Panic attacks and IBS HELP!: Hi all, I'm new... - IBS Network

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Panic attacks and IBS HELP!


Hi all,

I'm new here on the site and looking for words of advice and comfort! I'm a 20yr old female and have suffered three panic attacks in the last 2 weeks, two of which were followed by a sudden need for a bowel movement (and not a nice one). I have had panic attacks before, usually triggered by catastrophic thinking but currently, I have nothing to worry about in my personal life to cause this level or number of panic attacks (e.g. money, relationships, work) and I am aware that I am very happy yet cannot shake this anxious feeling and constant heart rate of 115bpm!! (thank you for reminding me fitbit!!)

I was diagnosed with IBS and a hiatus hernia two years ago and put on Omeprazole which I take every day and Dustapalin which I no longer take as I haven't had any symptoms of IBS for about a year until now. I constantly feel on the edge of a panic attack and was wondering if any other IBS sufferers have had similar experiences and if so, what you did to prevent/improve the feelings of anxiety.

Many thanks!

13 Replies

Really sorry to hear how you are feeling but firstly you are not alone and just knowing that I found a comfort

I am exactly the same I'm a happy person no problems but I have panic attacks and need to "go" and it is horrible

I am a lot better now relaxation is a big key to getting well There are nice videos on YouTube for relaxation for ibs Michael Sealey is excellent

I find I think about it on every outing not sure if that is the same with you ? I have to know where the toilets are once I do I calm down

I use a disabled toilet when I can as they are nice and private like going into a little bathroom I feel like I shouldn't be "going" when I'm out which I know is silly but I sort of feel dirty That's crazy as I've been in toilets where people obviously go and they don't worry !

I kept a diary too and that really helped and made me realise mostly it's my thoughts of "what if"that kept the panics coming and I'm not like it at home so it's definitely for me my thoughts bringing on the panic which then brings on the need to go

I buy supermarket own brand Imodium tablets and take one before I go out if I feel really bad but I don't need them so much now

I know what you are going through but you can get better I have very good days now and not so many bad so if you need to chat please message me

I am female by the way a mum and granny and there is nothing you can tell me that I haven't experienced loo wise so don't feel embarrassed about anything !!

Sending a hug as I know how rotten it is xx

Nerissa in reply to Cat33

Hi I take a low 25 of amitriptyline every night which helps as I was the same as you but I get very stressed before travelling so I too take 2 Imodium night before and the doctor gave me Xanax for when travelling , I have 0.5mg tablets I only take half of that twice a day when going on holidays or somewhere I know might be hard to find toilets. It's really low dose but helps me and I'm away sometimes for a month and as soon as I come I stop and have never any problems withdrawing from the Xanax. Also applied for a disabled toilet key and card in different languages asking to use their toilet from I think that's the website. Hope this helps, my ibs is quite bad as born with a bowel at least twice the size of normal one and parts of it don't work anymore. I think what I take works. I saw top bowel specialist and he told me all the spasmonal tablets for ibs not worth it just take Imodium and go on with your life even if you have to take them a lot it doesn't matter. So I followed that and the amitriptyline is only for the nerves of the bowel x

Cat33 in reply to Nerissa

Hi Nerissa Ive just received your message I'm wondering if you meant to reply to the original post like I did and its come to me by mistake It's full of information that I'm sure she would appreciate so just thought I'd check to make sure she gets it All the very best xx

Nerissa in reply to Cat33

Oh sorry it did it again but I deleted quick.hopefully they will see my reply 😬

Nerissa in reply to Nerissa

Oh sorry I'm not sure how that happened

Cat33 in reply to Nerissa

I think it's gone on to her replies ok just didn't want it to get lost Thanks x

veronica20 in reply to Nerissa

Hi there :)

Thank you for your reply, I'm unsure of what the medication you have suggested is but I have arranged a doctors appointment and will discuss this further with him :) I get nervous about taking medication because I'm quite young and worry about becoming dependant on it.

It's interesting though that your specialist thought this of spasmonal tablets - I have used Buscopan but I haven't had much success with it so far.

