panic attacks & UC

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Winter
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Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 210
   Posted 7/6/2008 6:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Last week, I had a major anxiety attack. I have ulcerative colitus which means when my body says it is time to go to the bathroom, I have about 15 seconds to find a bathroom. Last week, I was booking tickets for my families airline tickets for vacation. Then I started thinking what if my colon acts up during landing or take off & I can't get to a bathroom. I had a full fledge attack. I was laying in bed & the next moment, I was in the bathroom. I had diarrhea, my heart was pounding, & I was freezing. this went on for about 2 hours. I even was dry heaving while having diarrhea. I had attacks about 3 years ago when I was going through a time of bad health. I was so bad that the next day, I canceled the tickets. so now we will be traveling in the car for 15 hours instead of on a plane for 3 hours. I have flown in the past & it didn't bother me but I wasn't having problems with UC at the time. I can still feel little minor attacks since the major one last week. I don't know what to do. I am afraid that I will have another major attack. I can't stand losing control of my body that way. I am in fear now of having another one. any suggestions?

Asacol 6 tablets twice daily
Remicade every 8 weeks
Folid Acid daily
Methotrexate 3 times a week
Iron supplements
 


twoply
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 7/6/2008 7:52 PM (GMT -6)   
I have suffered from anxiety in the past. I have learned to manage it by not letting it control me. When you start to feel panicky, watch your breathing - take deep breaths in thru the nose and out thru your mouth. Also, don't have caffeine or sugar or anything that can act as a stimulant, if you know you may be in a situation that can cause panic. Also, try to set up the situation so you're in control as much as possible. Go to the bathroom immediately before boarding the plane and board towards the end so you don't have to wait. Don't eat or drink 30-60 mins before take off. Lastly, try to sit near the bathroom and even explain to the flight attendant what you need.

Anxiety is often a reaction to the fear of loss of control. I know these are simple answers but the real key is to understand what your triggers are and manage them. When I had it and flew a lot, I would take crossword puzzles and other things that would keep my mind distracted and occupied. get an iPod and watch a movie or close your eyes and listen to music.

Lastly, many years ago I used a set of tapes from the midwest center for stress and anxiety. These tapes (I'm sure they're CDs now) really helped me understand and manage my anxiety. That - plus a bunch of therapy - has allowed me to not have anxiety as a major issue any more. It's always there but you won't fear what you understand.

Hope this helps and you have a good trip.
Dx w/ UP in 2005; Dx with UC in 2008
Currently taking: Lialda and Mesalmine Enema (1x per day); Tricor for Cholesterol
Male; age 42; Located in Atlanta


4MY2KIDS
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 7/6/2008 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Winter,
 
I understand where you are coming from, I have bad panic and anxiety attacks to and when i was first diagonsed with UC they started all over again. I went to a outing with my family the other night for the 4th and my daughter wanted me to go on a hay ride so i said sure. OMG would you beleive i had a horrible pain and i was like oh no and my friend said whats wrong. I was just praying the hay ride would be over soon, so i could find a potty fast, and then the panic started now i can't seem to get rid of them from this mess, so if you ever need to chat about panic and anxiety i can listen.  Hope you get better real soon :-)
 
 
 
DX: unspeicied colits as this point :( Oct 08
current meds: asacol 400mg 9 pills a day, kolopin .5mg as needed, bentyl 10mg as needed  
 
 


JEG
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 7/7/2008 1:04 PM (GMT -6)   
i think it's totally normal to feel panic and anxiety from having ulcerative colitis.  trying to get to the bathroom in 15 seconds is tricky even when you know where your bathroom is.  i had my first panic attack during my first flare of ulcerative colitis, so i know exactly where you are coming from.  breathing correctly really helps and telling myself that it's all in my head etc works too.  my dr. also prescribed .25 mg of xanax to take as needed.  as hard as it is, i find that exercising everyday or at least 3-5 times a week is a great way to ease my anxiety and it relieves tension that builds up each day so i am anxious a lot less.  also you could talk to your dr. about anti anxiety meds if none of that works.  those might also help your stomach.

