Stress Related IBS

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Fry
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/1/2009 10:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello.
Can you guys give me any recommendations on how to treat stress related IBS? My IBS comes in the form of loose stools and D. Any treatments including anxiety treatment, medication (herbal, prescribed, whatever!), new diets, etc. are welcome. Thanks for the help.

But first a little background info...I first noticed my IBS freshman year of college when I had early morning classes. I had loose and frequent stools which often led to me having to leave class multiple times within the hour. Having to leave class multiple times before it was over was quite embarrassing for me (silly, I know). Now I'm now a Junior and over the years I believe I've associated early mornings with bad BMs. Most of my classes are late in the day (that's no coincidence) but my one early class a week often gives me IBS symptoms the night before and the morning of. Early mornings for other events like work, vacations, etc. also produce these ill side effects. When I do wake up early its hard for me to get my mind off my IBS and how many times I'm going to have to use the restroom during the drive, class, or whatever I'm about to do. I think about it in almost an obsessive manner.

So any thoughts?

Tom

Denny
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 4/5/2009 1:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Tom

Most IBS-D sufferers can relate to your early morning problems. Just as you wake up in the morning, your GI trace also wakes up and becomes very, very active. Thus, you notice more symptoms in the am than the pm.

I, too, tried to live my life mostly in the late afternoons, nights. LOL

My IBS is pretty much manageable now because of the different things I've learned that help ME. That doesn't mean they would help everyone. I take Questran, which helps solidify/form my stools so they are not so loose. I take the Questran (prescribed med) at night, and somtimes again in the am. At night, I take a very low dose of Elavil(an antidepressant that works on the GI tract) that slows down the gut and makes for much less frequent trips to the bathroom.

Working on the stress/anxiety level in your lifestyle always is a good idea too. I know most of us can't do alot about the stress in our lives but perhaps you could try different destressing techniques....yoga, meditation, a calming hobby, etc.??? There are also some self help programs out there for lowering your anxiety levels, especially for those with IBS issues.

Another thing that you might try doing is telling yourself that you can always leave the situation/place you are at to go to the restroom. Alot of the anxiety that we have, we've created ourselves...it's a viscious cycle. Once I convinced myself that it is alright to leave whatever situation/place I might find myself at when a BM is imminent, I found it was much less likely to actually happen. We can set up our bodies to feel like we have to go when we actually may not need to, but our body is so use to reacting to what our mind is telling our gut.

Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 4/6/2009 5:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Stress is a big component in managing my IBS-D like symptoms. I've come a long way in the almost 10 years I've been dealing with all of this.

I am not the same person I was back then as now. I was very embarrassed about my symptoms, almost to the point of apologizing for them or having to cancel an outing. Now I don't even bother. I've discovered that if I remain calm about my IBS, others will too. If I convey on the outside all is well - when in reality it's the opposite - people will leave me be. If I try and explain any of this to someone with a normal colon and normal bathroom needs - they don't understand. How can they? Their life doesn't revolve around a bathroom. Or eating a very specific way. Years ago I tried to educate people about what I go thru. And I began to notice that after 5 min. or so, I'd lose them, each time. They couldn't understand what I go thru.

So again, I'm past trying to make others understand.

What I mostly do now is pretend all is well. I make sure I eat a very specific way, I decline invites if I know they won't work for me and I don't apologize for doing so. I just say - thank you, but I can't do that. And leave it at that.

It's just the way it is now.

But my getting to this point - acceptance, resolve to make my situation the best it can be - was not easy. As I said I used to just stress out so much over all of this. Asking myself many times - how is that going to work (travel, weddings, formal dinners, etc.). I've got all sorts of tricks up my sleeve by now - but again, it took time and years to develop them. Even if I'm dining with other people and can't eat much, I'll order 2 items from the sides section of a menu, a side salad and baked potato. When asked why I'm not eating much? I say I'm not hungry or I ate not long ago - all lies, but I can't eat a full meal and then continue socializing - that's crazy! So I also do a lot of lying too......telling people I'm feeling good when I'm not. Does it work? For the most part it does. I always have an out though. My husband knows that look I sometimes give - time to go. Now. LOL

Then I sit very, very still in the car and pray for no traffic. Until I get home to my beloved bathroom.

Over time you will find your own ways of relieving your stress. It's not easy but in time, you'll find ways to relax. Deep breaths, closing your eyes, imagining a more peaceful place help too.

Wishing you better days ahead!
Marsky/Mary's story.....
- Diagnosed with rectal cancer, April 1999 - Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, given temporary colostomy)
- Colostomy reversal, June 1999
- Left with IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's every day
- On a low residue diet at least 75% of the time
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening

All in all I do okay, I just use the bathroom A LOT! But I survived and beat cancer!


