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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I just wondered how do you all cope with controlling your symptoms in a different environment? I'm in my first year at uni and, since I've started, I've been having to leave the classroom most lessons, despite lectures only lasting for an hour max. I eventually got used to this at college, but at uni, I find it v. hard to deal with, especially when other students just give me funny looks at times and since I wanted to try and meet lots of people when I started, I've found my bowel issues have really impacted the way I socialise with new people. Anybody else felt like this?I've always enjoyed meeting new people etc, but at uni, students seem to judge soo quickly and hence the fact that now I don't have many peers I could turn to if I had a problem with the course etc I understand that stress can definitely exacerbate ones symptoms and it doesn't help that I'm struggling with my course. I want to graduate from a good uni, with a good degree, but sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right course for me to be constantly stressed out about symptoms and whether or not I'll be able to sit through an exam without having to leave. Can anybody else relate to this? I find it really hard to control my symptoms and, consequently had to leave an exam which caused me to miss the end half of the exam. I've got exams next week ..eeek..It's got to the point where I'm thinking is it really worth me continuing with my degree and perhaps I should choose another career path which I enjoy. I apologise, as this has turned into what looks like an essay! I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks.
 

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Hey it's your first year! Give yourself a break! Everyone has some trouble adjusting at first and I bet your gut will calm down once you completely adjust to everything. Take some meds (like imodium if you have D or some sort of osmotic or stool softener daily if you have chronic C) to get through your exams. If you have to rely on meds a bit.. there is no shame in that. Naturally everyone is a bit nervous their first term so all this means that you are "normal"... so no worries.
Use relaxation and any other means to give yourself some calm moments during the exams. Really... use music or any other means you have to get even just some extra moments of peace. Think good thoughts and try to keep your thinking away from negative thoughts.Keep us posted!I wish you all the best!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks BQ. I hope I didn't come across as moaning too much! I just find it hard when I can't really confide in anybody on my course. And I understand it's only my first year and although the majority of people think 'first year is easy', I can now confirm that they are mistaken. I just worry too much because I'm already falling behind- Oh well, c'est la vie as they say!
 

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Hi there,I just registered several minutes ago and automatically went to the teen board, hoping I'd find someone going through what I'm going through.I'm in my first year of university as a business student. I dread school everyday. The doctor diagnosed me with IBS-D just a few weeks ago. Exam time was a NIGHTMARE. I lived off of pepto-bismol and took a lot of calcium supplements, but still, my symptoms were so severe that nothing really helped. It terrified to me know that I would have to sit in the exam room for at least an hour. I filled my exam out as quickly as possible. I get very nauseous and have the constant urge to go to the bathroom. Like you have said, in university, there is the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. I love meeting new people, however, it makes me nervous. If I have plans to hang out with somebody, I will get so anxious that I will get several bouts of diarrhea and I will eventually have to cancel my plans. It's very disapointing and it is very difficult to make friends when you constantly have to bail on people. I'm not rude, I just have IBS! If you'd like, message me and we can talk more. We are the same age and appear to have similar problems.
 

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You guys... 1st year might be a bit easier academically BUT that is only because it is so hard in other ways. Like just the general adjustment TO uni is not easy. All new people.. your old network of friends are no longer right there by you .... away from friends & family.... etc>> It IS difficult.. so please do not minimize it. Chica.. try.. REAL hard to sit through an entire class. Do NOT let your nerves get the better of you. TELL yourself you CAN make through an hour. Heck you know you can do that because I bet you can sit in your room for an hour without having to go to the bathroom. Calming self talk... positive self talk can make ALL the difference for you. So tell yourself you CAN do this instead of saying to yourself "I can't". You definitely can make it an hour. And then>>>>Once you sit through one class ALL the way through.. it becomes easier to sit through the next one and then the one after that...>>etc.Also....TREAT your symptoms with the meds the Docs gave you or OTC supplements or meds or various others methods you see here on our forums. Like .. Michelle.. Ginger Capsules are terrific on nausea, try them.Try to stay away from junk foods and eat as healthy as you can. Get enough sleep too as that can have an effect on our guts too. Both of you can do this.. just be patient with you and give yourself half a chance. And listen.. you already have done it! And ARE doing it.. right? Things WILL get easier from here on out as you adjust to your schools and also as you learn to manage your IBS symptoms.Keep in touch here and with each other. There's nothing like someone who SO understands how it is. I am proud of what both of you have done already! And I know you are both going to accomplish great things!
 

