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Anxiety and IBS cycle hell. How can I escape?

(43 Posts)
mumtothreeeeeeeee Sat 24-Mar-12 10:07:08

I have recently been diagnosed with anxiety and have just started some CBT for this. My anxiety symptoms used to be light-headedness and worry that I would faint but since being diagnosed with anxiety I have told myself that this isn't going to happen etc etc. However, my main worry now seems to be my tummy and it is the thing I am anxious about over anything else in my life ( busy life with 3 DC!). I basically need the loo within a few mins of waking up and it is TMI, always loose. I am pathetic but this really upsets me as I don't feel right for a while after either and mornings are busy. I M waking in the night worrying about my tummy the next morning. I just want a break from having an upset tummy every morningsad I feel my anxiety would really improve if I did. I know you should really treat the anxiety but the diarrhoea is now the main source of my anxiety. I feel like I've come quite a long way to overcome some of the previous issues. I've never taken Immodium in my life but now wondering if I should as a short term solution/ or break!! Or how about those Kalms- has anyone used those in a similar situation?

Pinot Sat 24-Mar-12 10:47:21

I'm in a similiar boat - anxiety causing health problems so I'm going to wait with you until someone clever and wise comes along smile

RockinD Sat 24-Mar-12 11:15:56

Morning ladies!

Horrible situation to be in because one feeds off the other.

Kalms or Quiet Life tablets might help. They work well for me to calm me down gently and that helps with sleep.

No reason why you shouldn't take Immodium as a short term remedy (use it too much and your bowel can forget what it's supposed to be doing) but you can find that you then get the opposite problem, which can be just as bad.

Hopefully, if you can get the anxiety under control then this will help and it certainly sounds as if you are doing the right things.


Goawaybob Sat 24-Mar-12 11:25:15

"I M waking in the night worrying about my tummy the next morning. I just want a break from having an upset tummy every morningsad I feel my anxiety would really improve if I did. I know you should really treat the anxiety but the diarrhoea is now the main source of my anxiety"

I feel your tummy would improve if you have a break from your anxiety :-) You KNOW its a vicious circle don't you.

I know, i have been where you are now - oh, if i can only sort my Breast,women's bits, tummy, mole, lymph nodes,tingly fingers out then i can sort the anxiety!! I can't tell you have many times ive planned my own funeral sad its not funny, but it is ridiculous.

One word about the KALMS and such like, firstly they have to be taken for a period of time before they are effective. but more importantly, they can interfere with certain anti-depressants that are prescribed for anxiety and you have to stop taken them for two weeks before you can take the ADs.

Im pleased that you are having the CBT and its good that you are not on ADs at present but they do work. I suffer from anxiety and my health anxiety was terrible, so much so that i would have physical symptoms. I was on ADs for quite a while and im not 100% better ( i dont think i ever will be, i had a massive breakdown, but im 95%), but strange thing - i used to be terrified of thunderstorms and spiders. I will now go and stand and watch the storms from the back door and i work with tarantulas grin

mumtothreeeeeeeee Sat 24-Mar-12 20:52:27

Thank you so much for replying. This anxiety has really knocked me for six in the last few months. So sad that I just cant get on with life and enjoy my fabulous family sad. I wouldnt have had much sympathy for anyone suffering with anxiety this time last year. I simply can't believe how powerful it's effects are. I hope things improve in the future because when I think of going through my whole life like this, I get really scared and want to fast forward many years so that my DC arent dependent on me.

Tbh, medication really scares me!! I don't want to get hooked and reliant on stuff. I would like to take AD's though, to give them a try. But I was prescribed sertraline at the end of January and still haven't collected them as two of the side effects seem to be faintness and an upset tummy. Feel trapped as already have those symptoms and the medication might make this worse!! Maybe I should go back to the GP to discuss this. What do you think? I guess there's no perfect medication though.

Goawaybob brilliant to hear the progress you have madesmile. I am really struggling with eating out with friends at the moment. It makes me panic, feel like I need to run to the loo, can't eat. Grim, grim, grim. Really don't want to avoid things though as feel that's such a slippery slope! So we ate out as a family for lunch today. V anxious when we first sat down but my tummy didn't start acting up really so I get it was a success. Eating out was one of my favourite activities before all this started, it's all crazy!!!!

