Changes in nature of IBS flare ups: Do the... - IBS Network

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Changes in nature of IBS flare ups


Do the nature of IBS flareups change over time? I have had flare ups, on and off, for probably 10 or more years. but this most recent flare up is different. It is lasting longer (now into about my 4th straight week of hell), the symptoms are different (more C than D), the pain is different (more constant) and even completely new symptoms (can actually feel the spasms in my colon). i am seeing a specialist, but man, i am freaking out. I feel like this must be something more catastrophic, and now am in a feedback loop where the more i am convinced, the more i feel the symptoms. but they feel so real....could this be caused by anxiety? Ugh.

18 Replies

Yes they keep changing! Its really difficult. Over many years my symptoms have changed from c to d, then now they seem to be changing again for no apparent reason. I was worried like you it must be something different (or worse), but no it was still ibs

thank you for the reply. Just in hell with this. Symptoms have been non stop for a month now.

Ibs is all about anxiety from my experience and dozens and dozens of post on here back up. Our brain and gut are closely linked. I think my flare ups carry on as I worry about them affecting my life and so the vicious circle goes. Been okay well no continued bouts of diarrhoea for a very very long time even with personal stressful times. Since Easter I have not been right for more than a day now So annoyed!

amazing, isnt it, what the brain can do to the body?

Am relating to your post cause I've been managing immune dysfunction & connective tissue disorder-related IBS-C-like slow transit dysmotility all my life via high fibre Low FODMAP antiinflammation diet. I've done a reasonably good job of this. I know because my hero husband has meanwhile been surviving early onset Crohn's disease, so his signs & symptoms etc help me keep mine in perspective

I'm 63 now. I've always avoided various FODMAPs that triggered increase in my characteristic GI issues. And about 15 years ago I began to have to exclude certain types of fruit & veg (inc wholemeal breads) I'd been ok eating for most of my life.

Then 20 months ago my lower GI issues went ballistic. I spent all these months trying movicol + more dietary exclusions....and have ended up on a No Fibre diet with daily Nonfermentable Bulking Agent (methylcellulose Celevac tabs) morning & evening + stimulant (ortisan cube (1/2)) in the evening before bed. By No Fibre I mean no fruit & veg (inc no whole grains, seeds, nuts...and not even smoothies, strained & liquidised soups etc) although I can at least tolerate white rice & peeled potatoes & white pasta, bread etc. This regime is approved by my NHS colorectal surgeon, gastroenterologist & dietician. Meanwhile I've read enough legit studies to know I am not alone in experiencing gradual changes in my version of IBS-like signs & symptoms. So hang on in there Phil! I'm trying not to overthink & scare myself...and I have a feeling lots of us here are too 😉

The signs & symptoms you're describing are amongst the probs I've had all my life. This sort of thing is what flared/increased suddenly & severely & persistently 20 months ago. I tried to self-manage this flare, but gave up last Dec & got gp referral to gasttornterology. First, of course, I underwent endoscopy procedures (yet again: have had several gastroscopies over the years (I have chronic oesophagitis + gastritis due to slow transit motility bowel bacterial overgrowth + bring prescribed daily oral NSAIDs for too many years) and colonoscopies. The endoscopies established no change in my upper GI conditions & no lower GI IBD or cancer. Since then I've had 2 gastroenterology appts, & next week I see the dietician for the second time. My next gastroenterology appt is in 6 months...during this time I'm to keep some pain scoring system thing the clinic gives patients (FLIPPIN boring: have already gone multiple personal records of my eating/drinking/BM/symptoms & treatments...these have all helped me to know my case better...but the thought of more of this is not enticing)

Sorry for going on at such length...I hope something in there is useful to you. My feeling is that you deserve to see gastroenterology soon...when is your next appt?

Yes, of course the brain can influence our physical health. But underlying physical predispositions are just as influential. In my case: Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility + infant onset Systemic Lupus + early onset Sjogrens + hypogammaglobulinaemia Primary Immunodeficiency...all in treatment at the same university hospital as my gastroenterology clinic

Take care

🍀🍀🍀🍀 coco

I've always had IBS-d but in February started with the spasms in my gut. I thought it was a high intake of veg, including celery! Didn't fully settle, saw my GP after 3-4 weeks and was prescribed mebeverine which has made some things better. The spasms have certainly eased, but constipation is a problem now, along with some blurred vision and sleeplessness. I've not had any mebeverine for more than 48 hours and the pain hasn't returned fully, though I am aware of it.

