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Hey folks,

Since my IBS troubles began nearly 6 months ago I've been experiencing rather severe cognitive symptoms: an unusual quality to my vision/ almost tunnel vision at times/ feeling distant from the environment, working memory or short-term memory problems/ cannot follow conversations or retain much of what I read/ not recall what I had done over the day, and my mental speed has declined considerably. There are also physical symptoms such as pressure in the head and in and around my eyes. Early on I described the experience as being drunk or having dementia. Zombie Brain!!

In November there was simultaneous improvement across all symptoms, both GI and cognitive, but I'm far,far from normal. Right now it's the cognitive symptoms that are really troubling me as it gets in the way of, well, everything. I should add I also suffer from a social/ performance type of anxiety and my stress and anxiety levels were incredibly high in the weeks before the IBS symptoms began, due to some triggering events. My main GI symptoms are chronic pain/discomfort and slow, borderline constipation. I haven't had a symptom free day since this began.

Has anyone else had similar cognitive issues accompany IBS? Any explanations as to what is happening?

Does anyone have advice or suggestions on how to improve this condition?

Feeling frustrated and a little hopeless.

Thanks
 

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Been there. My work suffered emensly over the past 6 months. I'm constantly amazed at how similar some of our stories are.

I think it's mostly a product of being in your own head and focusing on your symptoms. Anxiety isn't always latent. Don't discount the fact you have a lot of seretonin production etc taking place in the gut. Your Dr is unlikely to discuss that with you. Look up ENS and some of this may become a little more clear.

Research is just beginning to catch up with what was considered pseudoscience less than a decade ago.
 

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I've had the same issues. Much more "out of it" since the SIBO symptoms began. Very forgetful, difficult to focus, difficult to get my thoughts together, etc.
 

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I have a bit of brain fog since diagnosed with IBS and my naturopath is certain I have SIBO.. I am currently dizzy and I get dizzy feeling or light-headedness for up to 4 or 5 days at a time and then I am afraid to drive. I am also more short tempered and moody but that could be my age and the fact I'm female - could be a bit of menopause coming up. Either way, the dizziness really is annoying. I got such bad dizziness last August that I was having the black outs... and my neuro said I had a bad migraine? Told me to take magnesium, calcium and Vit D but the magnesium kills my guts... can't do it.
 

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Hi Missi,

yeah the first three months my vision was so strange. I was so disoriented. I was afraid of driving or riding a bike.

Right now I'm just trying to take care of the basics: sleep, exercise, meditation and some supplements.

Diet is about to become an issue as I'm about to start with the low fodmap diet. It includes some brain friendly foods like salmon, walnuts, dark chocolate and healthy oils but there are a lot of fruit and vegetable restrictions in the exclusion phase.

I'm hoping in the coming months this will improve my cognitive symptoms. Otherwise I'm likely to start experimenting with some nootropics - supposed cognitive enhancing supplements- or go down the SSRI route in case my symptom severity is the result of the synergy of the ibs and anxiety. I really don't want to take an SSRI but I can't live feeling like a dunce. Ahhhh...

Does your dizziness seem to correlate with the GI symptom severity?
 

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I feel like your doctor should have talked to you already about this.. but just incase

Is it migraines/tension type headaches that are being triggered by anxiety from the IBS symptoms.

Because the mental fogginess/visual disturbances sort of sound like migraines

here's a study that supports the use of melatonin

Gonçalves, Andre Leite, et al. "Randomised clinical trial comparing melatonin 3 mg, amitriptyline 25 mg and placebo for migraine prevention." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (2016): jnnp-2016.

Otheriwse.. cognitive changes are really strange for IBS so you should be pressing your doctors to find a clear diagnosis
 

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I have a bit of brain fog since diagnosed with IBS and my naturopath is certain I have SIBO.. I am currently dizzy and I get dizzy feeling or light-headedness for up to 4 or 5 days at a time and then I am afraid to drive. I am also more short tempered and moody but that could be my age and the fact I'm female - could be a bit of menopause coming up. Either way, the dizziness really is annoying. I got such bad dizziness last August that I was having the black outs... and my neuro said I had a bad migraine? Told me to take magnesium, calcium and Vit D but the magnesium kills my guts... can't do it.
You'd should try Mg oil. It's topical and works great. I was having muscle spasms and within two weeks on the Mg it stopped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I feel like your doctor should have talked to you already about this.. but just incase

Is it migraines/tension type headaches that are being triggered by anxiety from the IBS symptoms.

