At my wits end

So I've had IBS for many years but last 6 months it's got so much worse. Been doing elimination diet for a couple of months cutting out everything blood tests said I was intolerant too but it's made no difference. I get daily weird pains/discomfort/feelings in my stomach that make me feel generally unwell and give me headaches. GP wants me to have a colonoscopy/endoscopy in a few weeks to eliminate possibility of anything sinister going on but I'm petrified as I suffer with medical anxiety and last time I had one a few years ago it was very painful and they had to stop and do another procedure instead (like a virtual colonoscopy or something). I'm not sure I can even go through with this but don't know what to do as I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and just can't seem to get my gut under control and can't remember the last time I had a relatively "good" day :-(

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  • No doubt you will have a preliminary appointment prior to the colon/endo. You should mention your anxiety issues and explain how they gave you a different procedure previously. Ask if it would benefit you to have the same again - will it show the same medical issues if there are any.

  • I also wonder if it might be possible to have the colonoscopy done under a general anaesthetic instead...

    What foods have you been eliminating? Sadly, there isn't much evidence that blood tests for food intolerances work. Most detect IgG levels, which might just indicate exposure to food and not an intolerance/adverse reaction to it. If you are interested in exploring how your diet may affect you IBS, I would strongly encourage you to speak to a registered dietician, perhaps one specialising in the low FODMAP diet.

    You also mentioned you suffer from anxiety. What have you been doing to help combat this? Anxiety can be a big trigger for IBS and getting this under control may significantly help manage you IBS.

  • I'm nervous about the whole thing, not only because of my anxiety but also because I've recently been diagnosed with a benign arrhythmia so my heart goes all over the place which isn't helping my anxiety/IBS and I'm worried about the affect of sedation too. I've been eliminating, wheat, dairy, rice, sunflower, oats, eggs, barley and a few other things I was allegedly intolerant too. I am seriously thinking about seeing either a naturopath or dietician to see if they can help.

  • Definitely go and see a dietician as they would be the best placed to help you manage your diet. I'd also say if removing these foods from your diet hasn't helped, make sure you add them back in again so you're not missing out on nutrients.

    I suspect you've already done this, but make a list of all the questions and concerns you have so when you see your doctor next, you know exactly what you want to ask and the issues you want to get across. If it helps, find a friend/partner to role-play the appointment with you so you can practise making the points you want to make and are more confident when you go in.

    And finally, as you'll be aware, the anxiety is really having a detrimental affect on your quality of life. I wouldn't be surprised if it's also the cause of your arrhythmia. If you're not seeing one, I strongly encourage you to find and see a therapist to help you find mechanisms to cope with the anxiety.

  • Hi patient, Yes I'm going to start incorporating some of the foods I've been eliminating slowly back into my diet. I also started seeing a Psychologist last week and will see her ongoing for CBT, etc as I need to get a grip of this anxiety. Thanks for your reply

  • Good luck. I hope that it all helps.

  • Hi! I can totally understand where you are coming from, everything you wrote I get it all, medical anxiety the lot! I just refused to have colonoscopy because my anxiety would be to much to cope with . Have you tried meditation and mindfulness? I find it helps a lot, with the IBS and anxiety. Also activated charcoal helps. Talk to your GP about the tests though, they may be able to do a different one. X

  • Maccy83, I have tried both of your suggestions and they have been helpful to me in the past but at the moment nothing seems to be helping. Thanks for your activated charcoal suggestion, I might try that as sometimes I feel bloated/windy and it makes me feel dizzy or lightheaded so that might help with that.

  • Hi! Not sure this will help- but I have just had a Colonoscopy with sedation. Not full anaesthetic but really painless experience with whatever they gave me. Have a go if you can. I'm waiting for results after having D for 10 months! Best of luck.

  • Hi Linc2u, the colonoscopy/endoscopy would be with twilight sedation which worries me as to what effect it will have on my arrhythmia. Also whilst I'm waiting to be taken in for the procedure I get so anxious and in such a state I'm not sure I can cope at the moment although part of me wants to have it to eliminate anything else going on. Good luck with your results, when do you get them?

  • i'm in the same state as yours , but mine is OCD ..so i told my specialist clearly that i can't do the colonscopy ..so he gave me other options to choose from either : Calprotectin stool sample test which is a strong indicator of inflammation in the gut , or an Abdominal CT scan ...this was suggested to me after my blood test for crohns disease came back very high above normal range ..i choosed the stool test which came back negative ..so the doctor said it is 99.9 IBS ...just wanted to inform you of the other alternative diagnostic procedures that you can undergo instead of the colonoscopy (still it is the best and most accurate procedure)

    hope this help ..and Best of luck 🌹

  • Why is it that nobody is mentioning going gluten free? IBS?=go gluten free Bloating?=go gluten free bladder problems on top of all that definitely =go gluten free! Even if your not coeliac still do it! Gluten is a nothing ingredient, it had no nutritional value at all and we as human beings are not built to digest such a flood. Gluten is Latin for glue. Infact gluten is so much like glue that it actually takes 6 months of totally cutting it out in order to get it out of your system. It is also an inflammatory so you should cut it out with any inflammatory illness such as exsezma, IBS and also arthritis too. I do speak from experience

  • I've cut it out for past 3 months and hasn't made any difference to me :-(

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