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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi again! New member here with lots of questions and concerns, not addressed for last 20 years, now seeking help. Briefly; dx IBS-D last year after 20 yrs of symptoms and living in fear and worry. Robinul no help...rely on Immodium.Talked to internist last month and discussion turned to anxiety. I won't get into all of the particulars (maybe later if discussion goes that way), but in general:How do you know when it's anxiety due to IBS or IBS because of anxiety? How do you decide to treat with anti-anxiety meds? Dr. and I discussed it, but he felt I was handling things ok, so we put it on hold. He told me to call him if things get to the point I can't handle. It comes and goes...definitely ups and downs as I approach menopause. Still, the IBS continues, causing anxiety...and life goes on with all my worry...causing IBS!How do you make these med. decisions?Thanks!Water Dog Lover
 

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hey... i think that the decision is kind of up to you and kind of up to your doctor like you said.i do think that having an anti-anxiety med like xanax on hand to take "as-needed" can be a life-saver. just knowing it's there is often more than enough... it is a vicious cycle, and it's hard to know where one starts and the other ends. on days where you're home, have nothing to do... could sit home all day and watch football for example, do you find that your IBS gets better? for me, it doesn't matter if im home with nothing to do but sleep, my IBS doesn't let up. This has caused me great anxiety now. I still am being treated for anxiety, because I think that either way it's nice to have that kind of crutch to lean on, even if people think its just a band-aid.... I don't care, whatever helps ME, I don't care if 1,000 people say I'm stupid or I'm doing it all wrong.For me, if I had no IBS issues at all, I doubt very seriously I'd have any anxiety problems. Do you think it would be that way for you?outside of IBS, are you still an anxious person, or have you suffered too long to remember?anti-depressants can help with anxiety and IBS... and that's one of the most frequently kind of prescribed medicines in IBS... I take Remeron and Elavil... and also Xanax 3x/day (well when I remember).Xanax isn't a cure all for IBS, but it definitely zaps the anxiety down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi SSS -- thanks for the thoughtful response.I have been trying really hard to find patterns and triggers. I am convinced (and my GI agreed) that a lot of it is hormonal. D is def. worse as my period approaches. Interestingly, I was almost D-free and did not take Immodium when preg. both times.Being home is generally better, but not always. Certain foods cause problems, but other times I can eat anything without an issue.Leaving home for major events is anxiety-laden and I always take 4 Immodium as a preventative. Doing my routines (food shopping, volunteering at kids' schools, things I am comfortable with, etc.) are usually ok. But again, if it's "that time of the month" or just a bad patch for an unknown reason, I will take Immodium...again.The intense anxiety comes and goes. Our son is autistic and this is a MAJOR anxiety issue for me...I worry about him constantly and watching him take his karate test, for example, sends me into a terrible downspin. I am always positive with him, but inside, I am dying, watching him struggle and be so awkward and different. I didn't sleep a wink that night and had terrible D next day -- yesteray. AH HAH! A connection??!!I didn't realize that you could take Xanax as needed. I can think of several bad episodes that I could have used real help. Times when I can't control my thoughts and just obsess and worry.Dr. feels the anxiety is contributing to all of my issues...bp, IBS, sleep and weight. I see him for a bp check in Dec. think I will discuss meds with him then.To answer one of your queries: if I didn't have IBS would I have anxiety? Yes. I know who I am...a constant worrier, a pleaser, a too-deep thinker. I cannot "shut my mind off" and I am terribly self-critical. This is certainly an interesting issue, to say the least!Thanks again for your thoughts and help. I feel that I am getting closer and closer to more relief, better relief.Water Dogs Rule!
 

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Hi, I think anxiety is the cause of all my problems. I've started two thread on here on exactly that subject - night time incontinence and illness and avoidance - if you read those you will see how I think stress has affected me. I don't take meds for anything (too many dreadful side effects in the past - one effect from anti-depressants gave me ibs in the first place).I hope that you managed to calm down and feel better. I'm trying very hard, break the habit of obsessive thinking. I never used to be this bad so I know it's possible to relax. I didn't have any problems today at all - out of the house all day and had to concentrate on other things. A lot of problems happen if I need to go out and I start thinking of excuses. But if I need to go out and say to myself 'you are going and that's that' - then I feel much better.Good luck.
 

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No problem water...Most doctors these days will only prescribe Xanax to take as needed... It doesn't need to build up in your system over time to take effect.. It actually works pretty much immediately after you take it.. With Xanax you're good for 4-6 hours after you take it...I know exactly what you mean.. It's hard to tell what life would be like without IBS... because it's really all I know anymore.When I decided to take Xanax for the first time, it was before a speech I had to give in college. I hate public speaking, and in front of a group of people I didn't know at all with IBS on top of it, I was freaking out! I took that first pill, and surprisingly made it through the whole speech no problems!I even went to Florida with a group of friends and I had such a huge fear of flying. Literally the thought of it sent me into an anxiety attack. This was before I had Xanax. I didn't even need the Xanax on the plane, just knowing it was there, I felt this sense of comfort.My doctor actually wants me to take it 3X/day. He was very adament about it. Probably because he thinks if I continue to go down this road of anxiety and IBS, it will be much harder to treat. So he wants me out doing things to conquer fears, etc. I have to admit, I feel better when I take it 3X/day, it just is hard to remember to take it.It's been a life-saver for me and my anxiety.It actually helps calm down my IBS attacks as well. Not perfectly, but the calming effect of the medicine helps me relax through it.Some doctors won't prescribe this type of medicine, and rely solely on anti-depressants. It's very sad, because of how well this medicine treats anxiety.If you decide to inquire about an anti-anxiety med with your doctor... Its better not to refer to them by name.. That's what people say.
 

