Posted 10/28/2011 12:53 PM (GMT -7)
I'm a former frequent poster over on the Crohn's board but think this board is probably a better place for my current issues (and I no longer even know if I have Crohn's, thanks to a doctor two years ago doubting my original diagnosis due to the lack of scarring in the intestines....but that's a story for another day).
Regardless of if I have Crohn's, UC, or neither, I certainly have some form of anxiety-related IBS. And it's not just conscious anxiety, but really any change from my daily routine. For example, I'm a college instructor, in my second semester teaching, and every day, without fail, I experience bouts of diarrhea before I teach. My diet is very consistent and controlled (no red meat, no cream-based foods, no fried foods, etc), so I know it's not because of something I ate (and because the diarrhea itself is very consistent, showing up every Tuesday and Thursday morning without fail). Even as my own anxiety about teaching has decreased and my confidence has increased, this has had no impact on the occurrence of diarrhea on teaching days.
I experience similar symptoms every time I travel (and I travel a lot). Whether it's a 30-minute car ride to somewhere I haven't been before (or to somewhere I have been before to do something new) or the same flight I've take nearly every month for the last two years, I will feel nauseous and have diarrhea (usually 6-12 BMs) for anywhere between 1-3 hours before leaving, and sometimes well into the trip. I get very anxious before going out to eat at a restaurant, partly because I have little control over the ingredients that go into my food (extra butter or oil, for example) that could set me off and because I had some really embarrassing experiences at restaurants in the months before my Crohn's diagnosis in 2006. Because of this, I rarely go out to eat, and if I do, I drive separately (in case I have to leave) and always take meds like Immodium beforehand.
I've tried changing my diet by removing anything even close to suspicious in the days before these events. I've tried taking Immodium first thing when I wake up on teaching days (rather than following a loose BM). I have been prescribed hyoscyamine and take that on teaching mornings as well. They appear to have little impact (two Immodiums plus the hyoscyamine tend to slow me down, but it's usually after 4-6 BMs).
This is having a negative impact on my life and I want to do anything in my power to stop it. I should note that I also take 100mg of Trazodone at night, originally prescribed 2.5 years ago for insomnia and mild depression, and 1mg of Klonopin a day to treat my anxiety (prescribed two months ago). While I think the Klonopin has had a small positive impact on my anxiety generally, it has not had the hoped-for impact on the IBS.
I am writing this post for two main reasons. One, to get this struggle off my chest to a group of people who can sympathize and empathize with what I'm going through, and two, to hopefully get some suggestions regarding alternative approaches to ending or at least better controlling my IBS. Yes, foods set me off sometimes, but that's almost always because I'm eating something I know I shouldn't be eating. I try to do everything in my power to avoid the IBS (making sure I'm prepared to teach/travel well in advance, repeating mantras to myself at night that I'm going to feel good in the morning and do a great job, etc) and nothing seems to work.
Thank you for reading (if you made it this far!) and if you have any advice or suggestions, I would love to hear them.