panic, bowel and sleep

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 714
   Posted 7/25/2008 9:47 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm actually a member of the UC and IBS forums as I've been having bowel issues for about 2 yrs now.
My treatment for both these conditions seems to be going well. The doctors have monitored my inflammation markers and they have remained normal for a year now. Yet I'm still having bowel issues.
My doctor has now suggested to me that part of my bowel problems could be as a result of high levels of stress. He's given me a book to read about panic. I would never have thought that I suffer panic attacks but I read a piece where it said a panic attack can occur while you sleep. I definitely have evidence of this. My initial sleep is very disturbed, I wake up with a racing heart, with sweats and with a terrible sense of forboding. Even when I drift off to sleep I fear something bad will happen.
I know very little about panic attacks so if any member could give me some advice or opinions I want I've written it would be such a big help. This is kinda new and strange to me. I guess I'm asking how
1) Panic affects your bowel
2) Do you suffer from sleep induced panic attacks.
Many Thanks,
Med free for a bit as I needed a break from Asacol
"Whatever you do in life don't berate yourself too much nor contragulate yourself too much. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody elses'"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 7/25/2008 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   

My experience was that acid reflux caused breathing problems while I slept, and I'd wake in a panic because I couldn't breathe. For quite a while, my docs diagnosed it entirely as anxiety, so at least they thought it was common to have sleep-induced panic attacks.


Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 354
   Posted 7/25/2008 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Even when I am not flaring with my UC I can have bowel problems. I think there is a direct link between our brains and our bowels. My Aunt who has UC also (but has been in remission for years) says every time there is a thunderstorm she has to run to the bathroom. She was in a tornado when she was little and storms really scare her even though she is in her fifties now.
Jessica 27/F 20mg pred
dicyclomine 10Mg as needed
Citalopram 20 MG
omeprazole(for acid reflex)
Tried (Entorcort EC 9ml/day and Prednisone, Asacol ,colazal, Culturelle)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 7/25/2008 3:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I have Crohns and suffer with anxiety. When the anxiety hits I almost feel like I am flaring. I get nausea, D etc. I take Xanax for those times when the anxiety hits and if I catch early enough I can stop it completely. Hope that helps.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 7/25/2008 7:56 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Damo,

Welcome to the A/P forum. I have IBS and I believe it is caused largely by my anxiety disorder. The way it was explained to me is that your bowel is part of your central nervous system and when you are anxious or panicking then this affects you whole CNS, including your bowel, which can cause spasms etc. Learning some relaxation techniques is a great tool, and reading up about anxiety will help you to understand more about how it all works. Has your doctor suggested any type of counselling for this anxiety?

It is possible to have an anxiety/panic attack in your sleep (dang sneaky if you ask me!)..but the more you learn to control your anxiety, the less likely this is to occur. I hope this helps you out a little. Please let us know how you get on.


Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess

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