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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to see how many college students are on this board and what you do to cope with IBS and still attend class/take tests. I am in law school and find it very difficult to even attend class, which is mandatory. Not to mention exams, which I have to down about 4 immodium and practice "deep breathing."
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Blah, I am also in college. And it also requires me to be in class at all times. This is unusual, but our teacher's want us to call them that day if we are not going to be in school(which is unusal for teacher to ask). I don't know about you but it is really tough for me because I am in school from about 8-2:30 and it requires me to eat lunch at school (otherwise I get real bad headaches if I don't eat.) And I have to be so careful of what I eat. Which is usually just a half of sandwich, bottle of water and yogurt. While everyone else is eating leftover lasagna and things that smell so good and I'm sitting there eating my stupid sandwich. It's tough. I hate this because it is such a heavy burden on my mind always. Their is never a day when I don't wake up and wonder how my stomach is going to be for the day. I also have to get up an hour earlier then usual, to make sure my stomach is calm enough to get to school, because I have to travel on the expressway and there is no place to stop if I have to go for about 15-20 min. I know what your going through![This message has been edited by Jeni24 (edited 01-30-2001).]
 

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You may want to check with the disabled student services. Since you have a medical condition there may be things they can do to help and/or rules that can be bent for you.Someone did this (undergrad I think) and was able to leave class whenever necessary and have a note taker to help as well.K.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Blah--I can sympathize. I just graduated from law school last May, and got my first symptoms of IBS during the stress of studying for the Bar. I can't imagine being in law classes while dealing with this--as it is I had to leave my clerkship (ouch!) because I was absent more days then not while Drs. were trying to diagnose me.Hang in there!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Another law student here - in my second year (YEAH!!). I don't really have any suggestions on how to cope with class. If I didn't have to go I wouldn't, but you miss out on so much in law school if you don't attend. Not like undergraduate classes. I almost wanted to quit over Christmas Break - partially due to a grade I got. But when I got back most people expressed the same sentiment so at least I know my feelings weren't out of sync or due just to IBS. They think they have it tough
Generally I try not to take back to back classes since I will invariably need to go to the bathroom. I'm IBS-C mostly but it comes - when it comes - whenever it feels like (though I've finally got a little handle on that). With exams, they usually reserve two rooms - most people go to the 'main room' while only a few go to the extra. That's the room I go in since there are usually only 14-15 people in the class. Oh yeah, I usually will sit in the back or somewhere where I feel comfortable and can easily get out and in the classroom -just in case. Last semester I did turn into an IBS-C/D which was hard on me for exams but I luckily coerced the doctor to give me Lotronex. Now I have two bottles of the stuff but I'm not supposed to take it (but I do in emergencies and when I'm really running off which still happens occasionally). I suppose the only thing you could try to get help with are the exams - some professors will give take home exams but only if it's open book. May be an alternative. Sorry I can't be of much help on this issue. I've had IBS since 13 so have had to cope with it always in a school setting. Guess I'm used to it - to a point. Here is my daily routine , maybe it'll help. I get up at 6:30 every morning and eat between 6:30 and 7:00. My earliest class is 9:40 so that gives me plenty of time to "go" if I have too. Generally I'll try to eat two hours before class. I set my schedule up so I have an hour break between classes. I might munch on something in between but won't eat lunch until after my last class ends at 3:30. Then I eat dinner at about 7:30 and in bed by ten. So far this seems to be working for me and I have less stress than in the previous semesters though that may be due to having only 1 and 1/2 semesters left. Always check in with the school health center. The people at mine usually give me a lot of support and are always looking out for any possible treatments and medicines for IBS. Plus, the medicines and doctor's visits are free and since they're on the university they usually get new info quicker than other doctors - but not always. That's all I've got.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lawstudent99--thanks for responding. It sounds like we do a lot of the same stuff to try to cope with the situation. I also try to sit as close to the door as I can, get up early enough to let my system take its course, and try the smaller room for testing. Unfortunately I had certain classes that I wanted to take (also a 2L) and for me, that means on W I have 5 classes in a row, and then on R and F, 2-3 in a row. On top of all of this, lately I have been overcome with anxiety attacks in class that make my stomach even more upset. (Especially on the days I am "up" in class). Quitting is not an option b/c I have put so much time into it and am doing really well. I refuse to let it get the best of me, but some days I just want to stay home and blow it all off so at least I won't have the stress as well. Is this something that you have talked about with your professors? I can't decide whether to do so or not b/c there is this mentality that you are supposed to be able to take the pressure in this profession and in school, so I don't want to come across as a whiner. (Because I don't think many professors would understand). What do you think?
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I go to school online and via distance learning. I am obtaining a degree in dietetics this way. I never leave home and still get credits. This is the only way I could have done it. 2ndChance
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi all college students,I'm 21 and in college and find it hard to make it through school with IBS constantly on my mind. I mean how do you concentrate on your studies when IBS dominates your life? The physical symptoms are really embarassing and frustrating. I'm using Mike's hypnotherapy tapes right now and they seem to help me relax a bit in school and improve my physical symptoms but i'm too early in the program to really tell. How does everybody else cope with going to school and having IBS? It seems damn near impossible at times.
 