Thank you so much for all your advice :) Xx

veronica20 in reply to Cat33

Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to write me such a thoughtful message it was so comforting to read!

I've downloaded a few of the video's you've suggested on my phone and will be giving them a try tonight :)

Yes, I do find it's every time I go out and also find that I get anxious before I start eating and after because I'm so unsure of the outcome but I'm trying to teach myself some reassurance as I've cut out lots of the common triggers from my diet e.g. wheat/dairy, so I know that by stressing I'm only making the situation worse!

I will definitely take up your idea of a diary - even if it's just notes on my phone because it's the panic attacks that are affecting me the most and that may help me to relax.

Thank you so much again for all of your advice, waking up to your message set me up for a positive day and now I'm off to try a bit of Michael Sealey! :) hope you are well.


Cat33 in reply to veronica20

I'm so glad I could be of some help you take lots of care and I hope you will see an improvement I know how horrible it is but relaxation is definitely the cure

Oh I forgot to say DARE response by Barry McDonagh is a fabulous book for panic/anxiety really can recommend it All the very very best and remember you are not alone xx

Try the NO PANIC website they are very helpful and have lots of expertise - also they have a helpline where you can talk to someone who knows all about panic attacks and anxiety. That would be my first stop. You can ring the helpline from home which is good when you are feeling like that.

After that you could see the doctor again if needed to see if there is anything else that they can offer. There is lots of help out there now for panic attacks. They are well known and many people have them at some stage in their life. You are not alone.

Hope you find the things that help you along with some good advice.

I will keep you in my prayers that you will recover soon from them.

Thank you for your reply, I've checked out out the no panic website and it looks very helpful - so thank you!

It is comforting to know I'm not alone, my family and boyfriend don't really understand them or why I get them so it's quite hard and frustrating for both sides as they do come out of what seems like nowhere. I've arranged a doctors appointment for later this week to talk about it :)

Thank you for your prayers and very helpful advice I appreciate it massively - I hope you are well.

I can relate to some of what you're saying. I'm in my late 30's now, but I had trouble in my mid-thirties with panic attacks. My young daughter was born with some life threatening medical complications. Several times while my wife and I were at home with her, she had turned blue and became unresponsive. I had never been more scared in my life. I think that is what started it with me.

However, I've come to find that stomach issues and anxiety can be a two way street. Even after my daughter got to a point where I didn't have to worry about her health, I would still get panic attacks. It always seemed to happen after I ate at work. I've also experienced the anxiety until pooping issue. I think our stomachs can get messed up due to things like stress and that the stomach can push anxiety even when our minds are at ease.

It's frustrating how most people think it's all in your head. When really, both the brain and the stomach have serotonin receptors (low levels of serotonin can be a primary cause of anxiety). This is why people are prescribed antidepressant medications for anxiety, it helps raise the serotonin levels in our brains and/or stomachs.

But anyway, like one of the others who have replied suggested, I have found relief with a relatively low dose of amitriptyline (old tri-cyclic antidepressant, used off-label at lower doses for migraines, nerve pain, IBS, etc...), 20 mg of omeprazole daily, and chewing gum (it helps stimulate saliva and helps with acid reflux). This combo seems to have worked well for me!

I feel much more at ease these days and don't have panic attacks anymore. So don't give up hope! I wouldn't jump onto the benzodiazepine train (ativan, xanax, etc...) as they are very addicting with regular use. But, I'm sure there are techniques and/or some small dose of medication that can help you!

Good luck and take care!


The panic attacks are the culprit. The gut issues will not go away, it’s the body’s response to the panic and anxiety. You must learn to retrain your brain. Do not wake up and instantly think “I wonder if”, “what if”, it’s already a negative start to the day. You have to get up, say ok, I have to ............ today, I’m going to get this and this done, go to work, have this for dinner, and so forth. Do not allow negative thoughts, immediately replace them with, it could be worse, It’s another great day, I can do whatever I want, I will not let this control me. You have to be positive and why not? What’s the alternative? You have the power, only you can make your day good or bad!

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