Looking at the new NICE guidance as long as there is no blood in your faeces, or you haven't lost weight unexpectedly, and bloating isn't constant, then there is no little chance of it being anything sinister.

Our brains are terrible for causing problems. My Sister in Law had begun treatment for anal cancer in February and as I am a recently retired nurse I was the family member most closely involved with helping out from the health perspective...doh! No wonder my brain was playing tricks on me. I am also 61 and my IBS had never been like this before, nor for so long. I panicked and was really anxious about it, but I have calmed down a lot now.

I do somatise issues and that is what has happened this time. I was reading something about health anxiety and...the symptoms are real, so the pain is real so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

CBT and mindfulness can help if your Doctors say nothing else is causing the problem.

Not much advice, but hopefully you'll know you're not alone.

thank you all for the responses. Indeed, it does help to hear other people are suffering the same afflictions, and getting through it. It is that deep fear of the worst that ends up being the catalyst for more stomach problems. I am finding it is about staying out of that feedback loop - the more the worry, the worse the pain, the worse the pain, the more the worry. Feeling a bit better last 48 hours, so that helps too.

This is exactly how I have been feeling for the past 5 yo 6 weeks now. I've had pain nearly every single day, bad constipation, someone on here suggested Golden Linseed soaked in water for an hour for constipation and I have to say that it has made it much better than it was. Been very bloated so much so I'm having to be very picky with my clothes and I have, like you, been worried about something more sinister and so much so I phoned my doctor earlier this week to make an appointment as I was convinced I had Ovarian Cancer. After I explained my symptoms with the doctor he didn't think it was anything sinister. Funnily enough I felt better after talking to him so think that this is anxiety. I am keeping the appointment on my calendar at the moment but may cancel it. I am lucky in that I am leaving work in just over a week and will have more time to spend on my diet. Just get fed up as can't seem to eat anything without it having an affect on me.

I have also been suffering with nausea and tiredness.

Best of luck to you and hope you start to feel better very soon.

Get on the FODMAP diet, alleviates loads of problems 👍🏼

Thank you Lynne and I am going to look at this and I have seen on here that some people have got the free Maestro app for the iPhones. How have you been following it i.e. where have you obtained the diet from?

Thanks very much :)

My dietician told me about it, it's so easy to use, I can eat normally now and my pain has subsided. It splits all foods up for you so that you don't eat the bad stuff. Basically you stay on it religiously for 8 weeks , check out the Kings College site for IBS, it's all on there. Good luck , it will help tremendously, but this is for the UK only. Food varies in other countries 👍🏼

Thank you Lynne and really appreciate your help. I am in the UK as well so will look at the Kings College site. Really pleased you are so much better :)

Always check the app, never assume you can have 1 product never mind who produces it. You have have lacto free full cream milk but not semi skimmed, HP baked Beans but not Heinz ! Check everything and build up a shopping list. Asda have loads of foods you can have . Good luck and I hope it helps 👍🏼

Thank you Lynne and that's really helpful and so glad you are now able to eat normally :)

Well I do have the odd day when I forget to check something but that I can cope with. It's basic things I miss, bread 😩 but Tesco do free from rolls and Marks do a lovely sourdough bread in their free from range. I can't bake but Morrisons have a fab gingerbread mix and Yorkshire pudding mix. No chance of starving now 🍞. The app says that I can't have any meat but according to my dietician that's not right, I have a fish and shellfish allergy which excludes loads of foodstuffs 😂

Thank you Lynne and have to say that I agree with your dietician - I'm not trained but all of the stuff I have read in the internet and here doesn't say anything about avoiding meat. I do cook and have looked at the sourdough bread recipe online and I will be trying to make it although it has to culture for 5 days! I bake a fair amount and am leaving work in a few days so will have a lot more time to read through diets and recipes etc. :)

The spasms aren't spasms, it's fermenting food in your gut, feels like a spasm though, difficult to explain I know. The anxiety is a side complaint because you don't know what the hell is wrong.

You sound like I feel, desperate! Feel as if no one cares at all, they don't know what it is, so just stick the 'IBS' label on it.......Feel so ill and there is never any warning, it just arrives, out of the blue and completely wrecks our lives........the only consolation is knowing we are not alone. For me the nausious feeling and horrible taste are the most debilitating of all.

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