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Hey, everybody. I'm 27, a second-year master's student, and I also teach first-year composition (yes, I'm an English major). Anyway, I'm IBS-C&D, have been for about four years, but just received the "official diagnosis" this week. I can really empathize with what all of you have said. In fact, I have class later today and am wondering exactly how to warn my professor that I may need to run out of class (it's a bad day--anticipating the switch from C to D). I second the suggestion to contact disability services at your school. Most universities I know of take compliance very seriously, so if you're uncomfortable talking to individual professors, going through disability services might be your best bet. I'd urge you to think about talking to your professors, however. You know their personalities better than I, of course, but you may be surprised. I know my students tend to think I'm very strict (and in some ways I definitely am), but I'm also human and have a heart. Of course, I'm in an English department, and we English types are notorious for being a bit eccentric.
On the other hand, the field is also very competitive, and there's lots of posturing (too many Ph.D.'s and not enough jobs will do that to a field). So maybe our fields aren't too different.In terms of how I get through classes, I'm actually fairly fortunate (if that can ever be said of IBS!) in that my symptoms almost always happen at night, after classes are over. However, when cramping does hit during a class and I absolutely can't leave, I do lots of deep breathing and try to focus on one point (the professor's face, the wall, whatever). That seems to help beause it calms me, and my IBS is always triggered my stress (the more I worry about having an attack, the worse the attack gets--you know the drill). That's just a little thing, but it really seems to help me get through until I can get to the bathroom. I have had a lot of trouble with getting sick while at professional conferences, however, and the best way I've found to deal with that is just to spend some time alone in my hotel room, relaxing. If I get too wrapped up in attending every single session and meeting anyone who could ever hire me, I'll get sick for sure. I have to make myself slow down.I love grad school, too, and am doing really well, but between school and my health, it's definitely stressful! It's great to have this board and know I'm not alone, with school or IBS.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Victor, I have already posted my reply to this, but I really feel for you and everyone else. I am 23 and going back to school. I am telling you guys, there are alternate routes to schools. Many colleges are online offering very good, accredited degrees. This is what I had to do, not really because of my IBS but because of my low immune system. I catch everything that goes around, so I decided this would be best. You don't have the pressures of the traditional college setting and can usually work at your own pace. I was reluctant at first, but did alot of research to ensure I could attend an accredited college. I will say that you have to be careful because there are alot of scams out there. Just do some research, it couldn't hurt and trust me, it could really help you guys and releive alot of stress. You do still have deadlines and exams, but heck you can run to your bathroom anytime you want - guilt free.I do not work for any school so I am not soliciting just merely suggesting an alternate route. 2ndChance
 

