be able to take it night as it really helps in sleeping but I'm okay taking it in the morning. Good luck but please don't expect your ibsD away as from tomorrow but I hope it is. I'll be thinking of you .

    Hopefully and I pray another success story.


  • Thanks Shona.

    How long did it take to kick in for you?

  • Two days but I took two tablets on the first night as I was taking it re cancer. I was totally zonked on the first day but after that --- on top of the world. Fingers crossed for you


  • Hi Lewis, I can relate to your symptoms too. So you are not alone. I have had IBS for over 20 years, but the flare I am in at the moment is the worst by far. I too have an upset tummy with IBS, and it is so debilitating, its made me feel like I don't want to leave the house, and when I do to go to work, I am in a high anxiety state until I get home again. I saw my GP a couple of weeks ago and was given Colofac ( Mebeverine) to ease the spasms. This did help a bit, but I was still scared to eat, on Saturday I ate sort of normally, as I was celebrating my birthday, and my children were visiting. Thankfully I was able to eat while they were here. Unfortunately, yesterday I ended up in the loo for 2 hours in and out with awful upset tummy, and today I am off work, again.

    I have been to see the dr again today, and he said that it is still the IBS flare. He told me not to be afraid to eat, because I need to get nutrients and energy. He said that warm water is better to drink than cold, he said the gut prefers warm things. He recommended that I have a yakult once a day, and that I eat bio yoghurts. I have also got to stick to the low fodmap diet strictly for 3 weeks. I have been on it since dec last year, but I had sneaked in some wheat based products recently. So will see how that goes.

    All the best


  • Hi Lew

    I specifically signed up to reply to your post, so I hope you read this.

    IBS is indeed linked to stress and anxiety, at least that is the conclusion of most that have it, the medical community still have raised eyebrows. And you are absolutely right in thinking that IBS is the diagnosis for those who have had the tests and nothing physical can be found (cancer, ulcers, etc), when experiencing symptoms like yours.

    The reason I felt that I had to sign up to reply to your post is because you make it clear that you are suffering from some form of psychological problem. 'Basically, my problems are related to my bowel habits first thing in the morning. I am completely obsessed with looking what the end results of my poo looks like. If it doesn't look "normal" this is when my problems each and every day begin. I will get severe anxiety, panic attacks and depression.' Dude, please listen to me, I have poo'd several times a day and had severe pain every day for two years and I don't have this kind of mental reaction to the "normality" of my poos. (yes I have been diagnosed with IBS).

    While the correlations between anxiety and IBS are obvious to those who have both, sometimes we must accept that the brain can cause severe physiological issues. For example, severe stress over long periods of time can cause frequent seizures, non-epileptic, I might add. I know this for a fact and all you need to do is google "non epileptic attack disorder" to confirm this.

    My point is that I think, in my non-professional but self-educated opinion, that you need to speak with a psychologist, and perhaps even a psychiatrist, about your 'obsession' with your poos. Let me tell you a fact of human nature, when one gets terrified for one’s life, one may shit themselves, this is for reasons that are not quite understood but are believed to correlate with the fight or flight mechanism. The fight or flight mechanism is also related to high levels of stress/anger/anxiety etc. So it is obvious that one can affect the other.

    I honestly think that if you manage your 'obsession' and anxiety/stress/depression well then you will see some positive results.

    I hope this helps. All the best.


    (sources: I suffer from depression, anxiety, stress and IBS. My mother is a psychologist and we talk regularly about the relationships between mental issues and physiological issues. I have also researched the subject extensively)

  • Sean

    I hear you mate, loud and clear. Also sounds like you are clued up on tackling the IBS issues. Interesting to note that your mother is a psychologist, must be useful in dealing with the condition.

    I know this IBS exacerbated some underlying issues, and I can confirm I am in discussions with one of the best psychiatrists in London (thanks to work). The driving factor behind this was the realisation that my obsession with the form of my morning movement is A) not normal and B) completely unhealthy for the condition.

    I am undergoing a course of CBT to try and shake these issues, and hopefully in turn this will take the edge of my symptoms.

    Thanks for your reply Sean, and for taking the time to sign up etc. I have read your reply to me and I'm pleased to say I fully understand the points made.

    All the best,


  • Stress exacerbates my symptoms, I can only imagine what severe anxiety would do. Sorry you're in a rough spot. Keep taking detailed notes of what you eat. Some things may be bugging your system that aren't related to FODMAPS, like corn, rice, preservatives... Anything. It's all about pattern recognition, and if you can find even a handful of foods that bug you you'll feel better. Secondly, for transportation I've occasionally worn an adult diaper and taken an Imodium. Not super cool in your early 30s, but it can provide the mental comfort that you have backup. And sometimes taking your mind off it can mean the difference between an accident and and urgent ride. I've also tried to trick myself out of near accidents by repeating mantras over and over in my head, like 'this too shall pass'. It gives you something to focus on while you're hot-footing it to the toilet and I swear it's bought me some precious time.

