Does anyone think their IBS is caused by stres... - IBS Network

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Does anyone think their IBS is caused by stress/anxiety?

rustydog
rustydog
21 Replies

Just that really!

I’ve been an anxious person most of my life and have had IBS symptoms for almost 18 years.

Although I am really careful with my diet (doing low fodmap), careful not to eat my trigger foods, exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink (boring old sod!), try to relax and listen to a hypnotherapy vid on YouTube regularly p, I can’t get to the bottom (pardon the pun!) of what actually causes my bad guts.

I’ve been having almost daily symptoms for the last Four months ( always have had symptoms but they’ve not been as bad last summer) and during these four months I’ve also been very very anxious (my son is having school anxiety which is really stressing me out).

It doesn’t help that I’m constantly thinking I’ve got something awful going on even though GP says it’s IBS, I can’t stop the negative thoughts creeping in.

I really am desperate to sort this out once and for all this year ( have a gastroenterologist appointment next month) but if it’s caused by my anxiety and I’m a naturally anxious person, I fear that I’m never going to get rid of this ball and chain I drag round on a daily basis.

Is anyone else out there anxious? Do you think your symptoms are caused by your nervous disposition?

Btw, my symptoms are constant activity in my guts with constant rumblings, wind, distended and discomfort, feeling I need the loo and just a general feeling my tummy is just angry!

21 Replies
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SueMount

Yes it is defo partly caused by anxiety. I am the same but my triggers are travelling. I always have an attack if I know I have to go a long distance in the car or on a train. Holidays are a nightmare for me. I had cognitive therapy last year, it does help but you have to change you whole mindset and keep at it. It teaches you mind fullness and coping strategies.

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rustydog
rustydog
in reply to SueMount

Yes, I hate traveling I get really angst if I get stuck in traffic. I’m on a waiting list for CBT hoping it will help.

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SueMount
SueMount
in reply to rustydog

I had CBT, It sort of works but you have to keep at it. I was okay while having it but you soon slip back in to old habits once it stops. Its a mind set. It does make you think more rationally. I used to have the same things go round and round in my head while I was in a stressful situation. It does teach you to break that cycle.

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Stella180
Stella180
in reply to SueMount

Anxiety and stress are without a doubt my main trigger. Sometimes during a stressful situation I thing I’m fine and then when I start to wind down it hits me head on. It may be worth speaking to your GP about help with your anxiety. I also strongly recommend Mindfulness. It can really help to reduce anxiety levels.

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Hidden
Hidden

Mine is caused by anxiety it started when my anxiety was really bad. I have daily stomach rumbling/twitching, chest pain, acid reflux, needing to wee a lot, trouble with bowel movements but doctors have done tests and came back clear of anything serious.

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rustydog
rustydog
in reply to Hidden

I have the same symptoms as you, hoping a can get it under control this year, it’s so argh!!

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North_London

Anxiety and nerves definitely a factor. My daughters gets worse during exam periods . Have seen a pattern now stress plays a big part . She now uses a well being app to help calm nerves .

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rustydog

Which app does your daughter use North?

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Juleswhite1

You are not on your own, everything you just wrote was like my own words, mine also has got worse over the past 5 months, I have doc appointment next week because I am worried sick too.

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rustydog

It’s horrible Jules its so easy to feel alone as we generally don’t discuss our bowel habits with most people and that can leave you feeling desperate, I’m glad for forums like this. Hope all goes well at docs.

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Hidden
Hidden

Definitely! And it has been a big part in beating my IBS too.

sickofibs.com/ibs-triggers/...

Alison

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rustydog
rustydog
in reply to Hidden

Thanks for that Alison 🤗

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majesticpinetree

Anxiety and stress def play a part in my IBS-D. I can be feeling fine and sticking to the diet, then I get anxious and my symptoms cone back. I firmly believe there is a correlation between anxiety/stress and IBS.

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Carla33

I totally agree with you. Mine came on after I met a bi polar man. I was very tensed up most of the time. It was stress according to my doctor. Now it won't go away. I don't want to take PPI's as they screw your bones up. There is nothing in western medicine that will help, but I was told by my chinese endodontist that chinese accupuncture will fix it. I will try that and see if it works. He gave me the name of a very reputable one.

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majesticpinetree

I can certainly understand why you would be tensed up. I have heard that accupuncture can help with stress and anxiety. If you try it let me know if it helps. Thank you!