Goawaybob Sat 24-Mar-12 21:31:08

AD's are not without side effects, but if you have a look at the data sheet that comes with paracetemol you would see a whole list of side effects. The side effects tend to disappear after the first week, for me when i took citalopram (a sister drug to serteraline) i felt rushy and a bit sick for a few days, i had a couple of horrible panic attacks but after that they worked really really well for me. This particular set of drugs are not addictive and people tend to take them for about six months. I took them for two years - i think i needed them for longer because i had undiagnosed PND which festered for two years before i got help. If your doctor has prescribed the pills i would consider taking them, I did what you did, i had the prescription in my drawer for a week then had the tablets for a further week before i took them, i was really scared. It did turn things around for me and i believe it saved my relationship (if not my life).

Today was definately a success, and just goes to show that you are in more control that you think they are.

Don't feel you have to take the pills, maybe talk to your cbt therapist about them, but they might help. I had counselling too, but it was the drugs that helped with the sheer panic that would overtake me.

Lozislovely Sat 24-Mar-12 21:49:42

Mum I'm a long time sufferer of anxiety and IBS!!!

I, like you have the light head and fear of fainting. Can't tell you how many times I've literally ran out of shops, restaurants etc once the feeling takes hold. Many occasion I've filled a basket of shopping only to get a feeling of sheer dread at the thought of having to queue at a checkout and dumped it and fled. Once I'm outside I'm calmer but that thought trail is in my mind ready for the next time sad

I take citalopram and have done for about the past 3 years. It does the job ok but doesn't completely eradicate the feelings of fear.

My IBS can be awful and my gurgling stomache is something else! I find that if I get a rumbling I have to eat as being 'hungry' makes me panic that I'm going to faint. I don't think that I'm really actually hungry as I tend to graze during the day but as soon as a gurgle starts I have to eat something. I've tried so many diets but so far it's still the same (going once a week, sorry for TMI).

Some days I'll be driving to work and know that I can't possibly sit in the office all day and find myself driving back home. I feel like a complete twat but once the feeling is there, no matter how hard I try, it's there to stay.

Trying to describe this feeling is so so hard and most people I know that I've spoken to think I'm some sort of weirdo (in my eyes anyway).

I would encourage you to take the meds described by your gp. You are not a failure in anyway shape or form and if the drugs help then so be it.

What I can say is that you are normal and there is no shame in feeling the way you do. I used to think I was some sort of freak but having looked on MN and on the net, there are so many of us like this.

I would like to get to a point where I can comfortably sit in a restaurant, coffee shop, wait in a queue etc without feeling the need to leg it, but I've tried therapy and hypnosis and whilst the hypnotherapy helped, I am not cured. I'm not sure I'll ever be cured but to take my meds and feel somewhat normal is a great help!!

candyfloss66 Sun 25-Mar-12 21:30:14

Hi mumtothethreeee, reading your post is like I could have written it. I too suffer with HA & for months have been having Diahorrea the minute that I wake up it did calm down a week ago once but seem's to have flaired up again to 2-3 times in the space of half an hour. My stools haven't had any form for months & it worries me sick I have tried changing my diet to no avail. My Dr said it's anxiety that is causing it & she prescribed 10mg Amtriptyline she said they would have a calming effect & help the sympton. TBH I haven't taken any I'm too nervous of going down the rd of pills. I still have the diahorrea daily & I'm so scared that it isn't anxiety & something else I have booked to see the Dr on Tues again. I would like to have some blood work done. Every morning like you I hope that I won't have diahorrea.Do you get stomach cramps?