Denny
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 4/7/2009 4:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Marsky

For almost the first three years of suffering from IBS-D, I tried to hide it from people outside of my immediate family. During those three years, I became very close to agrophobia. Once I decided I was going to quit pretending that I was 'normal', it took alot of stress off of me. Don't take that to mean that very many people understood what I tried to explain to them. Most would say "just get over it', 'it's all in your head', 'if you did this or you did that, you wouldn't have that problems' etc. etc. etc.

You learn to stand up for yourself when you have IBS-D. You learn that you have to have respect for yourself, regardless of what your health issues may be. If you don't respect yourself and your limitations, if any....no one else will either. Some people want to learn about your condition, others don't want to know about it, and just want you to be normal like you were before.

I've had IBS-D since 1983. In 92 I had my gallbladder removed, and ended up with chronic bile salt diarrhea, which made the D much , much worse than before. I'm much better now ..but as you said it takes time, it takes experimenting with different things, eliminating different things..and faith that you will find the special combination that will make a difference in each individual case.

Congrats on beating your cancer, and living a great life regardless of the IBS!

Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 4/8/2009 5:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Denny - thank you for your honesty and reply. Truly I do appreciate your frankness. That said, I have tried several approaches - denial, acceptance, advocacy but at this point, 10 years later, I'm probably at the acceptance stage the most. I no longer try to explain any of this to anyone. This is simply the new normal for me. New, ha what a funny word.....10 years is a long, long time to still use the word new. I'm 53, so I've lived this way for 1/5 of my life. But again, what choice do I have? It's not as if I am pretending to have a normal colon, I am just no longer explaining to others why I need a bathroom as much as I do. Or why specific foods do not agree with me. I eat very light when dining with them. And I just smile when they comment on how little I am eating. They are not with me in the bathroom later, as I pay for the amount and entrees they think I need or should have ordered.

If there's one thing I have done the most is this - smile.

So that's not really pretending I am normal. I am trying my best to accept the situation I was given. With grace. I personally believe there's a difference. If I project this positive outlook this is usually what I receive back, most of the time people say now - oh well, you know what's best for you and what works.

Finally, after 10 years I do hear those words! Of course when I whip out - I've been at this for 10 years - that carries weight. They usually accept that by now I have tried many, many different meds, approaches, etc.

But again, we're only trying to help others. One idea/approach works for one patient may not work for another. This approach that I've got going - not sure how to term it - just seems to work the best for me. At this time.

Mary
Marsky/Mary's story.....
- Diagnosed with rectal cancer, April 1999 - Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, given temporary colostomy)
- Colostomy reversal, June 1999
- Left with IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's every day
- On a low residue diet at least 75% of the time
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening

All in all I do okay, I just use the bathroom A LOT! But I survived and beat cancer!


allcountryman1
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/13/2009 6:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello. I too have IBS. I got it when I was 19 and am now 28. It has robbed me of the best years of my life. But I have found a medication that works well with me that has 0 side effects. I take cholestyramine oral suspension. It helps with the bile and acid in the gut that can inflame the colon. It has changed my life. I still battle IBS just not as bad. I am a guy. We are not supposed to suffer from IBS, but oh do we ever. Another thing that has helped me is going back to church. God can really help with the stress factor. I know its not for everybody but it helps me. I am still trying to figure out a good diet. Dairy is out and high fiber not real good for me either. So I am having a tuff time nailing down a good eating habit. But there are others out here who know your pain and will keep giving any tips on anything we come across that helps.

Denny
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 4/14/2009 6:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi allcountryman1

The cholestyramine oral you mentioned is the generic form of the brand name Questran I mentioned in my previous post.

After finally finding a Dr that took my symptoms seriously, and being put on the med, it started to change my life within the first 24-48 hours. It took that short of a time! I remember crying...I was so overwhelmed that I'd finally found something that had a positive effective!

And I agree....faith can get a person through things that a person wouldn't ever think they'd be able to survive on their own.
IBS, and many other things that might change a persons life to something less than desireable, usually have a silver lining.

Whether it's learning empathy for others, patience, self-confidence and strength, when we are our most humble/weakest, we usually have the greatest strength in our faith and belief systems. We learn not only to accept ourselves, but we more easily accept others and whatever their weaknesses/flaws might be.

Without the IBS, I wouldn't have the strengths I have now. And my faith may not have grown as much as it has. I wouldn't wish IBS or GI issues on anyone...but for myself, I can attest to some of the positives that can come out of it. Doesn't mean life is a 24/7 party by any means...but you learn to never take good days for granted anymore..and you're always thankful for them and the people that share them with you.

allcountryman1
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/15/2009 2:34 PM (GMT -7)   
That is very true. I turned to God When I fisrt got sick because I had no where else to go. I read the bible and when I came to Job I goy mad. I said God, how could you let this happen to Job. He loved you. I read it and read it and readit and nothing. Then I saw it. Job said, "That which I fear most has come upon me". SO Job even being as close to God as a man can get had a fear and GOd had to allow this to happen to him to show him the error of his ways. So things the devil means for evil GOd works for the good. You know when God is about to move in your life because the devil turns up the heat. And yes Choly also changed my life almost emediatly. I still battle it but not near as bad. But I still have a hard time with dealing with the anxiety and panic attacks I get while out and about. Still trying to work on that without taking any mind altering medications! LOL. So keep me in prayers.

