IBS sufferers...how do you get through daily life?

(13 Posts)
beckywiththeshithair20 Sun 02-Feb-20 08:18:40

Firstly, I'm not the poo troll! It's not a nice subject but it's something lots of ppl have to deal with...so...

I have had intermittent ibs issues for years but over the last year I feel my attacks have got more severe. I can be ok for weeks but then I'll have a flare up and feel bloated, sluggish and in pain for a few days. This isn't pleasant but it is manageable and doesn't often stop me going to work and going about my life. What is a problem though are the intense attacks of diarrhoea and cramping that can randomly occur during these flare ups or sometimes just totally out of the blue on their own. I get cramps that leave me doubled up in pain and the only way to relieve them is an intense stint on the loo!

I have tried and tried to figure out the cause but there are no obvious dietary triggers. No pattern to the flare ups. They seem to happen randomly and are unpredictable. This has taken a big toll on my mental health too. Because I'm aware they can come from nowhere I'm frightened to go places without a toilet. My work involves a lot of site meetings outdoors and these have become a real issue for me to the point I'm often taking several Imodium as a precaution before attending. I've tried to avoid travelling on long car journeys and things like that recently because although the flare ups aren't that regular, they are so severe and sudden when they do happen.

I don't want this to control my life but I'm becoming aware that it's affecting my mental and well as physical health now. I have taken mebeverine in the past but not routinely because my symptoms aren't constant - and even when I did take it I'd still have the ibs-d flare ups now and then.

Does anyone else suffer like this and how do you overcome it? I'm terrified of being somewhere where I can't access a bathroom and having one of these sudden attacks.

OP’s posts: |
Kittywampus Sun 02-Feb-20 08:22:37

Have you tried the low fodmap diet? I have recently started doing it and it seems to stop my symptoms. The main problem is sticking with it - it's pretty restrictive and you can't really eat out.

Biancadelrioisback Sun 02-Feb-20 08:26:33

Do you take buscopan? It really helps me with the cramps.
My flare ups are bad too so I end up using the accessible toilet at work so I have immediate access to a sink.

beckywiththeshithair20 Sun 02-Feb-20 08:29:53

I've tried all sorts of diet restrictions over the years. I've cut things out and re introduced things but there honestly is no pattern. Sometimes I can eat something and be absolutely fine, another time I might have an attack. There's no obvious trigger at all. I sometimes wonder if hormones or stress could play a part but even then it doesn't seem an obvious thing.

The pain is unpleasant but it doesn't affect me in the same way the ibs-d does because I literally have to stop what I'm doing and dash to the loo, sometimes multiple times until the cramps subside. If I'm at home or work it's not really a problem but if I'm out or busy doing something then obviously it's really not good.

OP’s posts: |
Yoghurtpots Sun 02-Feb-20 08:40:34

Really feel for you as I had similar issues at one time but not as severe.flowers

The following things really helped me:

1. buy a course of really good probiotics (get advice from your doctor) to rebuild your good stomach bacteria.

2 . cut out ALL artificial sugar (which is hard because it's in so many things) but be strict about it and do not drink anything fizzy except maybe a very pure spa water very occasionally.

3. this is possibly rather too extreme, but all my symptoms disappeared after I had a hysterectomy (for other reasons) so I am sure hormones play their part.

Yoghurtpots Sun 02-Feb-20 08:42:43

Forgot to say my attacks were totally random too and weren't triggered by any particular foods.

Oh yes I also found eating much smaller meals helped.