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I am 23 and also a grad student. I ALSO teach an undergrad Special Ed class, PLUS I work full time as a waitress (since the college doesn't pay me quite enough for eaching to pay all of my bills). I am always on the go, and needless to say, stay exhausted. My bad times are early in the morning, and seem to subside the longer i have been awake. So, my class I teach is at 9:30 AM on Tues. and Thurs. All of my grad classes are at night. As far as my other work, I just make sure I am not there too early. (9 is the earliest I will go in no matter what.) I have learned to get up at 6 or 7 every morning to have lots of time to wake up and let my gut settle. I use this time to do my reading or studying for my classes, since I usually go to bed shortly after my night classes are over. It is awful to be going to bed so early every night, as I feel too young to be doing this!! But, it pays off by feeling okay enough to get through my long, crazy days. Plus, my boyfriend has Crohn's, and usually has to be in bed early too. So, we bypass going out wih friends, and stay home to get good sleep to stay healthy. Does it really help to go through special services if you have IBS? I always feel like no one takes me or IBS seriously, and usually feel it'd be a waste of time to try. (Not to mention humiliating to stand there and explain what IBS is to someone you don't even know!) I was wondering what kind of success you all had had who went to special services. I did go to the cafeteria when I was living on campus to get special meals, since so much of what they made in there made me feel so bad. This wasn't too bad, since I just had to tell them I couldn't eat the foods, and didn't have to go into too much detail. I don't think other areas of the school would be so accomadating.
 

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I'm 18 and will be starting university this October. I am at college at the moment and it is hard but you cope.Are there any students from the UK out there? Please respond.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi all! I haven't posted here before, but I've read a lot of the threads. I was just thinking about this school/IBS problem today. I LOVE school...I used to attend college, but I dropped out because I couldn't deal with the IBS(D) and anxiety from it. I miss going to school so badly that I actually have dreams of going back to college. I have this dream to finish college (with a degree!)...but I'm not really sure how to deal with this embarrassing problem ....esp the stomach noises! After reading this thread that you all have written...I feel actually a little better. I think it is so great that you all continue to keep fighting and you haven't let it stop you. I have let this IBS/anxiety seep so deeply into my life that for a long time I stopped doing so many things I loved. For the past several months..I have been gradually getting "back out there"....but my dream is still to finish college. I really respect all of you for your courage in fighting back against this disorder. I plan on remembering this as I try to venture back out to school at some point. I'd hate to live my life and miss out on an education because I had this disorder. Blah...I just wanted to tell you about an amazing website for anxiety....it has helped me SO MUCH.....go to: http://personal.buildpage.com/Support/ (this group is awesome)Good luck everyone....I really look up to you!!!!Sincerely,Lynne
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi all,It's good to hear from people who share the same problems because sometimes you feel isolated with this IBS and nobody else seems to be able to relate. It seems impossible to get through school with this condition for me at times. I know there are a lot of people with IBS and they must find some way to get through school. Are there any success stories about school?
 

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I got my bachelor's degree in June, and while I wasn't officially diagnosed til June, I'm pretty sure I had IBS-D the whole time, especially the last 2 years.Immodium was the way I got through, whether that was good or not. I made sure to take some before a big test or something, when my stomach was feeling jumpy, and I knew where all the bathrooms were and tried to sit on or near an aisle. If I was nervous about needing to run to the bathroom for any reason, I tried to reassure myself how quickly I could get there if I really needed to. Trying to reduce anxiety about that jumpy feeling in my stomach helped stall the D. And I think the instructor would be understanding if you rushed from the room for any reason.I only missed one exam due to being sick, and that was with a stomach bug... diarrhea and vomiting...I was a mess... could have never sat through a class, much less taken a hard essay exam! I was so nervous about missing the midterm, but was able to get ahold of the prof beforehand, and she was really nice...told me to drink plenty of fluids, get some rest, and we'd set up a time for me to take the exam the next time I was in class.My symptoms have been better for the most part (not lately tho
) since graduating from college... I had a REALLY intense schedule the last 2 years, and busy before that...and my sometimes stressful job is actually a reduction in stress from before!Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I made it... I've got my degree...and the Immodium even got me through the graduation ceremony (where a whole basketball arena would have seen me if I rushed out!)
 