HaveALittleFaithBaby Sun 25-Mar-12 22:54:16

My sympathies to fellow sufferers. Tis a nightmare. I too have ongoing anxiety issues currently not too bad and ibs.
Firstly, I'd say it's essential to go to your GP. You need assessing to ensure there's not an underlying medical condition such as coeliac causing these problems. Simple blood tests can give an idea about these. There are ibs medications that work well - you usually take them regularly about 30 minutes before meals to stop spasms. I also find eating probiotics very effective in regulating my motions. If no medical cause is found, try keeping a food diary. Some people have sensitivities caused by certain foods. For me, it's wheat but it's worth looking to see if there's a pattern. Other culprits include lactose but different things affect different people.
Fwiw I agree antidepressants can be really effective used appropriately. I think you become dependent if you never get to the route of your anxiety, but you've taken the first step by recognising the problem and getting the counselling. You'll probably find them helpful as you start to have counselling and feel ready to step down from them after a period of time.
I hope that helps and makes sense. Sorry if I've rambled at bit, I'm on rather a lot of morphine at the moment grin
I hope you feel better soon.

mumtothreeeeeeeee Mon 26-Mar-12 22:57:06

Thanks for posting everybodysmile part of me is glad to know that I'm not the only crazy one but the other part of me is very upset to read that others are battling with similar issues for years. It certainly feels like I'm stuck with these feelings as theres no easy cure.

One moment I feel like I'm beating it then the next I feel panic ridden and all the awful physical symptoms that come with it. I have an 8 month old baby - 3rd dc and my anxiety seems to have come on since having him though not related to issues with him, he's fabuloussmile. But when I look back at my life, I've probably always had anxiety but in no way did it effect my every day life as it does now. I used to teach full time- can't see myself ever going back to that at the moment- another worry- what will I do instead?!?!

candy floss good luck at the dr's tomorrow. Maybe ruling stuff out could really help your anxiety. I don't really get tummy cramps, just sort of needing a poo tummy aches, tmi lol!! Do you get cramps?

havealittle I have thought of going down the food diary route but tbh I don't think it's relevant in my case. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat although I don't eat as much fruit as I used to. All my life I have naturally veered to being constipated and ate plenty of fruit and veg to control it. Now I just fruit/veg/ salad with meals. No extras needed!

Today has been pretty odd tummy wise. Went to the loo this am and was actually fine as I didnt go at all yesterday ( unusual but has happened a couple of times since this started up). But I then got all stressed about various stuff including worrying about my tummy and that upset tummy feeling came on v quickly. In the end I mamaged to hold it in and the feeling eventually went away (can't believe I'm typing this). Have then gone on to have a great day. This is just all so weird and grim. Think I'm developing a pooing phobia!!

Ponyofdoom Mon 26-Mar-12 23:30:52

Hmm I always assumed my 20+ years of IBS were linked to anxiety, as if I was going out anywhere I would be rushing to the loo all morning. However, about 2 years ago I started taking Cerazette mini pill, aspirin and a probiotic multivitamin daily. My IBS has pretty much gone ever since then. So now I think stress was just exacerbating it and the underlying cause was something else which one of those drugs or the combination has sorted out. Might be a coincidence of course..

LouP19 Tue 27-Mar-12 14:24:37

I have always been an anxious person and have suffered badly with IBS for the last 10 years. I also get the runs, but I tend to get bloated and windy (not good, especially when at work) when I'm feeling stressed, and I can spend hours holding wind in whilst my stomach makes all sorts of horrible embarrassing noises. This in turns makes me feel mortified and that in turn makes the IBS worse. sad When it's this bad I just make frequent trips to the photocopier to relieve it, and that sounds awful now, and even quite funny, but it's just one of my many coping mechanisms. I wish I wasn't like this, but I know that when I get worried my stomach is the first thing to react.

I've tried my best over the years to control it, even tried eliminating certain foods, but most of it comes down to controlling my fears and worries - which as we all know is a lot harder than cutting out a certain food group!!

I went through a particularly bad time about 5 years ago when I was signed off work for a month with panic attacks. I was prescribed citalopram which I stayed on for 2 years. It was a life saver for me. I know ADs are not for everyone and they're not a long term solution, but they certainly helped me through a difficult period and helped tremendously with my bloating and IBS (simply because I didn't get so stressed). I've since been off them for 2 years and feel that I've learnt better coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Having said that, my anxiety still flares up every now and again, as does my IBS, but it's something I try to accept and deal with as it arises.