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Ritebacktou

Same here. I’ve had problems since 2008 when I was severely anxious due to a very bad breakup. I’ve had long periods of feeling ok, but then it’s back. Current attack was triggered last April after a family member died after a horrible illness. Still haven’t got it under control. The biggest problem is that IBS causes even more stress with the fear and anxiety of wondering if I will ever feel ok again. Big vicious cycle. Very hard to control anxiety when you can’t see an end to the pain and poor quality of life that accompanies this condition. This is a great site, really appreciate reading about similar experiences.

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rustydog

I feel your pain, I’m stuck in the same cycle and think my anxiety over it all is being made worse by the memories of losing a very young family member a few years back.

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torcol

I am convinced that IBS is anxiety induced. Now that I know this is what I have I don’t worry anymore. When I am running for the toilet I am literally saying “good, let’s get this over with so I can get on with my day”! It is what it is, I have IBS😊

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GFFlamingo

Hi rustydog! (and everyone)

I feel like you've just described really well everything I've been feeling over these past few months, which is especially refreshing as I only joined this forum yesterday. I've been waiting and waiting to hear someone describe exactly how I feel, so it's so nice to know I'm not the only one! (Which I know is silly, but sometimes it feels that way doesn't it!)

I'm sorry you're feeling all these things. I hope these nine months has seen some improvement in how you're feeling, both physically and mentally. <3

Do you find that even if your stomach is feeling okay, you start worrying about it not being okay, and then it starts not being ok?

I don't know about you guys, but I find it especially stressful being in quiet or packed rooms, where everyone is silent or listening to one person speak. Exam halls were awful. But if you have to be in a separate room during an exam or sit on the end of rows in a social environment (so you can make a quick getaway!) people start asking questions, and the worst thing is I find it too embarrassing to be able to tell them the truth.

I just feel like this is affecting loads of aspects of my life- what I'm wearing, what I'm eating, when I'm socialising- I'm just constantly planning how to get through this event or that event, what to do if I suddenly have a flare-up and how to explain myself if people ask. It's exhausting! Do you all experience this too???

Hope you're doing okay now, or at least a bit better, rustydog :-)

(P.S, I'm sorry about this message being really long, I've never been on a blog-type-thing before, so I don't know if I'm breaking 'convention' or not! :0 )

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Decorative

Hi Rusty,you have actually hit the nail on the head. Mine got worse when I returned back to work after almost five years employment gap. It is always exacerbated by nervousness and anxiety.

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Jos10

Hi, sorry to hear about your suffering.I'm going through exactly the same thing.I'm almost 55 and I've always had problems with my gut, constipation being the main problem.I went to the doctors when I was 18 because of extreme pain that I thought was appendicitis.I had to have an internal exam but it turned to be trapped wind.I can't remember if the consultant ever mentioned IBS but, after that, I was always aware what foods triggered constipation & wind and I avoided spicy foods, beans etc.I was obsessed with my bowels and remember looking up IBS in a medical book and anxiety was mentioned a lot, as in the vicious cycle of thinking too much about what *else* it could be.I've had episodes where I've been sat on the toilet for hours because I couldn't get rid of bowel contents and worrying about what to eat on holiday, before work etc, but I never had diarrhea that much so I thought I had a lazy bowel and not IBS.

I've had a very traumatic time since last December.My 12yr old cat was diagnosed with cancer on December 27th and I was back and forth to the vet for weeks but my cat passed on 3rd March.My twin sister then then found a lump near her breast & had to wait three weeks for an appointment at a breast clinic but it turned out to be a harmless lymph node.My job is stressful and, at the end of May, the cramping, wind and gurgling started.It lasted two days then my belly felt like it was always full, I felt like I was coming on a period(I was still having shorter periods) and sometimes the pain was on the left then the right.I suspected that anxiety was the cause and I put up with the dull ache but made an appointment with my doctor just to get a professional opinion.I decided to take Sennna Calm and that helped a lot, especially with the wind & gurgling.I still have a dull ache that shifts from right to left but it's not as bad as it was.My doctors appointment is next Tuesday and I've kept a diary of what I've eaten and how I've felt.I hope it's just trapped wind as it was when I was 18 but the worrying probably makes the symptoms worse as your mind is focused on your bowels 24/7.

I've actually felt better after finding this forum.Thank you everybody for being candid about your probems.

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