IBS C anxiety : I wake up in the morning almost... - IBS Network

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IBS C anxiety

Gardenlover2020 profile image

I wake up in the morning almost dreading the day ahead for fear of how I’m going to be that day ...

I’m getting more & more anxious about my the IBS & constipation as it’s definitely not improving , in fact it’s getting worse , which I’m not helping with , as the more stressed I get about it the more my stomach goes into knots & then the constipation gets worse , it’s a nightmare .

I eat a healthy diet , high in fibre , but low FODMAP, I drink at least 4 litres of water a day & walk about 20,000 steps a day .

I take Prucalopride but have had to add Senna as well now , as things have been slowing down .

I’m doing everything I should be to help with constipation, but still it’s getting worse .

I do breathing exercises & listen to mindfulness videos to help with the anxiety, and also tried antidepressants but couldn’t get on with them as they made my stomach even worse .

Can anyone offer any advice on the anxiety please as I’m getting so wound up with continual bad days & the menopause isn’t helping either !

Thank you & apologies for the long post ..

56 Replies

Sorry to hear ur having such a bad time I'm the opposite I dread waking up in the morning as I now I will be spending most the day sat on the loo as I suffer with IBS D I am also going through the menopause which doesn't help as I'm having bad hot flushes and night sweats which doesn't help as awake most the night. Have u seen ur GP and had test done I can not offer much help with the constapation as I don't suffer that way but my stomach is always bloated and I get pain alot in my stomach I've had test done but all normal so waiting to see a gastroenterologist now. I now u will get lots of good advice on here about ur problem sorry I couldn't be more help

Thank you , my GP has done the relevant tests & has been good at prescribing different medication , but she admits she’s not an expert on IBS & after nearly a year of trying to help she said I needed a specialist .

I’ve spoken to a gastroenterologist & he’s helped a bit but anxiety isn’t his field .

Glad u got the help of ur GP and referred to the gastroenterologist. My GP was very negative think she thought it was all in my head but I managed to get her to refer me to a gastroenterologist think she just wanted me out her room in the end 🤣. Hope you get to be referred to someone who deals with anxiety as I now alot of that plays a big part in IBS flare ups. Mine started January and still struggling now I have the odd good day then back to bloating, pain and diarrhoea the next minute. I had covid 19 in November so I think mine could of been the stress of having that what started my bad flare if IBS D as I was really ill and ended up having phnumonia on my left lung but after 3 courses of antibiotics I finally started to get better but had my flare up soon after. Take care

b1b1b1 profile image
b1b1b1 in reply to 3443Ness

The antibiotics may have helped cause the flare up.

3443Ness profile image
3443Ness in reply to b1b1b1

Why do antibiotics cause flare ups. It's been 6months now and this still is a big issues for me

b1b1b1 profile image
b1b1b1 in reply to 3443Ness

I don't know. I have IBS and it was pretty much under control with the FODMAP diet and help from my dietician. I then had to take antibiotics before a dental procedure. A few days later my stomach was much worse. That was about two months ago and am still trying to get back to "normal". My understanding is that they disrupt the microbiome and kill a lot of the beneficial bugs as well.

3443Ness profile image
3443Ness in reply to b1b1b1

Very interesting I thought it could be the stress when I had covid 19 as I was very ill and couldn't breath properly but the thought of going into hospital terrified me and my anxiety was really bad. I even said to my husband if I was going to die I wanted to be at home with my family not alone with strangers. But luckily after the 3rd load of antibiotics i started to improve. I hope you start to feel better soon this ibs is so draining and stressful.

I’m sorry to hear your GP was so useless & negative, you’ve had an awful time & catching Covid as well must have been terrifying, I would imagine that’s a good deal to do with your anxiety, also antibiotics are a know cause of IBS symptoms, you’ve had an awful lot on your plate , I hope you get the help you need .

Take care too

I'm a fellow sufferer and it can be very frustrating as dr's seem to dismiss constipation just quoting lifestyle and diet as what to do , The only thing that helps is Laxido but that can be hard on the tummy ie gas/cramps plus it can cause indigestion.It's simply the lesser of two evils.

I know it’s a difficult one to solve , my doctor has handed out lots of meds and they have helped , but I struggle when the things slow down & I start to get worried the medication isn’t working so well , which then makes me worse of course , it’s a vicious circle 🙄

I have just been talking to one of my grand-daughters who has suffered on and off from anxiety (not ibs though fortunately for her), and she does journaling in the bad periods. Just so she can see, and look back over what was going on in her life, and how she felt, and try and see if the worst of it coincided with a bad period generally. Sometimes she said, just writing it down at great length helped.