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I agree with BQ about believing you can last through the hour. I'm in my second year of uni and though my IBS is by no means brilliant I do think I've got a little better at not rushing to the bathroom so much. I used to have to go in the middle of most lectures too, or before, or after, or all threee. Sometimes there was nothing even there barely, it was nerves, all anxiety. Now I try to not go, especially during or after, before I excuse myself from moreso. I try to hold on unless I really have to and since I started saying 'you don't need to go' and getting through it slowly the occurences of needing to go deceased, now it is onlly say one lecture every 3 weeks I will have to leave in the middle of class, though admitedly I'd say half of lectures I still run to the bathroom just beforehand, despite going before I left my flat also, but ah well. You can't have everything.Keep battling with the nerves, I guarantee it will get better. Hang in there.
 

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Just wanted to pop in and say I, too am at university (for business), it's now my third year but I know exactly how you feel. My lectures like yours seem to be are an hour long but they feel like the longest hour I've ever experienced. Even if I've used the bathroom right before class the minute I get into class I feel like I need to use the bathroom again, and the feeling goes on throughout the entire class, which makes it terribly difficult to concentrate when all you can think about is using a bathroom. What do you all do to get the thoughts off of your mind when sitting in class?? I do it, but I hate to run out of a lecture mid-class, because then everyone sees and hears you get up and opening/closing the door, and I swear everyone is staring at me when I walk back in.The one thing that has helped me, and I don't know if you both have one at your schools, but the disability department at my school has made all sorts of arrangements for me to make-up exams, reduce penalties for missed classes and let professors know that I may need to leave in the middle of classes.Also, I don't about you all, but mornings are 100x worse for me than afternoons, so I've tried to schedule my classes for the afternoon and found it's a big help.I can also say the first year was definitely the most difficult for me, and that it'll get easier I can promise that. I know my first year I had a random roommate which can definitely add to stress, I also didn't know all of my triggers at that time - so once you make it past that first year I'm sure it'll get easier, it did for me at least.
 

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Dear Chica20, I too am a student and I know how tough it can be with ibs. I am currently in graduate school. When my ibs was at its worst (about a year ago), I had similar problems sitting through class. It was hell. Unfortunately all my classes were small seminar classes that required presentations and significant participation; leaving class was very noticeable. However, since I have been working on improving my ibs and the stress and anxiety that trigger it, things are now more manageable: I can go to class, teach, socialize, etc. with less disturbances. Remember there is LOTS of things you can do to reduce your anxiety if it is triggering your ibs! Talk to a doctor, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist. Although different things work for different people, I would be more than happy to tell you about the different things I’ve been doing to try to manage my ibs and anxiety and maybe recommend some resources. Best luck!
 

