IBS Aniexty

I am currently 23 and I've had IBS since I was 16, it was just going to the toilet multiple times a day and had it under control with 4 immodiums a day. However I went to Ibiza a few years ago and since then I've had quite bad anxiety since then after not having toilet access for about 20 minutes. So currently I have really bad anxiety on any traveling when there is no immediate access to toilets, even 5 minutes down the road is a challenge. This also leads to where ever I do end up going I'm constantly thinking about is there a toilet near etc. So as I am highly anxious I then actually need a toilet so it's a never ending cycle. I know can't leave my house tidy without constantly worrying. I've had anti depressants which didn't work, I've had counselling which helped some what but no where near what I would like it to. I've changed my diet which didn't do anything and I've even gone as far as having an Endoscopy which came back fine. My next option is hypnotherapy, so my question is has anyone else suffered this bad in a similar way and if so what did you do?

28 Replies

  • I have had IBS for many years! I think I found out when I was in my early 20's - im 29 now! And i had the worst bout of IBS, it lasted months and it was IBS D and i was consistently scared that when i left the house i would have to go, i used to sit on the bus and have to go urgently and worry i might poop my self, the diarrhoea and the urgency was my issue at that time. I found that eating rice helped, and also taking 1 Fybogel in the morning after my breakfast (even if that was rice) would help immensely! That plus buscopan and always having immodium on hand i some how got back to normal! So you can get better! I am currently experiencing almost a month long bout and nothing is helping aside eating plain foods - so im a bit down, but it WILL get better! Im going to see a specialist to make sure its IBS again and not a parasite!

    But i travelled around south east asia for 3 months - something i never thought id do! so have hope you can get better! and try take routes where you know there will be a toilet (hard in england i know) and defo try fybogel and buscopan if you haven't already! Fybogel is soluble fibre and 2 sachest can help people with conctpation but 1 sachet stops the awful urgency! Also check out bimuno or try a probiotic! all these things have helped in the past and hopefully they will help you / and me again :)

  • Hi, that's great results for yourself! I've tried insoulable fiber tablets and they didn't help so maybe a soulable fiber might. That is one of the main issues, as soon as my aniexty kicks in the urgency of needing a toilet is increases ten fold and that is what is keeping me in my house, I've tried mediating etc and nothing seems to calm my body down from reacting to the anxiety. I guess if I can control it better with the likes of soulable fiber then my anxiety would decrease

  • insoluble fibre is the worst thing for diarrhoea!! its hard to digest so can actually make it work, try soluble fibre - fybo gel - can buy over the counter, mix it with the amount of water it states and swallow it really fast as it will become too thick to drink! this should slow things down in your gut and help with the urgency! also try rice and oats and bananas - all soluble fibre! i really hope it helps you! if your urgency decreases ,so will your anxiety and vice versa! let me know how it goes :) ill cross my fingers for you!

  • I will definitely try it out, thank you!

  • I had the same problem when I was 17 and I'm now 22. It first started when I was on a hour long bus journey to Norwich to the raf careers office and it was sweltering hot on the bus. It got to the point where I was going dizzy and feeling nauseous and I actually asked the bus driver to stop and let me off in the middle of nowhere. Since then my bowel movement's have been such a pain to a point where I refused to go in a car or bus knowing full well I would feel like I did on that bus journey to Norwich. I found that a lot of my problem was mind over matter and I eventually got over my fear of travelling in a car or bus but every now and then it still flares up. I just do something to take my mind away from what my bowels are wanting to do and try and blank it and at the first chance I get to go to the loo then I'll take it. I went through a stage where I felt nauseous from when I woke up to when I went to sleep everyday for about a year and my extremely helpful doctor put it down to panic attacks and gave me beta blockers? Which actually made the problem worse.

    Try occupying yourself with a task when it flares up to take your mind off it and see how that helps as it worked with amazing results for me and still does to this very day.

    I know how you feel and it is terrible so I hope you don't let it control you and your life like I let it do to me!