I now understand the feeling you are describing, waking up, early usually, filled with dread as to how my bowel was going to function that day - I have the opposite problem, fear of needing to go urgently, how many times, will i be able to find a loo etc. It's awful. I have started to do some breathing, and relaxing, and a thing where you say (to yourself) three things you can see, three things you can hear, and tense and relax three parts of your body. Keep doing it over and over, and i have found, over the last few days, since I started it, I do feel a little less full of dread as I wake up. It's hard though.

Thank you , that’s a good idea writing it down , I keep a diary of food & ‘bathroom activity ‘ , I’ll add I additional stress as it’s all relevant .

The breathing helps & I’ve also been doing online mindfulness & the Nerva gut hypnotherapy, I think that helped , so I might try another course .

I know what you mean about the three things I looked at that online a while ago , I’ll give it another try .

The morning dread is awful , I really tried hard to breath & relax this morning & it was a better , but it isn’t always easy to do that , as we both know .

Anxiety is a bitch! So it ibs! And of course one just triggers the other and it's a constant circle of one setting off the other. It's horrible and you're not alone, I know I've been there too.

If your gp isn't being supportive don't be afraid to change, I only got proper support after 4 different gps and 2 practices. The right gp make a big difference. You need someone who listens and doesn't dismiss you, if they aren't right for you move on, they are not God and they don't get it right everytime and for every patient. But don't give up looking for the right one.

Have you thought about speaking counselling for your anxiety? Most of us don't actually have the skills to live with long term health conditions and the anxiety that comes with it. I certainly didn't but I've found a great counsellor and she's turning my mental health around. The fodmap diet and yoga is really helping too. I posted up a yoga routine which is really gentle and that I've found effective earlier today, if you fancy trying it. It probably can't do any harm at least and you don't need to turn in to a human pretzel either!

Have you thought about hrt? Or discussed it with your gp?Not all of us can have it but it might help you. Again a good gp is the key. I know the menopause can affect your gut and can make anxiety and other mental health conditions worse so it might be a conversation worth having.

Not sure how much help all that is. Keep your chin up this can get better x

Thank that’s really helpful .

My Gp said she can’t really help anymore with the IBS after a year of trying to help , she said I needed a gastroenterologist, for which she did a referral & got me a colonoscopy, which showed up nothing , as expected.

I’ve got a private gastroenterologist now & he helps .

I think counselling is very a good idea , thanks did you get yours through the NHS ?

I do a little yoga but happy to try some more .

I came off the Hrt I was on as it wasn’t helping my stomach & following that I did some reading up on oestrogen & it can be detrimental to IBS & can also prolong it according to my online research ?

I definitely agree about the menopause causing problems too .

Thank you for your advice it’s much appreciated & it does help x

Hi Gardenlover, I too have suffered badly with anxiety. I tried every coping method myself with little success and decided I needed more help. You can self refer online without speaking to your doctor. If you google NHS talking therapies and follow the registration details. You will then get a phone call from someone who will discuss your needs and offer you the most relevant therapy, as I suffer mostly with 'Health Anxiety' I was offered an online CBT course.

To be honest I had real doubts as to whether it would really be any help but I have to say it has helped a lot. It takes time and you have to really work hard at putting the advice into practice but the more effort you put in the more you get out of it. I'm still on the programme and still have bad days, usually on the 'all consuming pain days' but the tools I've learned to curb the anxiety on the whole have really helped me. There's no quick fix to anxiety as IBS but it's worth a shot if it helps ease things. Good luck.

Thank you so much I’m going to have a look at that , I did look on the NHS information about anxiety & counselling, but didn’t go any further , I will now after what you’ve just said & thanks for guiding me in the best route to follow as my anxiety is the same , to do with my heath , it’s purely down to me having IBS.

Being truthful I’ve always been a worrier but it’s got a whole lot worse since the IBS problems increased.

It’s good to know with perseverance that the CBT has helped you & fills me with optimism that it could help me too 🙏

Thanks again

Glad you are getting some support and it sounds like your gp tried their best for you.

I got counselling support through Maggie's Highland as my IBS was triggered by chemotherapy treatment but you should be able to get it through your gp/the NHS.

I find yoga a huge help. It can be as strenuous or as gentle as I can manage that day and I find the breathing techniques are great for those moments of panic. Also I find it keeps things moving and it's helping with weight loss (always a bonus) x

Thanks for the advice .