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Hey, I'm in my first year too. I'd never had any symptoms of IBS until about 3 weeks into the first semester, but they got progressively worse through last semester to the point where I dreaded going to lectures & seminars (my seminars are two hours long - that's a long time to sit & panic about maybe needing the bathroom!) I went home for a month over Christmas & without the stress of uni my symptoms got a bit better, but I dreaded coming back. I too thought maybe I'd made the wrong decision with university and was considering dropping out. I just find it really hard as I'm not used to dealing with IBS, the transition from home to uni was hard enough without developing IBS in the process! So far this semester (fingers crossed!) I haven't had too many problems as I've managed to work out a few ways to make things a little easier.I get up a lot earlier than my first class - I'm lucky as all my classes are at 11/12 so I normally get up at about 8 which gives me plenty of time to eat my breakfast, go to the bathroom if I need to, etc.I sit near the back in lectures & at the end of the row, so that if I really feel like I need to leave I can do so without disrupting anyone (there's nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of a row with no escape for an hour!) I've not even felt like I've needed to leave a lecture since I started sitting at the back, I think just the reassurance that I can leave quickly if I want is enough.I also try and sit near(ish) the door in seminars, just again with a bit of peace of mind.I try not to eat right before a class, I leave myself at least an hour between eating and going to class.If I'm going to be drinking alcohol/going for a meal or something that might upset my stomach, I try and do it on a night when I don't have a lot of classes the next day.That being said, I haven't had any exams yet & I'm dreading them. The doctor I've seen here has been really nice so I'm considering going to her a few weeks before exams & asking whether there's anything they can do - such as letting me sit the exam in a separate room. The thought of sitting in absolute silence for several hours in a room full of people pretty much fills me with terror.This had turned into a mammoth response so I'll leave it there, but yeah basically you're not the only one and after a while you'll work out ways to make it a little easier
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice! I'm going to be more positive from now on and tell my self that I 'can' sit through a lecture without needing the toilet. I think the worst part about leaving during a lesson is the reaction you get from other students- as 'EastCoastcabe' said, it can make one rather paranoid when you re-enter the classroom and get stared at by other students. Hopefully I'll be less stressed next year so that symptoms don't flare up. Has anybody been to see a counsellor about managing stress/anxiety? If so, I was wondering if it helped control your symptoms? 'Chazmonet' I would really appreciate it if you could tell me what you did to manage your symptoms! 'Daisychain'- I hope you are finding your symptoms easier to control. I can relate to getting up earlier to allow plenty of time to get ready etc. Although, I'm sure the days feel v. long and tiring if you get up early every day. With regards to your exam arrangements- I finished my exams yesterday and request that I sat my exam in a separate venue- if you have a student service or disability place, you should definitely see if they can sort out some alternative exam arrangements. You'd need a doctors note or any medical documentation. It definitely helped to keep control of the nerves and you should be entitled to breaks so that you still get the alloted exam time. Good luck with your studies etc.
 

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Dear Chica20, I have tried doing a number of things to control the stress and anxiety that trigger my ibs. For me, food isn't really a trigger. Hopefully what works for me will help you too. First, I make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. If I cut back on sleep I am way more likely to experience ibs symptoms. Second, I exercise regularly. For me that is weights and playing tennis. Third, I do daily relaxation exercises. For this I would strongly recommend, the ibs hypnotherapy audio tapes. You can get them here: http://www.healthyaudio.com/ they are a great tool for deep relaxation. Fourth, I make sure to take downtime. As a student and TA life can get very busy for me, but I've read that you ought to take at least 1 hour of downtime a day, and take one day off each week. Fifth, I practice deep breathing. A psychologist showed me how to do deep breathing as a way to try to deal with the anxiety that comes when I'm worried about my IBS flaring up. Distracting myself by talking to people also works very well for me when trying to deal with anxiety. Sixth, if I have a big presentation to make or some other occasion where I am really anxious I take medication. I generally avoid anxiety medication but occasionally I still find it necessary to take a clonazepam in order to ensure I won't have any ibs symptoms during something important. Anxiety medication is something you might talk to your doctor about if you can't find any other way to control anxiety that is triggering ibs. Seventh, I have even been doing some cognitive therapy work in which you try to change the way you think and talk to yourself in order to avoid problematic patterns of thought that are self-critical or anxiety provoking. Also, I find that Imodium helps quite bit. I take two after any ibs episode and that is usually enough.Anyways, I hope some of this might help. However, everyone is different and you may find that your ibs triggers are mainly food related. Remember, I'm not a doctor; I would strongly recommend you talk to one to see if any of the strategies I've mentioned might be right for you. Best luck and keep positive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dear chazmonet, thank you soo much for the help and advice you provided!! I'll definitely give them a go to see if things improves. I'm going to look into getting an audio tape too. Hope everything os going well at graduate school and thanks again!
 

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Hey!I have exam problems too. I'm still in school, in my last year. My mock exams are coming up next week and I dont know who to turn to. My mum tells me to think positive and it'll all be okay and if I insist it wont she gets angry and says I have to do it anyway. Theres no way I'll do anywhere near as good as I could do by sitting in a silent room with 90 other people for over 3 hours with no break
Any ideas? I'd love a seperate room to do my exams but theres no way I'll get it because my school is really strict. They know about my IBS and insist its all stress. We also arent allowed to go to the bathroom between lunchtimes so I have to wait 2 hours between bathroom breaks. I just cant deal with it anymore...I feel like I'm going insane, literally
x
 

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wow! im still trying to get over the fact that im not the only one whos ever had a hard time sitting through class because of my good 'ol digestive system. daisychain, ive got the same seat preference although it took me a lot longer to figure it out! if i start panicking in class i could tell myself that its ok bec the doors right there and i shouldnt care if anyone thinks im odd for leaving. im glad that this semesters been easier for you and i hope that continues. the seperate room idea for exams is great but im a tad embarrassed to ask for it. i know it would really help me though. the quieter the room, the more stressed i get n during an exam theres no teacher talking. so if theres no noise making heater on either my stress level goes through the roof.
 