Sorry if this post isn't that useful, but just to let you know you're not alone. Take it easy smile

mumtothreeeeeeeee Wed 28-Mar-12 13:16:28

Lou thank you it does help to know I'm not alone smile. A lot of what you're saying sounds very familiar sad. I also get lots of wind when this all starts up and the noisy stomach- awful! It is gurgling right now as I'm p**d off (and have lost confidence again) because I had an upset tummy this morning after a few days off from it:/. Just don't get it!

A question for those of you in a similar boat- do you tell your friends about your IBS and anxiety? I am very open about some things but am a real prude about all things poo related. I hate v and d bugs but its the d bit i really hate, can cope much better with the v. I do think if I was more open about things, it would make me feel less anxious when it all comes on...

mumtothreeeeeeeee Thu 29-Mar-12 11:56:37

Bump incase anyone is around smile

Feeling miserable today, tummy worse this morning. I've been to the GP and have to have some blood tests, coeliac and inflammation markers I think? Then he might refer me for a colonoscopy after that. Am so scared, have dreaded having this procedure for years. There is no way I could cope with this without a general anaesthetic sad. Gynae investigations I can manage but not this. Just feel such a mess sad sad

HaveALittleFaithBaby Thu 29-Mar-12 13:11:01

Well worrying about a procedure that might not happen isn't going to help! Try to calm down and tell yourself you'll face things as they come! The colonscopy may not be needed. They can always give you some sedation before the procedure so you're effectively awake but you'll be relaxed. At least you'll get to root of the problem soon. Being untreated and undiagnosed is the worst thing.

candyfloss66 Thu 29-Mar-12 17:22:58

Arr Mumtothree, do you have the runs through the day?Mine is only in the morning but they are never formed. I went to see my GP again this week & she still thinks that it's anxiety & IBS. She said I should start taking the Amitriptyline but I asked if she could send me for bloods my appt is tomorrow morning. I fell down the last four stairs in my house 2 weeks ago & my right hip has being painful ever since esp at night she advised that I go to the hospital to get checked. It's one thing after another :-(. Good luck with your blood tests hun & let us know how you get on & get the Colonoscopy out of your head you might not need it :-)

mumtothreeeeeeeee Fri 30-Mar-12 12:34:00

Candy floss- no just in the morning at the moment. It's getting worse, ie more loose lately though. I am trying so hard to tell myself this is bloody stupid. So what if I have the runs, it only lasts a few secs and then over for the day. But I have felt like crying for the last 2 days, I am crying now. I hate the runs, I can't bear it, I think about it all day pretty much. I feel stressy and then worry about my tummy.

Have decided I need some medication!! Just need to decide whether to take the loperamide for tummy or the sertraline. Or both!

Sorry for being such a wimp but I just feel such a lack of confidence when I've had an upset tummy.

I'm glad you went to the dr's candy floss. Are you going to start taking the meds? The dr I saw yesterday wouldn't be drawn into a discussion about anxiety even though I was talking a lot about it (don't know if that's a good or bad thing) but I guess he was concentrating on investigating the bowel issues. I hope you're hip improves soon. Yes it is one thing after another!

Sillyshell Fri 30-Mar-12 12:42:34

Hi just wanted to add that I had a colonoscopy a few years ago before I was diagonsed with IBS and it really isnt anything to worry about. I was sedated before hand and although it isnt pleasant it certainly wasnt painful. I could see what they were doing on a tv screen and it was quite interesting!

I take Aloe Vera for my IBS, I find it really helps settle the gurgling feeling I get and helps control the trips to the loo.

Hope you get it sorted

mumtothreeeeeeeee Sat 31-Mar-12 22:04:30

Sillyshell thanks I will certainly look into the aloe vera. Have seen it mentioned on IBS threads before. Re the colonoscopy, I think I am just as nervous about the prep as the actual procedure, that's the problem. I was saying to DH, I think they would have to hospitalise me for the prep!! I have really low blood pressure and have fainted when I've had proper diarroeah (as in tummy bug not IBS) before and several other times had to lie on the floor afterwards because I am just so lightheaded from losing fluid I guess. These experiences are partly fueling my anxiety I think atm! I am hopeless when even nil by mouth for say 12 hours, feel utterly drained and weak, so that plus a totally empty tummy, god knows!!! Oh well, shouldn't get ahead of myself I suppose.

