IBS and a new job - major concerns and anxieti... - IBS Network

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IBS and a new job - major concerns and anxieties. Advice please!


Hi everyone. I have had ibs for ten years, it flares up when I’m stressed really badly, then settles slightly more (but still present) when I’m relaxed. Overall it is a daily battle, as soon as I eat something I get stomach ache and need to run to the toilet urgently. I survive by taking Imodium - I honestly don’t know what I would do without it.

I’m starting a new job in 3 weeks and I have massive anxiety about any jobs because my ibs flares up and this in turn triggers massive anxiety. I’m really worried about when or if I can eat when I’m working as my ibs is really bad and I don’t want to be running to the toilet all the time, especially when I’m training and wanting to make a good impression. But then I’m worried that I will feel ill all the time because I haven’t eaten.

It’s such a big thing for me changing jobs and because I suffer with anxiety and depression anyway this extra stress on top is really majorly getting me down. Im after any advice anyone can give really, so sick of ibs rearing its ugly head all the time, I’m only 28 and already exhausted from fighting this daily.

8 Replies

Hi Lucy, how worrying for you. Are you taking any medications or treatment to help with your anxiety? It might be worth seeing your doctor if you haven’t already as there are many options out there which can help SSRIs, beta blockers, cognitive behavioural therapy to name a few. Also there’s no shame in telling your new employer you have IBS so they will understand when you have flare ups. There’s definitely time for you to manage your symptoms before you start your job if you go to your doctors very soon. Best of luck x

Are you on any anti depressants? I'm 29 and found the only thing that helps is mirtazapine 30mg, even the 15mg! It helps anxiety and also has a constipation side affect... which is a bonus for us with ibs - d!

Maybe talk to your gp about options to help the anxiety but at the same time have side effects that will compliment it. Best of luck with the new job well done!!

Hi. I have been on fluoxetine a couple of times before and diazepam when my anxiety was really bad but I’m not taking anything at the moment. I have an appointment with the gp next week as my prescriptions need renewing so I will ask about any other medications. I try to stay off medication as much as I can but I think maybe having something to take the edge off might help. I moved house 6 months ago and my ibs has been flaring up ever since so it’s about time I tried to tackle the causes again. Thanks for your reply.

I’ve just started a new job 4 weeks ago. I have only recently been diagnosed with IBS at the start of the year, it all started with an extremely stressful period in my last job and I thought all my troubles were going to be solved on my 1st day in my new post, that wasn’t to be the case. I’ve been on fluoxetine for my anxiety for the last 6 weeks and feel slightly better. Anyway I got through it and have settled in, it’s just about the new norm for me now. The 1st week was horrible, I must have been in the toilet 10 times a day. Anyway I’m sure you will be fine, just be careful what you eat at work and maybe give yourself some additional time in the morning to have breakfast and use the toilet etc.. I have a few hours from when I get up to when I have to leave the house and it has made a huge difference.

Hi Lucy

First of all, I totally feel where you coming from. I'm 28 and have struggled with pretty much all your symptoms.

But, about three months ago, I went to a specialist and she recommended a probiotic. The one I went on is called Alflorex. There's quite a few threads about it on here. I cannot explain to you how much it has helped me. I went from almost debilitating IBS to just about all my symptoms cleared.

Yes, it's pricey but also...mental health. So if you can get your hands on it, give it a go and try it. If you need any other info or just want to talk, send me a message.

Best with the new job, sure you'll be great!

Thank you so much. I find being young, the thought of dealing with this all my adult life quite daunting. Where do you get this probiotic from? At this point I’m willing to try anything, as I previously said, all of the medications apart from Imodium have been useless.

Regarding mental health, a lot of it is due to my condition, but I am also a very anxious person anyway. I have had cbt in the past but because a lot of it focuses on ibs and needing to be around a toilet constantly, i never feel like they truly get the problem. Unfortunately unless you have experienced the urgency or had to squat in a lay-by (guilty and tmi - sorry!) I think people don’t really understand the fear or why it’s there. Thanks for your comment, it really helps not feeling so alone.

Apologies for the late response!

At this point I think TMI doesn't register with us anymore. Haha.

I have the probiotic shipped to me via ebay. There's an option to buy it in two month packages. I say give it a go. The company recommends you do the trial period of 8 weeks. I could see the difference in the first few weeks, so I just stayed on it. Now heading for my fifth month and my stomach just feels stronger and in control of its damn self.

Do let me know how things are going with the new job!


Hi, I am sorry you are suffering like this and I think it is key to get your anxiety under control, even if that is taking another pill for a while. A new job is always stressful on it's own without your IBS alongside. When I started a new job last year, it was in a smallish office of about 24 people, I was in a meeting with the office manager and some other colleagues when OM started gurgling and briefly left the meeting. It turns out that she was completely open with her colleagues about her colitis. Another colleague was coeliac. Everyone knew and made allowances, including good quality loo roll, which helped me to be open about my IBS too. It really does take a level of stress out of it if you don't feel you have to hide it. Also, if it is a reasonable sized company, they may have a nurse or GP that you can talk to, failing that, an HR person. If they know you have an illness, they should legally make allowances for you, in UK at least. Tbh, I can talk poo with anyone now.

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