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NeedSupport-x your school wont let you leave to use the bathroom? thats really tough. is that even legal? i know that its not the healthiest choice, but maybe try not eating the day of the exam until its over (if its early on in the day). Anti-anxiety meds could help too. whatever you do, i hope it works out and you get through the exams easily. keep us posted!
 

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Hey,I'm a second year university student, I was diagnose last summer with IBS, so fortunately I was able to enjoy my first year like any other student. In the second year I was begining to self-managed my IBS, so I had relatively few problems, I have IBS-C however, I really, really feel for those with IBS-D. It's hard because normal day to day things like going to lectures makes me stressed, which of course adds to the IBS problems.What I would suggest is that you should take a few days off and re-assess where you want your career to go - like you said is this the right degree for you? It may be that you are not enjoying it because of the lack of friendship. Weigh out the pros and cons of the course and uni life.Secondly, go to your tutor or course director etc, and explain your problems and concerns. Not just about the course but also your health. It is vital you have a professional at university who understands your situation - this is quite a common condition so you never know another student may have approached them with the same concerns as you.Thirdly, and this may sound silly as it did when a doctor suggested it to me, but go for some councelling. I'm going next week to get advice on stress management and to discuss personal problems. If you google the Gut Trust, it's a UK based website which gives advice on these matters. I learnt that feeling down can cause different chemicals to be released, which can accumulate and be stored over a period of time if you are down. These stored chemicals need to be released and once they have can cause digestion problems. I hope this helps, it's a comfort to know others are going through the same thing though I'd never wish it upon anybody, you can add me as a friend if you need to chat.Sophie.
 

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Hey, I was actually given a seperate room because I got so stressed I was just suffering all the time. You know the whole IBS starts, get stressed, IBS gets worse. Its a vicious circle. So my principal suggested the seperate room to help me deal with it all
My mocks started today and even though it was a hard paper I was just glad to not be in the exam room x
 

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Hi there, I'm a 22 year old 4th year law student. I was amazed at how similar my problems are to yours! It's impossible for me to sit through a lecture if I'm not sure I can leave whenever I want to. Every activity is extremely stressful for me, from going shopping to going for a walk. It seems like I've become the 'toilet detector' whenever I go out. the first thing is to look for the toilets, and if there aren't any I get so stressed that it literally triggers an attack. Students normally spend the whole day roaming around campus, but every free hour I get I try to go back home, cos there is the only place I feel safe. I try to think positive but mostly nothing helps me get my mind off the possibility of utter public humiliation!!! I almost always miss my 8 and 9 o'clock lectures in the morning since mornings are the worst for me, sometimes I manage to go even 5 times in an hour! and i'm always late everywhere I go since as soon as I'm ready to leave i panic so much that I get another attack! I can't figure out how i can manage to calm myself so mostly I end up staying at home
 

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Hi there, I'm a 22 year old 4th year law student. I was amazed at how similar my problems are to yours! It's impossible for me to sit through a lecture if I'm not sure I can leave whenever I want to. Every activity is extremely stressful for me, from going shopping to going for a walk. It seems like I've become the 'toilet detector' whenever I go out. the first thing is to look for the toilets, and if there aren't any I get so stressed that it literally triggers an attack. Students normally spend the whole day roaming around campus, but every free hour I get I try to go back home, cos there is the only place I feel safe. I try to think positive but mostly nothing helps me get my mind off the possibility of utter public humiliation!!! I almost always miss my 8 and 9 o'clock lectures in the morning since mornings are the worst for me, sometimes I manage to go even 5 times in an hour! and i'm always late everywhere I go since as soon as I'm ready to leave i panic so much that I get another attack! I can't figure out how i can manage to calm myself so mostly I end up staying at home
This describes how i feel almost exactly. It's ridiculous at how i can feel fine and as soon as i know that i have to leave the house or that i can't get to a toilet easily i start to feel like i really need one.
 
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