  • Hi, the bus part is the similar story to me in Ibiza, an hour long bus journey and I needed a toilet was horrific. Thing is I always challenge myself with mind over matter and it works for a bit but then I have flare ups and I'm back to the beginning of being afraid to leave. It's a never ending cycle

  • I've had IBS since I was 16 but only knew what it was a couple of months ago. I'm about to be 33 so you can imagine... I also have a low degree of OCD and depression. plus a not so low general anxiety disorder. I do believe all of those are linked somehow since my IBS got a lot better when I started CBT, and so did the rest. Hence, I'd dearly recommend that you engage with cognitive behavioural therapy as soon as you can. Travelling is a great experience that anxiety should never limit. Also, I've heard there's a card you can apply for in UK whereby IBS sufferers are granted quick access to toitlets, even those that are not available to the genral publiv (in shops etc) so do look into that. Also, I know it's a bitch to do in UK but try changing your diet avoiding added sugars, caffeine and alcohol ofc, spicy food and refined flours. Eat rice and potatoes cold if you can, and try to shift to a Mediterranean diet. Doesn't mean you'll never be able to have that again as this comes and goes but it's good to have a repository of safe food that's also healthy and tasty. Oh! Also, avoid tap water, aspartame and palm oil as they are pure poison, and xilitol as it makes you poop like mad (so no sugar free chewing gum I'm afraid).

    I'm currently having a quite bad flareup. It started in late April due I believe to food poisoning plus stress. I lost 4kg in 2 months and couldn't fathom what it was until the gp ruled out everything else. Was on a soft diet for the first month and it didn't help. Then shifted to what I mentioned above plus intermittent fasting and eating only three meals a day and started taking ibs tablets (peppermint oil) a month ago. Now everything seems fine except if I drink alcohol (not there yet, sadly) or if I eat out in places where the food is too oily, spicy or contains palm oil. But considering where I was three months ago, well, this is close to perfection!

    Hope it helps!

  • Hi, thanks for your reply. Your symptoms sound very familiar and I also agree aniexty, ibs, OCD are all linked. I've never tried eliminating sugar free gum which I have daily, the other foods you've mentioned I've tried to avoid but no success. Hopefully not eating gum might help releave the flare up I have now

  • Thanks. The thing is sugar free gum has artificial sweeteners which always induce looser stools. When you have IBS, well, you know how it turns out.

    About avoiding the foods, it never worked for me until I started to combine it with the intermittent fasting (so, no food until lunch time or at least 11am) and reducing meals to 3 a day. Also avoiding low quality foods (so trying to eat local and of possible organic), pork, refined flours, soya and its byproducts, canned foods, ready meals, packed juices, dairy... things that don't seem obvious but which are usually mass-produced, transgenic and/or loaded with sweeteners, sugars or palm oil. Also adding sesame seeds, chia seeds and linseed to my diet, along with cold rice and potatoes, cold plantain and yuka, liver, fish, calamari, algae, mushrooms )though never at night), coconut and its byproducts, and lots of fruits and veggies (not the gas producing ones or at least in small quantities). It has really improved my quality of life!

  • I really appreciate the diet advice, I sort of do IF anyway. I don't eat until my lunch break at 11 and normally finish eating for the day around 8. I'll condense to a 16 hour window to see if it aids more. Thank you!

  • I have my stress induced IBS under control now and can relate to all you say. I don't know if you can click on my user name and see my previous posts but I've responded at length on this before so you may be able to view more info on.my story that way but in a nutshell... I did my own CBT in a way rationalising my anxiety and analysing my triggers and developed a coping mechanism after reading and researching online. My travelling coping mechanism is to be prepared first. When I know I am travelling for work or pleasure, I take silicolgel before, during and after the trip. This is all I need to prevent diarrhoea attacks and wind and stomach aches. I always pack an emergency immodium but never use it now. If I start to feel a rumbling in my tummy that makes me worry I am going to have an attack, I make sure I am cool and walk around if possible. And I OM, no one can hear you on a noisy plane or train or in the car! It really takes my focus away from any urge I may have felt to go to the toilet. I always have plastic bags with me in case I feel sick, tissues and water. I've never had to use them. I live near London and the worst thing is that commuter trains don't have toilets and very few stations do either these days. You feel trapped on tubes and no toilets there. Gosh there are so many flash points! I had to take control and it's taken time but without silicolgel I probably wouldn't travel as much as I can now. The IBS network is brilliant for advice and their can't wait card. The IBS network.org and silicol.co.uk has info on it and feedback from customers. You can follow them on Facebook and enter competitions to try it or buy it from Boots. I am petrified of flying, really petrified but I got through a flight at Xmas this year thanks to silicolgel and my om-ing! It takes huge mind over matter but it is doable. Good luck. I really hope you find your solution as there doesn't seem to be a one size fits all solution to IBS. That's why this forum is great for sharing experiences. I now do some consulting work for silicolgel as it helps me so much and speak to lots of customers like us. There will be a solution so just don't give up.