3x3 colazol a day (brand name)
1000 mg canasa bedtime
3 entocort a day
15 mg prednisone daily
2 cortifoam enemas daily
prenatal vitamin
iron supplement
30 weeks pregnant with our first child...it's a girl :)


Winter
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 210
   Posted 7/7/2008 2:56 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks for all your help. my dr gave me celexa today. He thought that I may have a little depression with the anxiety. we will see how that works
Asacol 6 tablets twice daily
Remicade every 8 weeks
Folid Acid daily
Methotrexate 3 times a week
Iron supplements
 


beanie6421
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 7/10/2008 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been having the same thing. Seemed to increase the longer I've been sick. I know it's partly panic/anxiety b/c I will start to feel like I have to find a bathroom NOW and something distracts me or whatever, and as soon as I'm out of the situation, it goes away.

The last year my job has relocated so I have a 50 minute commute and I always get the feeling I have to find a bathroom at like the same exits on the expressway. Or, if I've had an accident (UC kind) at a store, for example, I almost have one again if I go back to the store.

Isn't that bizarre? I hate it, but don't want to go on meds for this. I have a small pharmacy already. I've done the deep breathing, exercising, everything and it doesn't help too much - still have that pain in my bowels.

fitmom00
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 113
   Posted 7/11/2008 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Ask your doctor about taking Immodium before your flight. I took it 3-4x a day when I needed desperately to be "normal" for a few hours. Worked like a charm for me. My doc was all for it, but each has their own opinion.
Renee
Diagnosed w/ UC in August 2007
Current status: In Remission since June 2008

4 Lialda/day maintenance, healthy diet


mbx5
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 365
   Posted 7/11/2008 11:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Great post! Wow anxiety is a huge problem for me right now and it seems to get worse with time. When I know I will not have access to a restroom, I get attacks....and my colon reacts accordingly...thus my signature line about pooping in the woods - and hopefully there are woods around at the time!

Here are some major anxiety points for me:

Driving in traffic
Driving in city areas where there are no natural restrooms
Being a passenger in a car (less situational control - i.e. no immediate response to get to a bathroom or pull over)
Waiting in lines, especially in areas where there are no accessible restrooms such as a bank
Restroom is in use by someone else = panic attack
Going out to eat, then driving home after eating...especially if the wife wants to stop somewhere on the way home....bad news...
Leaving for work in the morning - for some reason, I always have to run back into the house and poop...part of the mental game I think!
Flying...although getting better as I am not as self conscious about using a plane restroom...


The fear of public humiliation by pooping oneself is very powerful and plays very rotten games with my mind! I take ativan in .5mg spurts although that doesnt always help...I have taken 1.5mg at a time and basically passed out in my own slobber - that relaxed me but isnt very recommended...

I considered seeing a psychologist about this stuff. I believe my brain is playing games w/ my body as a reaction to the colitis and it has me stuck in a catch 22.
33 yr old male. UC for 14 years. 5mg pred (tapering off), 12 pills Asacol per day, Dicyclomine (for cramps), 0.5 - 1mg Atavan per day (anxiety) when needed, Fish oil pills, Culturelle probiotics. Recent Endonasal brain surgery to remove non-cancerous hormone producing tumor on pituitary gland (And I am still more afraid of my UC!!)  "I poop in the woods because I can"


shannon1
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 7/11/2008 2:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey mbx5-(assuming ur from CF site)....

I think this is a great thread to!

Not to promote drugs, but i can say that i am already a nervous flyer. My GI prescribes me xanax when i fly. I start taking Immodium and then i take 1/2 a xanax 30min prior to boarding. I do not eat anything that morning! Over the last 4-5 yrs (which is how long i have had uc) i have flown alot, 4-5 trips from miami/co, 1 trip miami/vegas, a few to the bahamas....I have never once had a problem on the flight usuing this regimine....As a pp mentioned, i also try to board last and hit the restroom right before boarding , which sometimes brings a little anexiety (what if i can't go, and then need to when i board, what if i start going and miss the plane, ect), but have not had either of those happen.

anyways, good luck!
2003, dx moderate UC
2000, dx selective IGA deficiency w/ anti IGA antibodies
2000, dx Antipholipid Antibody Syndrome
1999-current, chronic hemmoragic ovarian cysts, w/ partial ovary removal
1977, complete reconstruction of foot after lawnmower accident (chronic pain)
 
Meds
6mp 75mg, prednisone 40mg (just starting meds again)
percocet 5mg 3x day
potassium 3x day
 


ediekristen
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 7/11/2008 2:59 PM (GMT -6)   
If you've already checked in and are stuck in the bathroom when they start boarding, they'll hold the flight. Besides once they start the actual boarding it usually takes 45 minutes to an hour to take off from that point it seems. And even if you're in the first "boarding group" that doesn't matter, you can still be the last person on the plane.