  • Hi Lewis,

    Sorry to hear about all that you're going through. I would echo much of what has been said already; coping with IBS is at least as much a case of dealing with the anxiety as dealing with the physical symptoms. My own experience has been that the symptoms, though very unpleasant, are often manageable; it is the anxiety around it that casues the feeling that IBS has "taken over my life." I completely relate to your feelings about commuting to work; the trains from my station have no toilets (and neither do most of the stations) so journeys to and from work are often anxious affairs. I also understand about meetings. One thing I would say is, if you have';t done so already and you feel you can, you should let your employers know what is wrong. IBS, where the duration or expected duration is more than a year, is viewed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, and employers need to make reasonable adjustments. What would constitute a reasonable adjustment would depend on the type of job you do, of course. The adjustments that I agreed were firstly that if I had an attack of IBS in the morning that I could work at home until my medication had kicked in. I also had an adjustment that I could leave meetings where necessary and in extreme cases ask to be excused form attending, What I have found is that the reassurance of knowing that the adjustment is there actually makes it less likely that I'll need to use it as I'll be less likely to panic.

    Medication-wise, I have loperamide (immodium) on prescription as well as cholestyramine (Questran) and I find that these take the edge off the symptoms. For the anxiety I have tended to use breathing exercises along with distraction techniques (if the train is stuck at signals and the panic wells up I'll make myself do something like make a list of everything I can see out of the window. Sounds daft but it works.) I've never tried CBT so would be very interested to hear how you get on- let us know! In the meantime, look after yourself and remember that you're not alone with this.

  • Bosslet

    I am so sorry I didn't reply to this, I'm terrible with checking emails during the week that aren't work related, so please accept my sincerest apologies.

    Many thanks for your reply, it really does sound like your able to relate to the rush of the daily commute! I have put coping mechanisms in place such as documenting where toilets are on my daily commute, and trying to distract myself whilst I'm on the train. Your point about the equality act of 2000 is really interesting actually. I had never thought of that! My ibs is going to be more than a year so I will definitely have a conversation with work and see if they are able to assist. My job should allow me to be flexible with working arrangements, as long as I am prepared for all eventualities.

    I start the cbt on Monday, so will keep people updated with how I get on with it. Can I also ask what questran is that you were perscribed and whether this helps you?

    Again thanks for your kind words of reply, they really are appreciated. I hope you continue to be able to live your life as well as managing your symptoms.

    All the best


  • Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for replying and no need to apologise- life is busy especially when you're working. Glad that you've adopted some strategies for dealing with the commute (the "mental map" of loos en route is very helpful, I use that one myself as well.)

    Questran is a medicine with an interesting story. It's a kind of resin and its primary use is for lowering cholesterol. However, they then started using it to treat patients who had had their gall bladders removed (and therefore couldn't absorb bile.) Questran is prescribed to alleviate the diarrhoea that results from bile malabsorption. More recently it has started to be prescribed for some people with IBS where diarrhoea is the main problem. I started being prescribed it when i was formally diagnosed with IBS. It does have some effect in regularising my trips to the loo, although I have to watch the dosage, as if I get carried away I can get constipated (a very novel situation for me!) I think different people have different experiences with Questran. Some thing it's a miracle drug, others say it has no effect. Worth discussing with your GP in any case, and you should definitely ask to be prescribed loperamide (Immodium) as it is so expensive to keep buying it over the counter.

    In terns of your work, I'd advise starting with your manager (if you get on with them) as they may simply make a local arrangement with you about your IBS which doesn't have to be on a very formal level. If that doesn't work, or isn't really a realistic option, then have a chat with your HR department; they will understand the law (or should do!)

    Best of luck and let us know how you get on; you're doing all the right things to be able to manage your IBS.

    Kind regards

    Paul (aka Bosslet)

  • Do you use immodium every day ?

  • Calista

    Fortunately I am at the stage where I don't need to at the moment. However my use of immodiun is becoming more and more frequent. I would say I use it 4 out of 7 days during the week.

    I try and avoid it for fear of clogging me up and making my problems worse later on in the day when it has worn of. Do you use it at all?

    All the best


  • Yes I use it if I have to be anywhere etc.

    I have ibs a long time now but a bit worse of late as a lot of anxieties as husband has some dementia .

    However Im old retired .

    But I will be taking it today if I play golf maybe 3 imm plus to be sure .

    But you are so young I hope you get sorted.

    I took phenergan yesterday but havnt taken it a lot as I have valium type pillssI can take when needed.

    Have you tried Phenergan yet ?

    A few find it helps.

    Hope you get sorted.

  • I haven't tried the phenergan yet, was going to experiment with taking it over the weekend in case it knocks me out when I'm working. So sorry to hear your husband is also I well. Must be a tough time for you in all fronts without this ibs to worry about too.

    I usually find that the immodiun instants are really effective, I keep some of them in my wallet at all times just in case. They seem to get to the problem a lot quicker than normal tablets.

    Hope things begin to work out for you. I'll report back in the phenergan!

    All the best.

  • I always carry Imodium , diazapam even now .


  • Thanks.