  • Hi, thank you for replying on your suggestions. Not even immodiums stop the sudden urges anymore. I will have a look at the silicol 👍

  • Hi guys

    I've had IBS for some years now, and travel is my personal nightmare. I bought a campervan so I could take my toilet with me wherever I went! That was a knee jerk, overkill kind of reaction...I sold it once I'd calmed down a bit. Since then I have bought a 'Ploo' which is an emergency loo, made of cardboard, folds flat, its in the boot of my car... if I really needed to poop and there was no loo I can deploy it - I HAVE NEVER USED IT. The having it there, ready to use if I need to, is enough to calm down that anxiety to a dull roar.

    The other thing I have is the card, I could walk to the front of any line and show them my card, nobody has ever refused to let me go before them.

    Finally I bought the key to the disabled loo's - cost me £5, now I carry that with me and can use it in any disabled loo that is normally kept locked.

    For any holiday travel I have asked the doctor to give me some sedatives, if the anxiety is under control I can be more realistic about how things are - airports are so much better these days, there are loo's all over the place. I book seats closer to the loo on flights. I also travel by train for long journeys - there's always a loo in the station and on the train.

    One thing I've found is that for me embarrassment and the fear of showing yourself up are pretty difficult to dismiss. I've worked on this and find that telling people I have IBS and get VERY anxious about it has some benefits. I am then able to tell them, my IBS is pretty bad today, can we plan to be somewhere close to the facilities, rather then cancel a trip?

    Food is such a personal issue, some things work for you, some don't - I just keep on trying to find foods that I love that don't upset me too much. However I'm never surprised when a food that has been brilliant gives me some unexpected symptoms:)

    Recently I've been fine, my symptoms have been quite good, I'm not taking anything other than buscopan and feel okay.

    I hope you get that demon anxiety under control soon, that's the bit you can work on, the IBS will always be an issue, how you react to it is something you can decide to tackle. It won't be easy, so using a bit of therapy or distraction techniques is a good idea. You may find that a combination of them all is best! (I tend to close my eyes, listen to music I love and let my husband do the driving)

    Good luck


  • Hi, I also have a makeshift portable toilet in the back of my car which is a bad and toilet roll. Ive also never used but it does help when your on long journeys. One of my distractions is listening to Eric Thomas. I'm just really looking for a clear solution because right now my quality of life isn't great because of this damn thing. Thank you for your advice!

  • I could have written this post! I have had a few situations in the car/on trains where I've desperately needed the loo and not been able to access one immediately. I've never had an accident but the fear of it happening is something that consumes me and makes me really anxious when travelling or visiting new places. I'm ok with familiar places and routines such as going to work but I've passed up holidays, days out, work events all because of my anxiety related ibs. I also suffer in formal situations like meetings or ceremonies when I feel I can't immediately 'escape'.

    As you know anxiety is a major contributor to ibs symptoms and I find the two things work in a vicious cycle. Immodium helps but it's not a long term solution. Cbt also didn't help me. All I can say is try not to let it beat you. If you let it stop you doing things then you'll gradually lose your quality of life and the next time you want to go somewhere or do something it feels like a huge ordeal. I force myself to do things now (going on a train for the first time in years tomorrow!) and after every thing I do that goes without incident I feel my confidence grow. Wishing you lots of luck, it's so awful and people really don't understand xx

  • Hi, your reply relates so much! It's releaveing to know I'm not alone in this. I always challenge myself with my IBS but soon as my confidence is up it gets knocked down again from a flare up when I'm away from home that I wasnt prepared for. Thank you for your suggestions though and good luck on your train conquering 👍

