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Mental health and IBS

Hi all. I've been strugling with everyday IBS "attacks" for few weeks and when I have to cope with pain and nausea and everything everyday (for almost whole day, sometimes it even wakes me up) and it kinda makes impact on my mental health. I start feeling unwilling to do anything, to go outside, it is hard to work, I feel like everyday is a struggle and not living and it kinda scares me. I don't know how to deal with that. I can deal with occasional flare ups, once a week, but when it is everyday for few weeks, it is sooo hard to take. Any advice how to go through this and not to feel this way? I don't want to feel like I have to survive the day just to have the same problem waiting the next day.

  1. Thanks for sharing and reaching out. You are not alone here. Please be sure to speak with your doctor about any new, changing or concerning symptoms, if you haven't already. I hope others here in our community chime in to share what helps them get through. In addition to speaking with your doctor, this article may be helpful: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/what-do-during-flare-up. Wishing you some relief very soon. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team member

    1. Hey! I also have IBS + mental health issues (mostly anxiety) and realized a long time ago that anxiety is a direct trigger for my symptoms. I can sit here and just think about something that's causing me anxiety and I start to have cramps and need to go to the bathroom within minutes. Every time I have a stressful conversation/argument with my S/O it comes on so fast. I've been dealing with this for over a decade and I can't stress enough how important it is to practice mindfulness of your own mental health. Biofeedback helps me get my anxiety in control in the moment. I feel like... if your mental landscape is super hostile, your body will be also, if that makes any sense.

      1. Thank you so much ff sharing your experience and what helps you cope. So true that there is certainly a connection that many feel. Glad you've been able to identify it and work toward mindfulness and managing anxiety. Wishing you the best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

      2. I'm the same way! I always notice a huge difference in my symptoms depending on whether I'm anxious about something or not, even when I eat the exact same things. Thank you so much for sharing. How have you been feeling lately? Karina (team member)

    2. My IBS caused anxiety and depression symptoms to appear after a few months of not really managing it, before I really knew how to.

      Ended up going on an SSRI and things are practically back to normal.


      There is certainly a possible causal link between IBS and Anxiety/depression

      1. As described below. Thanks.

      2. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm so glad you're doing better, even if it's not perfect. All the best, Karina (team member)

    3. Keep acting - keep trying new things - to give you a sense of control. Try eliminating acidic foods and adding bland ones. Take stock of your life. Are there stress triggers you can eliminate? I actually left my family for a few months to escape overwhelming domestic chores. I got a small apt. in a neighborhood where there are lots of public toilets so that I could just walk and unwind alone. It gave the marriage a break. I ended contact with a poisonous sibling. What a relief.


      Recently I have reintroduced workouts on my elliptical trainer and strength training for pain relief. Liftees REALLY help sore neck and shoulders long term. Monster stomach often responds with the threat of explosion but if I'm home no problem. Monster doesn't like to be shaken but he's getting conditioned regardless. I cannot let Monster control exercise more than he does. It gets easier with practice. I also pray every day, which renews hope. I don't know how anyone can live without quiet, desperate pleas to the heavens for relief from the usual sorrows and joys.


      Honestly, I have found NO HELP from MDs. If their reductionist approach doesn't yield an easy diagnosis, I haven't yet met one willing to pursue investigation. Maybe such MDs exist but I haven't met one.


      I contemplated a Mayo Clinic visit last year but corona fraud restrictions created an unacceptable, bankrupting detention risk so I had to cancel.


      Mostly, after my 'sabbatical,' I'm better. But there are enough flares to keep my attention. I've learned not to plan an outing after eating, never to walk more than a few blocks in a place without toilets and never to rely on transit. Few transit stations here have toilets! Who knew?


      The human mind is much more adaptive than you might think. Crises pass and there's a break in the weather that will let you breathe. When that happens, take stock of what you're doing, thinking and eating so that you can maintain it. It's a chore to have to live so mindfully but baby steps.

      1. Absolutely love these tips. Very productive comment. Thanks for sharing! -Elizabeth (team member)

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