7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 4/15/2009 9:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Reminder about the Forum Rules:
 
10. No posts of an overtly political or religious nature OR posts promoting advocacy of particular personal, medical, legal, religious, political, or non-profit causes.  The forums are intended for offering mutual personal support.  Debating controversial subjects should be taken elsewhere.  Limited religious references are allowed (ie. "my prayers are with you" or a brief quote as part of a larger post), but the forums should not be used to convert others. 
 
Thanks so much!
Lil
Co-Moderator IBS Forum
 
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hvanvorous
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/17/2009 12:14 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi!

This is in response to Fry's first question.  It is very common to have your IBS related to stress, it is referred to as a "Brain-Gut dysfunction".  Have you tried hypnotherapy for your stress?   http://www.helpforibs.com/ has a great section on Hypnosis for IBS. I would definitely look into it.  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it is definitely something to look into.  It has had a lot of great success!


Here is the link: http://www.helpforibs.com/hypnosis/Default.asp

 

Best!

 


Fry
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/18/2009 10:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow. Thank you all for these wonderful replies! Its so comforting knowing that I'm not the only one struggling with this.

Denny- I too have felt like I have or am starting to show the symptoms agoraphobia. That's when I take a step back from it all and try to analyze the ridiculousness of my thoughts. I refuse to let this condition control my life! But that's easier said then done...

Marsky- I haven't full out told my friends that I had IBS but I drop hints to let them know my situation. As of now they just think I have a "weak stomach" haha. Getting that off my chest and knowing that my friends don't care what my bm schedule is like was a real stress reliever for me. But yes...I too order off the appetizer menu at meals saying that either I'm broke or not hungry enough to eat lol.

In the meantime I'll try to rationalize my fears, work on relaxing techniques (I too like taking deep breaths or going to a "happy place"), ask my doctor about the medications listed, and maybe look into some sort of anxiety treatment.

And I do go to church most Sundays. However, as of now its just another one of those "Oh no- I have to sit through an hour lecture without going to the bathroom" type of deals haha.

And a question about something not mentioned...do any of you notice that after you do a colon cleansing your symptoms seem to disappear? Before my colonoscopy I took a colon cleanser and I remembered having great BMs for a couple weeks after it. This past semester I caught a horrible GI bug and was out for a week with bad D. But I think for almost a month and a half after that I again was having little to no IBS symptoms. Does this sound familiar to you?

Thanks for all the help,
Tom

Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 4/19/2009 7:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Tom - yes I have a string of good, awesome days after a bowel prep. But I am down to colonoscopies every 3 years now and there's no way I'm going to subject myself to that regimen for oh 5 to 7 good days. Taking Fleet's Phospho Soda is brutal on me (but the post-prep stage is a nice benefit).

One thing I did for quite a few years was one Fleet's saline enema, one every oh 5 to 6 days. I would hold that position (saline doing its thing) for the full 5 minutes. This would produce a pretty good clean out for me and then give me about 3 good days afterwards. I tried this approach while out of town on vacation with my family. I kept missing out on outings with them and was at the end of the my rope one night. So I bought an enema and after our kids went to sleep I stayed up, doing one. I then felt great for the rest of the trip. I told my colon doctor later how much a weekly enema helped me. She agreed, they were not harmful to do as long as I kept my fluid intake up and was eating well. In fact doing a weekly enema for clean out purposes is different then one for procedures. I used to bring in a glass of ice water or Pepsi, salty snacks such as pretzels or saltines to munch on while sitting there (and of course after washing my hands well at the sink next to our powder room toilet). This routine worked quite well for me until a few times an enema would work much longer than the usual 1 or 2 hours. A few took 12 hours to finish, I was very sick. After a while I decided maybe I shouldn't be doing them (the reason I mostly did them was to give me a stage with formed stool and to get me out of a putty like stool stage, one that went on and on, for days).

Long story short, I no longer do them. From a female standpoint too, I have a dropped uterus, so things internally do not feel the same as they did 10 years ago. Sorry for that detail! LOL Now I just do an enema if I need one for a procedure.

But you could ask your doctor if this would help you or not. I would carefully plan when I'd do one - the day before, I ate very well (healthy, full meals), kept my daily fluid intake up, then the day of, same thing, I continued drinking while it was working. This way I didn't become dehydrated and usually tolerated the saline very well.

I think many here would attest to a string of good days or a more normal period after a bowel prep.
Marsky/Mary's story.....
- Diagnosed with rectal cancer, April 1999 - Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, given temporary colostomy)
- Colostomy reversal, June 1999
- Left with IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's every day
- On a low residue diet at least 75% of the time
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening

All in all I do okay, I just use the bathroom A LOT! But I survived and beat cancer!

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