  • Sorry to hear about your problems. I had to endure some pretty horrific holiday experiences too, nothing worse than being away from home and feeling like that. I can echo what the people have said above, don't give up yet, solutions are just around the corner. I've improved my quality of life over the past few years, though it's still not easy, it's more under control now. At my worst I was suffering with bad panic attacks, nausea, frequent and sometimes uncontrollable bowel movements. Over the past few years I've found things that help. I found a therapist (at the third or fourth attempt) with who I had an instant connection, she was great. Maybe try some mindfulness to see if that helps. After a period of trial and error I found a medication that worked for my anxiety (anti-depressants didnt help me either, beta blockers did). More recently I've been using imodium to help control the sudden urges to go to the loo, this has helped my confidence greatly. You'll have ups and downs along the way but keep trying, I'm sure things will start moving in the right direction for you.

  • What a fantastic thread! It's great to read all the coping strategies you have developed! The main theme seems to be positive thinking so IBS doesn't control your life. I have been lucky to find that a low dose of amitryptiline helps me, but I know it's not the answer for everyone. I sometimes use a half dose of Pepto Bismol too, which helps with the nausea and urgency, but not on a regular basis. Many thanks to all who have contributed! Feeling positive! 👌

  • Given your IBS is anxiety driven then it's best to keep targeting that. If CBT didn't work then there are many different types of therapy that may work better for you. Hypnotherapy is an option but personally it didn't help me. Maybe think about asking your dr for anxiety medication. This has helped me tremendously. Also I highly recommend exercise. It's great for anxiety and also for the physical symptoms of IBS.

  • Hi, I was on 40mg of Citalopram for a few years and it didn't have any affect, I'm also a Powerlifter so that helps alot but still. Not enough to improve my quality of life. I'll keep trying though 👍

  • There's a lot of different meds for anxiety and sometimes it's trial and error to find the right one for you. Have you thought about acupuncture? Some people swear by it for anxiety and it's physical symptoms. Hope you find the right treatment for you soon

  • It's a great forum. I had never heard of a Ploo - I might add that to my armoury for car journeys even though I know I won't need it as long as I'm prepared and it is there. The brain is a wonder isn't it. Mind over matter requires a lot of effort but so worth trying to take control this way. And rationalising that most of the time you've not had an accident but just worried about having one. Another one of my triggers is eating out - not the food itself really - but anxiety about having something that triggers diarrhoea and I can't get to a loo. Again, I've never not made it to a toilet but the anxiety is enough to spoil a good night out and nice meal. I'm so glad to be getting this under control nowadays. My 20s and 30s were ruined on many an occasion. My 40s are much happier as a result. Happy holidays everyone.

  • Yes it sounds like me!! But rehire are so many things that can help.

    Please read my anxiety post on my website followed with a healthy diet and lifestyle and a good plan your anxiety levels with slowly disappear once learning different tricks and techniques. Also if you want to take medication- -amitriptaline has worked for loss of people with anxiety and IBS no side effects just a little bit sleepy to begin with (but it's only taken at night So gives you a good nights rest too)


    Type it in -in the search bar on the right side

  • oh my gosh, you have just described me!! Apparently it started when i was about 5, before i went into a building i had to know where the toilets were, I still get it now but it only seems to be when i am stressed.

    ! I am so much better with the loo thing than i was it got to the point i had to stop every ten minutes for a wee as i was terrified i was going to have an accident.. something must have happened years ago god knows what!!

    i dont know if you have heard of the Linden Theory it has really helped me especially with panic attacks and anxiety, I will send you the link if you want to check it out? It really helped me and i am now doing the job i always wanted to and i am a sales rep constantly travelling.

    Ive tried medications and they never really worked, when i go now to the docs, I feel they dont really get how bad i am suffering so i dont really mention it, which is bad as the majority of weekends Im stuck inside!! Again Imodium is my life savour!!

  • Hi, I have heard of the Linden Theory yes but I didn't try it. I have just had my first hypnotherapy session and I'm hoping it works.

  • Fingers crossed! Let me know how u get on would be interested in learning more about it.

  • Hi hun,

    Yes I can so relate to this, actually ended up nearly leaving work as the disabled loo was inaccessible. If I go anywhere I have to research first to ensure a loo is available ad I know the path to them all! Get yourself a Radar key thrn you have access to ALL disabled loos nationwide! You can buy one from any mobility shop for about £5.

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