So annoyed with myself over all this. My tummy is always fine later in the day, says a lot I think! Why oh why is it not in the morning. I held off going to the loo all day today even though I needed to til about 3pm. DH says I'm mad but my tummy has settled down now so maybe I was right to try and distract myself instead?! Does anyone else as pathetic as me re pooing? Lots of threads re the vomit phobia but I deal with that ok!

candyfloss66 Sun 01-Apr-12 09:02:10

Bless you, your not on your own hun I'm the same. I had my blood tests taken on Fri so will have to await the results my Dr is confident that they will be normal but I can't help think otherwise. I have been drinking Actimels & have just started taking Multibionta seven seas vitamins. I don't know if the diaherrea has calmed down or the vitamins have helped as my stools aren't as runny they are a bit more formed now. Maybe give them a go we have nothing to lose. I haven't started the Amitrypyline as I'm still worried about meds but my Dr reassured me that at 10mg I will be fine they do have side effects & she said I may feel hung over in the morning I have a 5 year old so I don't want to feel like that. Let me know how you get on hun :-)

Julialyne Sun 01-Apr-12 14:11:00

You could try taking Mebeverine Hydrochlodride (Colofac) you can buy it OTC. It is an antispasmodic. I went through an IBS phase once & got prescribed it. It really helped. Trying the aloe Vera juice might help too

housewife19 Sun 01-Apr-12 17:19:11

WOW just read these threads and although i feel sorry for you all i also feel relieved to no im not the only one this happens too. My therapist has told me on many occasions that i am not the complete nutcase i assume i am and that it is extreamly common especially amongst mum s , but to read it for myself def helps . Iv e been having CBT for a while and that has helped immensly with the anxiety which helps with the stomach. viscious circle is right, one affects the other no doubt there. Probiotics help as well, i take acidophillus once a day .

Meglet Sun 01-Apr-12 17:33:34

Don't panic about the colonoscopy prep. You will need to confine yourself to the upstairs of your house while it's working it's way through you and stock up on glossy sleb magazines to take your mind off it but once it's done it's done and the actual procedure is fine as they'll drug you up to the eyeballs. I did my prep on a Thursday and was very sick on the friday morning and nearly keeled over (low blood pressure too) but the hospital rushed me through on a wheelchair when they saw a very pale, woozy lady come into the waiting room.

I'm being checked out for 'IBS'. I had a colonoscopy (all clear) last year and so far this year I've had an endoscopy (too much bile in my stomach but nothing too bad) and a CT scan. Plus blood tests and stool samples (all clear, strong as an ox).

I go to the loo about 4 times a day (and have done for a long time), it's making me miserable as the kids run riot while I'm in there, mum has to come round every day to help with the school / nursery run and I'm always rushing to make up for the lost time in the bathroom. It effects my working hours too as I daren't work too early in the day as I wouldn't be at my desk, just in the loo. I lose so much time to IBS sad.

It did dawn on me that it really kicked in when I stopped the pill (dianette) and was ok when I was pregnant. So I might try going back on the pill again and see if it helps. So far it makes no difference what I eat or what supplements I take.

saturdaygirl Mon 02-Apr-12 14:55:40

I don't wish to alarm any of you but for 20 years I had been diagnosed with IBS, anxiety made it worse and it was always worse in the mornings. Last May i had particularly bad flare ups and ended up in hospital and with an illeostomy, my IBS was actually Crohns. Apparently the symptons are very similar so please ask your gps to rule this out. Crohns can be quite nasty if not treated.

candyfloss66 Tue 03-Apr-12 08:07:44

Saturday girl, some of us on here suffer with HA & are trying to think rationally. I know that your post is well meaning but is quite alarming to read & something that I would rather not hear :-(

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