RhodaCamel Sun 02-Feb-20 08:54:23

I am exactly the same, I have had IBS for 21 years and over the years it has waxed and waned but has gotten worse the last few years (since hitting mid 40’s). Last year I had a colonoscopy, gastroscope, stool tests and an upper us scan, all ok and have been told it’s ‘just’ IBS. It is ruining my life now because it has become a psychological as well as physical thing for me, I dread going out or travelling because it’s so unpredictable, tbh my digestive system is a daily obsession for me.Although I follow the low fodmap diet which helps a bit I really don’t think it’s diet based, I personally believe it’s hormonal for me, I can be much better during the first two weeks of my cycle and as soon as mid cycle comes along so to does most of my symptoms but I can’t get anyone medical to understand that. You have my sympathy.


headlock Sun 02-Feb-20 08:56:31

This has been me in the past and I avoided lots of things because of it. I found it really difficult to do things that were out of my routine.
I know taking Imodium is tempting and sometimes unavoidable but this won't be doing your system any favours.
If your issue is anything like mine was it's possibly anxiety based. Maybe chat to your doctor?
I was really starting to worry that I would be unable to leave the house because of it. It's has settled a lot thankfully.
I feel for you, it's awful.

autumnleaves15 Sun 02-Feb-20 09:00:54

You poor soul! My IBS was really severe when diagnosed 4 years ago and I basically couldn't leave the house because of the cramps and daily diarrhoea!

My doctor gave me tonnes of immodium and told me to take 2 every morning and 2 every time it happened plus an additional 2 if I wanted to go out. I had lost a stone and a half because anything I ate was coming straight out.

I ended up in a cycle of IBS/mental health issues. I couldn't leave the house to go to the supermarket. I got paranoid about going anywhere at all.

In terms of finding the cause I basically stopped eating everything and introduced categories of food every few days. Caffeine was the big one for me but this hadn't troubled me ever before. So now it's decaf coffee, tea and decaf coke for me. Milk and creamy stuff was also one at the time but now I have milk every day and my body seems to tolerate it again.

Also, improving my mental health helped me tonnes. My dad was nearing the end of the terminal illness and I hadn't long come out of a toxic relationship. All of these things I think caused me a lot of anxiety which, in turn, made the IBS worse which, in turn, made me more stressed.

Get enough sleep, drink enough water, find hobbies you can do easily. Mine was learning to cook and bake - I was signed off work and it didn't involve leaving the house and I could also work out intolerances that way.

Now I get a flare up once every 4-6 weeks. I'll take that as a win compared to before.

Sorry for the long reply but I know how hard it is and I hope you find something that helps.

beckywiththeshithair20 Sun 02-Feb-20 09:10:22

Thanks for the replies. It helps to know I'm not alone. I have no doubt that my anxiety and mental health contribute towards this. Sometimes when I'm out somewhere I become fixated with where the toilet is. If I can't find one I get anxious and that anxiety seems to make me need to go. There is a definite scientific link between the brain and gut so this isn't surprising but it's very annoying. I think it's different to my physical
Ibs which can occur anytime anyplace even when I'm in the security of my own home.

It's already stopped me doing a lot. I used to be part of a running club that I'll no longer go to for fear of being caught short in the middle of a long run with people around me. It's really sad and I wish it didn't have to take over my life like this.

OP’s posts: |
weaselwords Sun 02-Feb-20 09:11:26

I’m in a big flare up at the moment. Have had to take time off work as it was so bad.

There is a very definite link with stress for me, but sometimes life just chucks stuff at you. I think a combination of Christmas, a staff member going off sick, me having to do an exam for the first time in years and my youngest going abroad alone set me off and it’s taking weeks to get better.

I’m better on probiotics and live yoghurt and low gluten and fat, so I’m looking after myself from now on and not getting stressed ever again (yeah, right).

DivaRainbow Sun 02-Feb-20 09:18:07

I have no advice as after DD birth 6 months ago all my triggers have changed. Took me 6 years before to work out what my triggers where and im now back at square one. I just wanted you to know your not alone, currently on day 6 of a bad flare up 😵

Vlcos Sun 02-Feb-20 15:13:56

I can't find my triggers either, I have had a colonscopy, endoscopy, small intestine MRI and nothing can be found. I am having a sehcat scan as symptoms are now daily post gallbladder removal. I am more IBS C than D I think.

I am trying to lose weight to see if that helps.

It gets you down when it's a daily thing I can sympathise.

I hope things settle for you

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