Because the mental fogginess/visual disturbances sort of sound like migraines

here's a study that supports the use of melatonin

Gonçalves, Andre Leite, et al. "Randomised clinical trial comparing melatonin 3 mg, amitriptyline 25 mg and placebo for migraine prevention." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (2016): jnnp-2016.

Otheriwse.. cognitive changes are really strange for IBS so you should be pressing your doctors to find a clear diagnosis
Thanks for this. I'll bring it up with my doc.
 

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I feel like your doctor should have talked to you already about this.. but just incase

Is it migraines/tension type headaches that are being triggered by anxiety from the IBS symptoms.

Because the mental fogginess/visual disturbances sort of sound like migraines

here's a study that supports the use of melatonin
Gonçalves, Andre Leite, et al. "Randomised clinical trial comparing melatonin 3 mg, amitriptyline 25 mg and placebo for migraine prevention." [/size]Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (2016): jnnp-2016.[/size]

Otheriwse.. cognitive changes are really strange for IBS so you should be pressing your doctors to find a clear diagnosis[/size]
Good point! I saw a neurologist after I had a few blackouts over the course of less than 24 hours. I am not a "headache" person and so had no idea I had one. I mean, my head hurt but my ENTIRE head hurt and I was so foggy and the black outs would occur while sitting and doing nothing. I had to lay down and breathe and that was all I could do. My neuro doc said I had the perfect storm for a migraine/tension headache based on a number of different things going on - but he never tried tying my IBS diagnosis to my brain. I have told him 3 times my anxiety level is super high but he is not going to prescribe me any pharmaceuticals and instead issued me to go to physical therapy to reduce my stressed neck and shoulder muscles and has me taking the mag, the calcium, and the Vit D. Like I said earlier the mag really bothers my gut enough I hesitate to take it. I have an appointment with him next week as I see him every 6 months and I will bring up the anxiety relation as I am still having occasional dizziness. I don't have the vision issues unless I'm having the actual headache. I also have taken melatonin on a fairly regular basis for several years. I will follow your link and give it some of my attention. Peace ~ Missi
 

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Hi Missi,

yeah the first three months my vision was so strange. I was so disoriented. I was afraid of driving or riding a bike.
Right now I'm just trying to take care of the basics: sleep, exercise, meditation and some supplements.
Diet is about to become an issue as I'm about to start with the low fodmap diet. It includes some brain friendly foods like salmon, walnuts, dark chocolate and healthy oils but there are a lot of fruit and vegetable restrictions in the exclusion phase.

I'm hoping in the coming months this will improve my cognitive symptoms. Otherwise I'm likely to start experimenting with some nootropics - supposed cognitive enhancing supplements- or go down the SSRI route in case my symptom severity is the result of the synergy of the ibs and anxiety. I really don't want to take an SSRI but I can't live feeling like a dunce. Ahhhh...

Does your dizziness seem to correlate with the GI symptom severity?
Penzel ~ My diziness might actually correlate with my GI symptoms. I hadn't given it a lot of thought but I do know I've had a flare up for about 4 weeks and that's about how long I've had bouts of dizziness this go round.

Another thought to bring up to your doc.. vertiginous migraines. My 23 year old son gets them... they put him in bed until it clears up which can be in an hour or a day or two but more often the short time period.

I have to agree that I don't see cognitive issues come up too often in the IBS forums unless it is anxiety related. Most of us suffering with IBS have some pretty high anxiety. Wish I weren't one of them! Am working on it though.
 

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Penzel ~ I've heard twice this week that Fibromyalgia and IBS are probably related. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about 10 years ago after much joint and inflammation pain and negative blood work. I tried not to dwell on the diagnosis and especially after people told me that Fibromyalgia is a ridiculous diagnosis that doctors give when they don't want to dig to find the source of a problem. I was embarrassed to even say I was diagnosed with it! But my nutritionist just told me the two are related. Thanks for the info. My Fibro seems to flare up and when it does my joints become so stiff that I can barely close and open my hands in the morning... it hurts to walk, etc.. sounds like regular arthritis but it isn't.

I figure the only hope I have in feeling better is to strictly clean up my diet and wait. But right now I'm eating very healthy and am sick, sick, sick. Ugh...
 