I find yoga & especially the breathing helpful , have you tried the 4-7-8 breathing exercises, I found several on YouTube that are good . There’s also Mindfulness on the Fitbit app if you’ve got a Fitbit, that’s quite good too x

I use the calm app which has loads of breathing, meditation and mindfulness. It works out at £2 a month so not very expensive.

I've not tried that breathing technique but I've used others. Again it's one of those things that you can use with other thing to help.

Thanks I’ve looked at the Calm app but haven’t tried it yet , I did the Nerva hypnotherapy course & that was a help , they also do one called Mindset , so I’m going to to look into that next as well .

Sorry to hear you are having a tough time. Which antidepressant did you try? I suffer with constipation and overflow and the cramps are the worst for me, I now go everyday with taking 1 sachet of cosmocol and I'm due to have a nuclear transit study in 2 weeks time to find out what is going on with my motility. I think prucalapride might be an option, did you get side effects from it?

Thanks & I’m sorry you are too .

I’ve tried Fluoxetine & then the doctor gave me sertraline to try , but I haven’t done so yet as I was put off by the way fluoxetine made me feel .

I take cosmocol too , as well as the Senna at bedtime & Prucalopride in the morning . It does make me go every day but I’m trying to cut the Senna down as you become dependant on it , which I think is happening now , that’s one of the reasons I get anxious , because I know I’m taking too much medication .However the gastroenterologist doesn’t seem overly horrified by the amount I’m taking 🙄

Try the Prucalopride it really helps , I’ve had very few side effects at all and that was only in the first 2/3 days , I just felt sleepy in the evening & a bit headachy but it wore off quickly .

I'm sorry to hear you're suffering from the terrible cycle of anxiety> IBS-C> anxiety (or is it IBS-C> anxiety> IBS-C?), it's a nightmare. I can sympathise greatly, i lost my job to it last year and i'm still struggling with things now, waking up at around 02.30 many mornings in pain and then struggling through the day knackered, dreading if things repeat themselves again, which they often do. Rinse & repeat 😬

I don't have any answers but hopefully if we all share our experiences somethings will work.

What is helping me is exercise in the morning (I can't meditate or do yoga because i'm so sleep deprived i just fall asleep) as this helps me get the day going positively (once i force myself out of bed).

I've been on a low fodmap diet for about 4 months and this has helped a lot, but it's not infallible.

Colpermin helps much of the time (1 to 3 tablets a day depending on the issues).

Fybogel Mebeverin seemed to be fantastic at the start but the Ispaghula husks seem to gradually bung me up over a period of a few weeks and then it's like concrete, however, i'm going to try mebeverin tablets next so we'll so if that helps.

I'm trying Alflorex probiotics too and seeing if they help (but suspect they may be more beneficial to IBS-D).

The thing that gets me is there is so little out there for IBS-C and if we could find a diet, ideally, that loosened things up enough, or a solution that loosened things up when required, that'd be amazing.

This week i'm trying porridge so see if that, as an insoluble fibre, helps along with the soluble fibres i eat (fruits) and whether that'll consistently loosen things up.

I'm convinced if i can sort the IBS-C out i'll sort the anxiety.

Chin up, keep going: "This too shall pass" (pun intended)


Thank you for your help & advice & I’m really sorry to hear you last your job through it , but I can totally understand where you’re coming from .

Sharing our problems & advice has been hugely helpful to me , it really makes me feel like I’m not on my own with this awful IBS as like you say there’s very little advice out there at all .

I’ve got a dog so walking him helps with keeping things moving for sure & I also do dog walking so the exercise is a big bonus & you’re right it does help .

Yes , likewise with the FODMAP diet it has helped me too but again not the cure , but I’m grateful for any improvement whatsoever.

Just watch you keep up the fibre , gluten free porridge oats are good for fibre , also flax and chai seeds , I add them to anything & everything !

Warburtons do a gluten free seeded bread range which is high in fibre , in fact higher than normal whole meal bread .

Fybogel did nothing for me Cosmocol is much better , it’s an osmotic laxative so safe to take as it’s not a stimulant .

I’ve tried mebeverine but preferred the Colpermin , they’re both antispasmodics , so they do the same job .

A lot of people on here recommended Alflorex , but as yet I’ve not tried it . I take Optibac with fibre , you can buy it on Amazon .

Take care & I like the pun ! ❤️

Thank you Gardenlover2020 :)

I've just ordered some Optifibre so we'll see how that goes when a window appears in my bowel movement experimental lifestyle 🙄

I don't eat much bread anymore as one of the things the low fodmap says is that if it says it's gluten free it'll likely not be low fodmap; so i pretty much avoid gluten free (although the porridge is OK and some Shar ciabatta bread is OK). They seem to swap wheat for pea flour which is a no-no, apparently.