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Hi all,As some of you might know, I graduated from college with a B.A. in linguistics in 1996, and then went back to school a year and a half ago to start taking classes in order to enter an M.A. program for speech pathology. In fact, just got official word today that I'm now a real "graduate student"!!
Yeah!My IBS plagued me since h.s. Got esp. bad this past semester, adding nausea into the mix, and changed C/D to mostly D.I let my teachers know that I have IBS. Turns out a friend of mine in the program also has IBS (C type), and even the HEAD of the program has IBS (D type)!! And she has gone on to have a very successful career as a professor, advisor, clinician AND Polish dance choreographer. So that gives me hope.It's really tough-- last semester was ESPECIALLY grotesque for me. But I'm making it through.About lunch: just today I was sitting in the cafeteria with classmates while they had ziti and garlic bread and turkey sandwiches... and I had a wheat-free oat/rice waffle and a rice cake with some peanut butter on it. However, I'm pretty much to the point where I've accepted my newly-even-more-restrictive diet... and my friends are EXTREMELY supportive. As is my husband. Even with all that I go through, I feel very lucky. Some days are harder than others... very MUCH harder... and having to park in a far-off lot and then take the shuttle to campus gives me the willies, but I handle it. Sometimes it takes peppermints and sometimes it takes prayer, but between my support system and this bb.... I'm hanging in there. Master's degree, here I come!!!Regards, Lilymaid
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's good to hear from people who have managed to get their college degree despite having IBS. I don't think anyone should ever give up school because of IBS.Lilymaid, I know what you mean about having to eat a bland diet - I too am very cautious about what I eat and my diet is extremely boring. There are certain foods I just don't want to mess with. But I'm willing to eat a restricted diet as long as I get through school. I think the key is just to avoid trigger foods - but that's a lot harder than it sounds.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi, I am 24 and have just moved to NYC to return to college full-time. School began about 3 weeks ago. I am loving it, but have had a really bad bout of symptoms this last week. All of my misbehavior in terms of poor food choices and lack of sleep has caught up with me. What I do not know how to do is manage my triggers. I am aware of some of them, but not the majority of them. I do not know how to control my diet at all. I am already a vegetarian, but there is so much other than meat that can mess up people's systems. One of the hardest parts about dealing with this syndrome is that it seems that each person has to find his/her own particular way of eating. Argh! If I eat something "wrong," I do not know immediately. But I know eventually. This delay prevents me from being able to identify the culprit food. Are there any problem foods that most every IBSer should avoid? I am primarily a C. I am going to begin fiber supplements and have bought several boxes of herb tea (mint, chamomile). Dairy seems to be a definite no. What about wheat? Whey? What kind of bread should I eat? Rice: yes or no? Veggies? Fruits? Again, I know one has to make an individual diet, but if there are any commonalities I would love for students (or anyone else) to share. I usually eat on the run and I don't cook (yet). Everyone, thanks for your posts and the support!--Natalie
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry I took so long to respond - moot court work. So far I haven't told my professors that I have IBS but we basically have a non-verbal acknowledgement that I'm "sick" and may not be able to go to class sometimes. I understand about the "mentality" thing. Although they tell you that if you have any problems you can come and talk to one of the professors, it's really just fluff talk. Maybe if there's a death in the family or you have other family problems, they'll work with you but telling them you have IBS is something I don't think they'll understand or want to hear about at all. Plus, it's so hard to explain IBS and how it affects you they'll most likely will chalk it to stress. But who knows? Maybe where you are there is someone on the staff who is familiar with it and might help with exams and class attendance. But, I wouldn't tell unless it was to a professor I really got along with and that I trusted - or else you might end up being the 'joke of the school.' For the most part, I think that if I had told I probably should have done so in the first year. For me, it seems like it's too late and since most people are used to me now I don't see how it would help things. As long as I stay at the top half of the class, I'll be happy. I know this issue will be especially awkward when I do finally start working since no firm wants an associate who is sick more than well and it's not exactly something you would bring up in a job interview. At least I'll have my own office . . . maybe. Cross that bridge when I get to it.
 
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