I always get a little anxious when I fly because I've never used an airplane bathroom before and don't want to. I usually load up on Ibuprofen and try and stay as calm as possible. I know that's easier said than done but once you're on the plane just try and fall asleep or do something to keep you occupied... I've always gone to the bathroom right before getting on and then been fine on the plane and then I'm running to the toilet right when I get off, haha.

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar region of the spine from long term prednisone use. 

Currently unmedicated and flaring :(
Waiting for my appointment with the new GI on July 18th. Insurance finally kicked in, hooray!

 
 
 


kops2da
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 2865
   Posted 7/11/2008 3:33 PM (GMT -6)   

Oh, can I relate - even before UC - with just anxiety causing diarrhea.

You wrote - "Then I started thinking what if my colon acts up during landing or take off & I can't get to a bathroom."Don't let anyone tell you you can't go to the bathroom when taking off or landing.  You just INSIST.  (I told one attendant she could clean up after me instead or let me go LOL) 

Shannon has the right idea - what works for me also.  Eat only about 4 hours before your flight - you know what you can or can't eat that will affect you most.  I take Imodium every 4 hours until I know I am safely in hotel or ? with a bathroom.  I have flown about 6 times that way and never had a problem.

My doc gave me Xanax for anxiety also - small doses help. Deep breathing especially if you are in a car waiting to get to a bathroom really helps me!!

It is not easy to relax but that is the best you can do. AND eating less.

ElaineNY


68 yr. old granny
New UC (with rectal bleeding and diarrhea)- 3 months ago, colonoscopy showed mild
UC rectal and little above.
Using Canasa 1000mg. once a day - added Colazal 3X2 for a month
Probiotic Align (after trying primal defense)
Prilosec for GERD
Inderol for hypertension
Xanax and Lipitor
 
 
 
 
 


Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4034
   Posted 7/11/2008 6:31 PM (GMT -6)   
One time before I had UC, I was in the bathroom on a plane right before take off (I had just boarded and just got my period after boarding...so I needed to use the bathroom). The flight attendant started pounding on the bathroom door and yelling at me that I needed to get out. It was super embarrassing. When I came out, everyone was looking at me like I did something horrible, but all I did was use the bathroom. I absolutely hate flying anyway because I'm super claustrophobic. Even thinking about being on an airplane makes me feel all anxious inside. I hope I never have to fly anywhere again, honestly...but if I do, I will ask my doctor for Xanax.
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; yet to go into complete remission
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day



Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 1/day; Chewable multivitamin; Metamucil;
<FONT color=#800080>Viactiv; Zinc supplement every few days


mbx5
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 365
   Posted 7/11/2008 9:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I dont want to hijack your post but this story kind of fits in here. I will keep it short...its pretty funny when you hear it from the guy who did it...

A friend of mine once held a plane back for over an hour....he had horrible gas and let out a nasty one just before takeoff... He was in the back of the plane nearest to the flight attendants back there... They thought that there was a problem with the planes sewage system being backed up so they had to call in the pumper-trucker again and inspect everything...all from a bad fart... He was proud of it..

Sorry off topic but it fit in... :)
33 yr old male. UC for 14 years. 5mg pred (tapering off), 12 pills Asacol per day, Dicyclomine (for cramps), 0.5 - 1mg Atavan per day (anxiety) when needed, Fish oil pills, Culturelle probiotics. Recent Endonasal brain surgery to remove non-cancerous hormone producing tumor on pituitary gland (And I am still more afraid of my UC!!)  "I poop in the woods because I can"


puffed rice
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 7/12/2008 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Winter, I know exactly what you are going through.  My husband was going to Europe and I had the opportunity to go along but because of my UC and fear of having to go on the plane I kept saying no.  Well the night before he left he told me that I was booked to go, well thank goodness a family member had xanax.  I took half of a pill before bed and the next morning I took another half along with 1 Lomotil before I headed out to the airport.  Well I was relaxed, and had no panicky feelings or urgency for the washroom for the whole 8 hrs on the plane. I repeated the same thing on my return and was fine.  I even ate the airplane food with no problems.
I was so glad I went but I always carry Lomotil and a few xanax in my purse just in case they really help.
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 1995
Salofalk Tablets , salofalk suppositories or cortifoam nightly
Bio-K Probiotic daily
multivitamin
metamucil nightly