I aim to try and introduce potential bad things like garlic, onions & wheat but i've never had a problem free time long enough to introduce them!! One day.

I sincerely hope today is a good day ❤️

Look forward to hearing about how the Optifibre goes , I hope it works for you .

Have you got the Monash FODMAP diet app ? It says on there what bread etc you can eat , it’s really useful when you’re doing the diet . I’ve been doing it for quite a few weeks /months & I’m working my way through the reintroduction phase at the moment and like you I’m finding it hard to tell sometimes which foods aren’t suitable as I never have 2 days the same & it’s knowing whether the food I’m trialling has caused the problems or it’s just the usual annoying IBS 🙄

I rang the NHS talking therapies today and spoke to them about my IBS anxiety , they’ve booked me in for my assessment next Thursday , so thank you 🙏

I hope today has been a good day ❤️

Morning,Great news about the NHS and IBS anxiety: fair play that they've got you an appointment so quickly. My whole IBS process got binned off because of covid; i was 'lucky' to get a colonoscopy but other than that they've dropped the lot and said DIY as they have more important things to be doing (which is fair enough). Please let us know who you progress :)

I have flaxseeds coming today so will try them in tomorrow's breakfast.

I think i'll persist with the Alflorex although i never quite know whether it's snake oil or not!

I'll let you know how the Optifibre goes, when i try it :)

I have the Monash app and will look to go on the course (the 1st course of 5 is currently free on their website) as i think i'm missing something at the moment as i can't get more than a few days without an issue. I may just bite the bullet and eat a garlic bulb and see what happens 🤣

Thank you for the heads-up, i'll have another look at the app and breads to see which i can/can't eat :)

Have a good day :)


Good evening,

I was pleased too with the quick way in which they responded , but I’m sorry that your’s has been pushed aside , I wonder if they actually realise how debilitating this condition is , I can’t believe how much my life has changed in the last 18months because if it .

Flaxseeds are good , I hope they do their job !

Chia seeds are too , I’ve done a fair bit of research during lockdown , it filled the time !

Snake oil , ooh really ?😂

The Monash app is great not just for the food portions but also the other things it covers , like the course , I did the free first part too , it seemed quite good & I don’t think the whole course itself was very expensive ?

For the reintroduction part of the FODMAP diet I had a session with an online dietician, I’m glad I did as I wouldn’t have gone about it in the correct way had I not done so . She sent me booklets with specific groups of foods to try , quantities etc

Please let me know if you need any help when you come to it , I can pass on the information she gave me .

However it’s challenging when you have continuous symptoms as I’m the same 🙄

I’m braving a glass of fizz tonight 😬

Probably regret that in the morning 🤢

Have a good evening 🥂


Thank you, you too, enjoy the fizz (mental positivity is as important as physical 😂).❤️

Good afternoon, I'd love to have the information the online dietician gave you and perhaps even their details please? As you say, it can be debilitating and any help would be great, thank you :)

Hi ,

I will gladly pass on her details , she’s a fully registered dietician, I got her name from the list of approved dieticians on the IBS network.org website .

It’s Nicole Croft-O’Halloran



The information she gave was over a Zoom consultation & 3 booklets which she posted out to me .

I would imagine the Monash online course will offer the same information , as we spoke mainly about the FODMAP & reintroduction stage of it .

I always find it easy speaking to someone , rather than doing an online course that’s why I got in touch with her .

I hope she helps 🤞

Thank you very much indeed; i do need some guidance on the re-introductuon process as i think I'm doing it wrong 😁

It’s more complicated than I imagined , I wouldn’t have done it right either , if I hadn’t spoken to her .

An old friend of mine.(Dr)told m e if constipated eat.Peanuts and orange juice and it does work

hipstar profile image
hipstar in reply to Jolaine

Thanks Jolaine, might try the nuts but i have a terrible bloating reaction to orange juice!

Thanks , I’m okay with nuts but orange juice doesn’t suit me at all .

Hi sorry you are going thru it but hang in there. I have found by trail and error that by having 2 heaped tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every morning mixed with lactose free greek yoghurt my bowel movements are so much better. My trigger foods are gluten lactose onions and garlic. I also take amitriptyline at night to relax my colon and that works at last i get a good night sleep that helps with my anxiety.

hipstar profile image
hipstar in reply to Krisbetty

Thank you Krisbetty, i shall try the flaxseed ASAP :)

Thank you , that’s good to know with the amitriptyline , that’s one I’ve not tried & I’ve tried most things 🙄

I also add flax & chai seeds to meals & I agree they are a help .

