Too embarrassed to see the Doc

For at least the past four/five years I've been suffering with what I assumed was IBS, I would constantly get awful cramps, and 9 times out of 10 would have to run to the closest toilet immediately. It's always been hard for me to go anywhere out of fear that it would start up again, but just recently (well, the past year or so) it's gotten so much worse. The cramps are terrible, but it is the loose stools that are really causing me the problem. I feel like I am constantly on the toilet, I'm too scared to leave the house unless I know I will have access to a toilet when I need it. Just taking my son to pre-school in a morning, and picking him up later has become a huge task for me, I feel on the verge of a panic attack every morning, and sometimes I don't even take him in it's that bad. I quit my job out of fear that I would have an attack whilst travelling there.

I know my only option is to go to the Doctors, but as I have quite bad social anxiety anyway I'm worried that it will all be blamed on that, and I won't be given any treatment for the IBS (if that is even what it is)

I take Imodium regularly, but that doesn't work some days.

I just wanted to know what it is I should say to my GP, and what treatment I might expect?

14 Replies

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  • Dear G-run

    It sounds like you have got into a vicious cycle. The anxiety triggers the IBS and the IBS sets off the anxiety and panic of a mishap. Do try and get to see your doctor. He or she will have heard it all before and just the fact that this site exists shows that many people suffer with IBS type symptoms. you don't say if you are getting any help or medication for your social anxiety but this could be the first step towards feeling better. Tell the doctor exactly the same as you have posted here...you won't be judged or blamed but it sounds like you could definitely do with some reassurance and there are many things out there to help you like relaxation classes, cognitive therapy, etc as well as medications to calm things down both with the anxiety and the cramps and tummy problems.

    Please try and be brave and go. Take a friend, if you can for moral support. Tell the doctor how this problem is controlling your life and how desperate you feel - it will hopefully be your first step towards taking back that control. Doctor's surgeries always have loos so don't worry if you need to use one whilst there. The doctor may need to feel your tummy whilst there so wear comfy clothes but on a first consultation you needn't fear anything else. If your not happy with the doctor's diagnosis, ask to see another one as you really don't need to suffer with this.

    Lots of good luck to you, come back and let us know how you get on. People on here are very supportive. Best wishes. K

  • Unfortunately the real trick is to get past the GP for a referral to a gastroenterologist. Most GPs don't seem to understand IBS. You may have to stress the urgency of your bowel movements. My doctor had me on the low-priority referral until I told her that on occasion I could not make it to the toilet in time and crapped my pants. On the plus side, that got to to the specialist quickly :)

    They'll want to do loads of blood tests, poop tests, breath tests, ultrasounds etc. You should have a colonoscopy as well.

    If you start a food and symptom diary, that would be helpful to bring in.

    Treatment might include medication, changes in diet, a psychologist, etc.

    The more frank and open you are, the better. Good luck. Feel free to send any questions my way.

  • Oh and please don't be embarrassed. It can be hard at the start, but everybody poops. Your doctor has seen it all. And the specialist picked a career in guts, poop and backsides, so they've seen more than you and I can imagine.

  • Hi Runswithdogs couldnt have put it better myself; that was ammazing !

    Best wishes s x

  • Thanks! Best wishes to you as well.

  • Hi the only test Iv not had is the breath test !

    Can you tell me more please ?

    S x

  • I believe it was called a hydrogen breath test. To test fructose malabsorption or something similar. I had to drink a solution then blow through a straw..... It's been a few years since i had done it.

  • Wish i could get a referral. at the moment its just blood tests and stool sample. they have now said if it shows nothing this time it will be colonoscopy but what i dont understand is why they cant just refer to gastro specialist to have an app and discuss all symptoms etc then let them determine what is best. obviously i am dreading the possibility of having it and i dont feel the gp is best qualified to decide it either

  • On the plus side it sounds like your GP at least takes it seriously. The colonoscopy (and gastroscopy) aren't fun, but it's not that bad either. Hopefully you get that referral soon.

  • Hi I am so sorry to hear that you are having such a bad time with running to the toilet. I have ulcerative colitis and at the moment I am having a flare. I am under my specialist and due to go into hospital for test to see why I am flaring. It sounds to me that you need to get a referral to see a specialist to get test done and once they get you on the right medication it will get it under control. I strongly suggest that you go see you GP and get a referral to see a specialist. There is so much they can do now to help you. Please go and see your GP first and that is your first step. But don't live like that because there is help. I wish you all the good luck from the bottom of my heart. ❤️ Take care

  • I know exactly how you feel. I've just been to the doctor. My second flare up in a month and I knew I had to do something.

    I wrote all my symptoms out and worked my way through them. She listened and decided an internal was called for. That's ok really as far as those things go.

    What spurred me on was that one friend has died of bowel cancer recently, another recovered and another is having treatment so between that and constantly seeing signs advertise that we don't die of embarrassment and thinking 'what is it isn't actually IBS you've got?' I bit the bullet and swallowed my embarrassment and made an appointment.

    Anyway, I'm sure the doctor thinks it is IBS - there was no blood involved despite the pain - I've had it for thirty years but I provided a poo sample on Tuesday and I've got blood tests tomorrow - hopefully that is to eliminate the possibility of it being cancer.

    Just write out a bullet pointed list of your symptoms. Tell him what you've been taking and say you want further investigations - my case I said I was worried it might be bowel cancer, that's probably not what you're worried but it might spur your doctor into taking you seriously.

  • Are you having any help with any of these problems ?

    I have all this but am having CBT Have been on Amitrityline that helped a lot.

    My IBS came on strait after having my doughter ! And like you had ALL your probs you must see GP and health visitor SOON

    Blessings S x Please let me know how you get on we are all here for you. DONT DESPAIR !

  • You need to give them as much detail as possible and be graphic. if they dont have all the info it will be harder to treat you or know what to test for. stress does do weird things to your body but there may be some medication that you could take to help it

  • Hi babe patricia here its sounds like ibs the hortible spasms & never far from the toilet but other automunne diseases have yhe same symtoms I thought I had ibs for over ten yrs thevpain & spasms I had were so real & intense painfull but I carried on suffering for ever untill I lost so much weight & needed a blood transfusion becouse I had severe anemia brought on by not getten the right nutrients & eaten gluten then they told me it was not ibs but coeliac disease so they got it wrong for me so take the courage to see your doctor so you can rule out things my sister found out hers was divicurtistis & not ibs shes never far from the toilet & lose stools all the time so she dusent go out much incase of accidents but now she takes loperamide for her dyria they help her a lot now she goes out more & can get things done so dont leave it hun like I did for yrs act now stay safe patricia

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