Winter
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 210
   Posted 7/12/2008 5:38 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks I will keep that in mind.
Asacol 6 tablets twice daily
Remicade every 8 weeks
Folid Acid daily
Methotrexate 3 times a week
Iron supplements
 


seldom_seen
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/12/2008 6:50 PM (GMT -6)   

I know your pain, sort of. Airplanes I can handle -- it's cars that torment me.

I have suffered from a specific phobia -- fear of highway driving -- since 2002 that, I have to believe, would not have manifested itself if I didn't have UC (Dx'd in 1998 with left-sided UC, mild-to-moderate symptoms ever since).  A few months after I was diagnosed, I took a job in pharmaceutical sales (I was so new to the disease that it didn't occur to me that driving around all day with UC would be a form of torture). 

After 3.5 years of driving 3-7 hours a day, scrambling to any roadside bathroom when the urge struck (making it, typically, in the nick of time, but twice -- traumatically -- not), I guess the software in my brain made an association between driving and being out of control (my shot clock is more than 15 seconds, but it can't be much more than 90 seconds, at times), because I started having panic attacks for no good reason as I drove on highways (sweaty palms, indigestion, racing heart, dizziness, a disassociated feeling, etc.). It's absolutely terrifying when you're careening down the highway at 70+ mph.

Since then, I have tried to control my anxiety with Zoloft (blunted and sedated me, but didn't help), Effexor (loved it, but it absolutely shredded my GI system, top to bottom), Lexapro (nothing), Xanax (.5 mg BID -- still take it, only mildly helpful), a psychiatrist (worthless) and a psychologist (used cognitive-behavioral therapy -- i.e. confront your fears. Might have worked had I stuck with it, but it became cost-prohibitive). The only thing that has really helped is intense physical activity -- when I am in shape, my anxiety (and UC) is notably less problematic.

 

Anyway, this phobia (and generalized anxiety) has gotten so bad that, if I had a choice, I'd rid myself of it instead of UC, as much as I hate the disease.


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 7/12/2008 7:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Just some input from a crohnie. I ended up going to see a therapist to help me with my panic attacks. I started getting them all the time! If you don't start fighting them now they may get worse! As to flying, I second the others. Unless they are literally touching down you can usually say its an emergency and go. Pick your seat online and sit right next to the toilets. It is really hard for someone to stop you when you are that close. I am also afraid of flying and was prescribed xanax for an overseas flight. My crohns was never better. That nervousness brings the D right on. I also took immodium and hyosciamine. I packed my own snacks for the flight so my blood sugar wouldn't get too low but that way I would have "safe" foods.

Here are some pointers I got from my therapist that really snapped me into reality:

1.) If you have an accident what is the *worst* that will happen? I mean "worst"! You will be mortified. Other people will be grossed out. You might cry. But eventually you will wash up, change your clothes, and life will go on. The sun will rise tomorrow, the world will not stop turning. Most people won't actually judge you but will feel sorry for you. And who cares what they think? They are 200 strangers you will probably never even see again. You could wear a diaper on the plane to make sure you didn't ruin the seat if it happened. OK so I guess the worse case scenario would include a big bill from the airline. But still, life WOULD go on. People puke on planes all the time, right? So pooping isn't that far off. Bring an extra set of everything with you. Wear some sweatpants you wouldn't mind leaving in the trash can. Do everything you can to feel as comfortable as possible that you COULD survive the worst.

This is more for the people that have anxiety in all situations, not just planes.

2.) Start small, get comfortable driving alone in the country. If you poop in the woods, no one knows. It is natures largest public bathroom.
3.) Start driving in the city alone. But know your rest areas and feel prepared. If the worst happens, it is your secret, no one else has to know.
4.) Once you are comfortable with that, start riding with friends, but drive so you still have control. You can pull over or speed or break traffic laws if you must and not have to worry about someone not getting you there fast enough.
5.) Once you master that, ride with a spouse as a passenger or someone else you are comfortable with, etc....