I’m the same as you with gluten , onions & I don’t like garlic anyway !

Lactose seems okay , but I have mixed feelings about yoghurt , I’m going to try a lactose free one & see if that suits me better than the normal one .

I take amitriptylene on an evening have done for 4 years and it has helped my IBS a lot. Also take mebrevine daily and careful what I eat no onions, spicy food or cauliflower is a no, no. It really goes away I just learn to manage it.

Thank you Pam , I’ve tried fluoxetine, but unfortunately it made my stomach even worse , so I haven’t tried the sertraline the doctor prescribed to replace it .

I’m going to try CBT & see how I get on with that , as it’s been recommended by a fellow sufferer .

I think it is , like you say just a case of learning to live with it , which is easier said than done some days ....

Hi I’m in the same boat as you I take 1 sachet movicol every day and a scoop of optifibre which speeds up gut transit it’s a soluble fibre made of guar gum with prebiotics much better than fybogel which made the constipation much worse x

I’m sorry to hear you’re in the same boat ☹️

I take optibac probiotics with fibre & likewise I didn’t find the fybogel any good . I also take magnesium citrate but it’s hard to know how much it helps as I’m on a fair few meds 🙄


If you find something that really works let us all know lol high fibre makes things worse for me especially whole meal bread and cereals and your right about the anxiety never thought I would be obsessed with my bowels !! 😖x

I will for sure , I’m speaking to a constipation specialist on Monday so I’ll see what he’s got to say .

I’m the same totally obsessed with my bowels , I never had a problem until 18 months ago , it’s a nightmare , I just want to wake up & everything be as it was before ☹️x

Do you think it’s menopause related ? I’ve started all this since my late 40s am nearly 50 now it can slow the bowels down . Keep us posted regarding what advice they give you as it truly is a miserable existence I even asked to be put on anti depressants citilopram been taking them for few months has helped a bit with anxiety x

Yes definitely, I’m 56 & started showing signs of the menopause , about 18 months ago , around the same time as the constipation started. The specialist said menopause has a lot to do with it , due to hormonal changes . The doctor put me on HRT with oestrogen , but as I was only getting reduced periods & no other symptoms, I stopped taking it , because I read online that HRT can prolong IBS ( god forbid 🙄) and trigger symptoms x

Aw god i know exactly what your going through i wake everyday hoping i have a better day relying on my obifibre to help with the constipation and taking laxido also, its a never ending battle and the pressure on my bladder is unreal i pee like a racehorse it terrible, you could try obifibre it seems to be the only thing working even though i still have alot of bad days.

Gardenlover2020 profile image
Gardenlover2020 in reply to Kdw1

It’s awful isn’t it & I never stop peeing either , I dread to think how many times I go a day , no wonder I get through so many loo rolls 😂

I’m going to have a look at optifibre , as I’d like to reduce the amount of senna I’m taking as I’m getting dependent on it

I get bladder pain with constipation as well, it’s so painful some days. I work in the community and try to restrict what I drink to reduce pressure which doesn’t help constipation either.

I find eating fibre foods increases my cramps, so I get confused as to what to eat, should I be low or high fibre. But I have read that with slow motility high fibre can do more harm than good.

It is very confusing isn’t it , perhaps you could try a fibre supplement instead if the foods cause stomach cramps

Pansy2 profile image
Pansy2 in reply to Orchid99

High fibre caused me worse constipation as my bowel is slow 😩x

I found taking laxatives at the start was working then that stopped my bowel became lazy and i was really bunged up, doc gave me laxido which isnt as bad on the stomach i also dont take dairy or gluten which is hard going at times but id try anything to avoid the pain of constipation.

Gardenlover2020 profile image
Gardenlover2020 in reply to Kdw1

Yes I understand that is the danger of taking stimulant laxatives , that you can develop lazy bowel , the specialist has warned me about that , I’m trying to cut down on mine as I’ve been taking them for 6 months & I feel dependant on them , but the colonoscopy I had done showed no signs of lazy bowel & the specialist said it takes years rather than months to develop it , I hope he’s right ?

I’ll have a look at laxido & I agree about the food , I’ve cut out wheat & several other things , it’s is hard but I’d eat anything to avoid being constipated !

Fibre made me worse. Now I just use magnesium citrate 3 or 4 capsules a night with a glass of water just before bed . It usually works and if not every day then every other,

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