  • Lewis.

    I will be interested to hear how it goes with cbt as I had some some years ago and it did help to a degree at the time.

    She retired then and no follow up...gp not too interested .

    I.m sure it will be a help.

  • Calista

    I start on Monday so ill keep you updated all the same.


  • Thanks and good luck.

  • I wonder if you are on Pregabolin if you should check with your doc in case of interaction.

    Just a thought/concern !

  • Calista. I've already checked, and he is happy as long as the drowsiness element doesn't become a problem. I'm going to start over the weekend and see what happens. Will keep everybody updated

    Thanks for your concern, and best wishes.


  • Lewis.

    How did it go with phenergan at weekend ?

  • Calista.

    I haven't plucked up the courage to try it yet because I had a good few days over the weekend. When (not if!) my next flare up comes along I'll be giving it a go. I'll come back to you then. Have you tried it yourself yet?

    All the best


  • Hey Lewis, I think a lot of research would suggest that IBS and anxiety/stress/depression are most certainly linked. I have suffered with anxiety and depression on and off throughout my life, and also severe fatigue levels which have never gotten much attention from doctors despite being my number one problem, the next being my IBS.

    I also suffer with nauseating optical migraines, and various other small things like muscle soreness and poor recovery from exercise. I believe that this is all nervous system related and has been very much helped by the antidepressants I am on which are called Venlafaxine. I have tried many SSRIs over my lifetime and found that they exacerbated my diarrhoea symptoms and didn't help with my fatigue much, so none of them lasted long. Venlafaxine is an SNRI which affects your norepinephrine levels as well as serotonin, so for me I think it is just a bit easier on my bowel and helps me with the fatigue which was very necessary for me.

    I am sorry you have been going through this, it sounds like a sudden change from your previous life, but I really hope you can move on and start to enjoy a life similar to before, but maybe with a few changes.

    Without sounding too 'fluffy' I have found that mindfulness type exercises are quite helpful and simply accepting things rather than trying to fight what is happening to you all the time. I have very much accepted my emotional responses to things in recent years (I am now 29) whereas before I would constantly wish it would change and why did I have to be that way etc. I accept that certain things bother me more than others because my life is my life.

    Few people that I see day to day understand how it makes me feel to have diarrhoea all the time, especially when it is at work or in a public place, and someone walks into the public toilets when I'm in there having an explosive diarrhoea session! I'm sure that's something a lot of people here can relate to. People can try to deny their bodily functions if they want, but to us it is something very relevant to day to day life. Maybe the normality of your stool tells you everything is ok and normal, and maybe you just need to find ways of accepting that sometimes it won't be what might be considered 'normal' on a chart or by another person. Mine is hardly ever normal really, but when I talk to my friend who often has constipation and is in great pain, I guess it isn't always so bad.

    Best of luck with it, I hope you feel better physically and mentally very soon :-)

  • Hi Lewis, don't know if you read my post I've been suffering with ibs for 4 years now and I used to check the same as you. I thought I had something really bad but wouldn't tell anyone cos I didn't want to worry people. I have been taking aloe Vera gel from forever living as this is 100% of the plant you need and cut out wheat/ gluten and felt better but since I've been taking the symprove after 3 weeks of taking it I'm eating Indian food which was a definite no no before . I'm feeling so much better . You can get a 3 month course of symprove this is how long it can take to totally reset the digestive system back I to how it should be depending on how bad your gut is in the first place. It is expensive but it is working for me so far . you are not alone though it does affect you mentally as well as physically . It's still early days yet bug so far I'm pleased with the progress of the symprove I feel fantastic. The only thing is I have put on weight cos I've been eating all the things I couldn't normally have .

  • Hey. I'm so sorry to hear about all this suffering you have endured but you must know that you're certainly not alone hun. I've had a few years now to adapt and accept my IBS-D but it's still tough from time to time and i don't consider myself to have a "normal" life. I've had all the tests too and they found nothing wrong with me (which in hindsight is good but at least if there were something then it could be cured?) so i was also diagnosed with IBS, they gave me a load of leaflets and diet plans and sent me on my way telling me it couldn't be cured. I too felt like i had been let down and they simply put the problem down to IBS cause they couldn't find anything else.

    It's bound to cause you distress, anxiety and depression, your also not the only one who has to check they're stools to see what condition they are in. After trying a multitude of things with no relief i just use Imodium type tablets to absorb the liquid in my bowel and try and return it to normal, and if i have a bad bout of diarrhea then i take something like dioralyte to regain the salts and liquids I've lost. it's just a matter of this is something that i have to live with and it used to stop me doing certain things (e.g -going the gym, shopping, travelling, to the pub) but i always make sure that if i have a bad morning i take what i need and continue , just make sure you carry spare pant's and imodium with you if you should need it and making sure your friends and family understand it too. Understanding from others helps so much with this.

    I can understand completely why this has effected you so radically but you should try and continue with your life and eat what you want and try to do what you want. I hope this has helped a little, if anything makes you see that you are certainly not alone in this.

    Take care.

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