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I've had cognitive issues for years, and yes it's gotten worse during this last awful bout. I never realised that these two were connected. But it makes sense, gut health is vital for the whole body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've had cognitive issues for years, and yes it's gotten worse during this last awful bout. I never realised that these two were connected. But it makes sense, gut health is vital for the whole body.
Yeah it seems like there are quite a few pathways to cognitive impairment with IBS, from changes in the gut flora, stress hormones, mood disorders, as well the topics covered in those articles I've posted above. And of course these variables can be co-occurring.
 

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Cognitive Performance and the Alteration of Neuroendocrine Hormones in Chronic Tension-Type Headache.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28339138 - just published, possibly first to show cognitive problems with CTTH

Migraine, tension headaches and irritable bowel syndrome linked?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160223171421.htm

Update: I'v been taking melatonin at 3mg for four weeks. No luck, no improvement with either the IBS pain, there are a few studies on this, or the headache.I'll continue taking it as some of studies were much longer.
 

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Hi

I've been having lethargy, severe "loss of mood"/low mood, sleepiness, tight muscles in whole body and not being able to take normal deep breath due to chest tightness for 2 years. But NO cognitive issues. All of my symptoms were immediately improved/vanished after I had bowel movement or even when I just burped/farted. I am having trapped gas all the time, it's as if it cannot get from small intestine/stomach - I have to force burp it. So it's some kind of hypersensitivity to distension. Over time I found out that even one "moving" fart in me can make me lose mood, irritated, uncomfortable, heavy eyes etc.. After finally passing it, my mind cleared. When I tried taking laxatives (PEG) - after they emptied me considerably - for next several hours or even the next day, I was finally feeling like real me, completely fine, with great mood (even euphoric), a lots of energy, refreshing sleep, etc... (unfortunately, they stopped working this nicely after I took few times)

I have been tested positive for SIBO (tried rifaximin, natural oils, did not help). I am not sure if SIBO is responsible for my extreme hypersensitivity/extreme gut-brain linkage at all (there are studies saying that SIBO or bad flora can indeed cause hypersensitivity and mood/cognitive issues, but who knows...) or if it is more of a "hypersensitivity by itself or caused by some stress/whatever" which is made worse by gas produced by SIBO.

Now, the thing is: 1 month ago I did something that caused some horrible reaction in my system: I ingested 1 drop of tea tree oil with some cinnamon oil
(yes, it was a total stupid thing to do. It was done of out pure frustration to kill "SIBO" after I woke up that day and was feeling so unwell). By the way, on previous day I ate tuna and immediately after eating it, I felt heavy stomach, fell asleep for 3 hours and was feeling very unwell and without mood for the rest of the day. Moreover, I was really frustrated and angry because of my situation so maybe this stressed my gut even more.

The day after, I started to have cold chills, moderate fever, was feeling "drunk" and talking to myself, slight headache. Then after 4 or 5 days, I started to experience total anhedonia, ABSOLUTELY nothing could make me feel, blurred vision when having trapped gas. Since then, I am having brain fog and often as if my mind goes away/blank, like some kind of emptiness (seriously, like some dementia), I feel disconnected and also have some strange feeling in my head. My mental speed is declined and I cannot multitask/concentrate as before. Again, it clearly gets better immediately after I burp that trapped gas out from my stomach, when I defecate and in the evening/night, BUT - I dont get that nice "clear mind, no brain fog" feeling anymore. It is as if my gut is sending some "numbing" signals to my brain shutting it down to some degree all the time and when intestines/stomach are more distended they are sending even more numbing signal. I am waking up with horrible feeling of emptiness and silence of mind.

When experiencing this, I can barely talk, feel very disconnected. It makes me SO terrified. This is no fun, it's like losing your normal mind and then getting it back somewhat.

I don't know what to do now. This all apparently has to do with extreme sensitivity of brain-gut axis, as if its very tense/stressed or what ... and now, it went to whole new level of irritation. My gut is dictating how my mind is working. I dont know if some bad bacteria are aggravating or causing this, I dont know if fecal transplant would be of any help ... or if it would possibly make it even worse.

I don't know how to reset/calm down this brain-gut axis - of course except for being calm, positive thinking etc. but who knows if it will just calm down. If I could, I would try some fasting, but I am already underweight. I am eating very little and feel like I have to do something immediately. Eating fatty/sugary/heavy to digest food makes this whole mind issue even worse.
I have some anxiolytics and stuff available but I'm afraid of it making this even worse.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24590859 Chronic functional bowel syndrome enhances gut-brain axis dysfunction, neuroinflammation, cognitive impairment, and vulnerability to dementia.
 
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