Do deep breathing as others suggested.

On the plane! Distract yourself. Get on, shut your eyes, turn on music (until you have to shut it off).... Once the plane starts moving start counting. Before you know it you will be at cruising altitude. That first ding allows the flight attendants to get up. If you had an emergency you could sneak to the restroom then even though no one else was allowed up yet.

Visit fear of flying websites and voice your concerns. They are often run by pilots and flight attendants who can tell you about lots of people needing to use the bathroom before take off or during a landing. They will make you feel better.

www.getonthatplane.com
www.fearofflyinghelp.com
26 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


Blue220
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 7/12/2008 10:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Do you have one of those cards that states you have to be able to get to the bathroom even if one is not available to the public? In Minnesota there's a statute for it, so I have one of those cards.

I got it from my doctor 'just in case'. And like another poster said, don't let anyone tell you that you can't go to the bathroom. If you have to go, you have to go.
21 years old
Diagnosed with moderate/severe UC June 2007(undiagnosed a while before that. It was terrible).
Now taking Lialda 3x a day, and just started taking Entocort(3 pills in the morning) on 5/29/08. Hopefully that helps. I've had this flare I cannot get rid of, and it's cramping my entire life. Oh, and my summer vacation.
Severely anemic, now taking 3 65mg iron tablets a day.
Also might have celiac disease. In the process of being tested for that.


kops2da
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 2865
   Posted 7/13/2008 11:33 AM (GMT -6)   

Laura,

That regulation has not passed in NY yet - only some states have it.  Legistratures are working on it.  Most are very nice about letting me "go" but it helps to have white hair and a cane as I do!!  Elaine


68 yr. old granny
New UC (with rectal bleeding and diarrhea)- 3 months ago, colonoscopy showed mild
UC rectal and little above.
Using Canasa 1000mg. once a day - added Colazal 3X2 for a month
Probiotic Align (after trying primal defense)
Prilosec for GERD
Inderol for hypertension
Xanax and Lipitor
 
 
 
 
 


Winter
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 210
   Posted 7/13/2008 7:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Once I am on the plane, I am ok. It is the thoughts of getting on the plane that drives me crazy. I also get afraid that I will have a panic attack at the airport. When I flew in the past, I would have panic attacks the night before me flight. But once I got up in the morning and went to the airport, I was just fine. This time, I booked my flight about 3 weeks in advance and started getting panicky when I was reserving my tickets online. I was up most of the night with D & dry heaving. The next morning, I told my husband & we canceled our flight. I couldn't stand having that anixiety for 3 weeks. I hadn't had an attack for about 2 years. Since I had the attack last week, I have had mini attacks. It is such a horrible feeling losing control of your body that way.  

Asacol 6 tablets twice daily
Remicade every 8 weeks
Folid Acid daily
Methotrexate 3 times a week
Iron supplements
 


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 7/14/2008 7:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I hear ya loud and clear. I have a fear of flying on top of my crohns panic. Just know that after you board you can use the bathroom on the plane before take off and the same goes for landing. If you are at the gate and waiting for the folks in front of you to deplane and you have to go you can still use the on plane restroom. Also, one time in flight the drink cart was blocking my way to the bathroom and I was allowed to use the first class one after telling a f/a it was a bathroom emergency. They don't want you pooping your pants anymore than you want to. I was also on a SUPER turbulent flight to NYC and a lady practically crawled to the bathroom. She said it was an emergency and no one stopped her even though she was supposed to be buckled up. She was in there about an hour. The only time that it truly is unsafe to get up is while the flight attendants are seated and belted during take off and landing. That is usually less than 10 minutes each time.
26 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


Winter
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 210
   Posted 7/14/2008 5:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for info. I will keep that in mind that next time I HAVE to fly. :)
Asacol 6 tablets twice daily
Remicade every 8 weeks
Folid Acid daily
Methotrexate 3 times a week
Iron supplements
 


beanie6421
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 7/17/2008 10:52 AM (GMT -6)   
MBX, you captured my life with your post. I've been okay flying, but the few times I've flown, I was not real sick, so I was okay.

That's a tough one though, I'm sure, for many. Sucky, sucky, sucky.
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