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Hi all-I have had anxiety disorder since early 20's but only DX 13 yrs ago. To make this short-I was on 1 antidepressant for 12 yrs w/ the help of Xanax. Then the antidepressant just stopped working. Changed Dr's & after a few Dr's & different antidepressants (1 was really horrible) I'm now on Paxil CR & also supposed to be taking Xanax 3X a day. (I for get too-but if having a bad day-it won't let me forget-LOL). I def had anxiety before IBS but I also have had a lot of sad things happen over the past yrs that added to my anxiety (my mom, dad & only sibling-brother all died). So I think between the anxiety disorder & the stress I developed IBS. I have no rhyme oreason or pattern to mine. Maybe 3-4 foods def trigger it- but I eat healthy & still can't figure it out. I too use Imodium & Xanax to help. I also take 1 Fibercon at dinner. If I have someplace to go where I'll be away for awhile (work p/t-concert-friends-etc) I take 2 Imodium & carry Imodium & Xanax w/me. I almost don't care anymore. Thank goodness for a very supportive hubby & 23 yr old son! Hope everyone feels better than I do today!
 

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There is a muddy line between anxiety and IBS. With my husband, he is pretty much going to have episodes regardless of what he's doing. However, going places brings on bad D while staying at home the D might not be so severe but the cramps are bad. I hate this because people think he's lazy or anti-social. Quite the contrary! He loves people...but being around crowds is another story. I can't remember who said it, but they said that taking the anxiety medicine was a bandaid. I agree...if there's anything that can help just a little I say go for it. I wish my husband would take an anti-anxiety med but he's going to see a counselor so that's a positive step. Sorry to talk about my situation so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, everyone. I agree that there is no clear cut diagnosis here. IBS certainly causes anxiety and if anxiety is the main issue, then bowel can issues arise as well.I am finding more and more information about anxiety meds used as needed. Any of us know -- and I have learned this just recently -- that there are definite times when they're warranted. I will surely discuss that kind of usage with my dr. The 2 or 3 week episode I had this spring was so clear...I now know that feeling and will deal with it more pro-actively, and that may include meds.Best to all! WD
 

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Yep it is a never ending pain in the a-- circle. Get stressed worrying if I am going to have another accident or do I have an accident cause I am stressed. Darned if ya do and darned if ya don't. I give up on the stress factor.Good luck Hope you figure yours out
 

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Waterdogs - I believe my D is completely anxiety related. I don't ever have D if I'm sitting around doing nothing, but I have to run to the loo if I even THINK of making flight reservations. I'm 49, peri-menopausal and agreed that the D went away with my pregnancies. The prenatal iron pills tend to constipate, and also everyone knows that pregnant women always have to pee, so I felt less pressure around others about having to be embarrassed about needing to take frequent restroom breaks.I've had this since my teens (my mother has it too) and let the anxiety about having to "go" run my life. I am also very self-critical and worry about EVERYTHING. Here is my advice: I started Paxil in June and it's made a huge difference in the way I feel. I feel like a normal person who doesn't obsess and think that every time one of my kids gets a headache that it's a brain tumor. If you have not tried this before, you should discuss pharmaceutical therapy for your anxiety. Paxil has its pros and cons (BTW it worked for my mother as well, she had a much worse problem than I did, and at the age of 70 finally got her life back and started going out and doing things), I've talked to others who preferred Lexapro. These are drugs you take every day, not as needed. I admit the Paxil makes me tired and I need more sleep than I did before, but the trade off was worth it. It's not a total cure, but it made me feel INCREDIBLY better. It took me two months to feel a little better on 10 mg/day and then my dosage increased to 20 mg/day where it will stay.Good luck to you.
 

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Hi all,just wanted to let you know that xanax is very addictive and you develop a tolerance to this med therefore it should not be used frequently. My therapist told me one of her clients had been told to use it as much as she needed by her doctor. As a result she had become addicted to it and had to get help to get off this drug. Be careful - it's a great PRN but I would hesitate to use it daily. You really have to have some self control to use it. It's unfortunate as it is a wonder drug for me too. I heard of people being put on a very mild dose of it daily, but personally I would avoid this as you will constantly need to up the dose as you become tolerant. Just wanted to give a warning as it seems to have been suggested that it can be used as frequenlty as one would like. Take care!
 

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i just joined yesterday and i am already relieved so much to hear other people tell my story. years before i was diagnosed with ibs i was sent to a therapist my freshman year of high school because depression and anxiety which was later realized to be a "side effect" of gi problems. i find that when i get stressed out with school or anything else, i have really bad issues a couple of days later. however, sometimes i get anxiety about going out b/c i am worried i am going to have a problem and what usually happens is worrying about the possibility brings on the ibs problems. its kind of a hard irony to deal with. its funny how it gets you when you don't expect it and it gets you when you think it might come. this prolly isn't the best advice but... i find that if i have a couple glasses of wine or beer or whatever a little bit before i go out, i am not as nervous. it really seems to slow down my anxiety and somehow rest up the gi shtuff. i dunno, alcohol is kinda a bad thing for ibs but it helps with the anxiety which can help out the ibs attack prevention
 

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Hi Everyone!
I am new here also. IBS-D for about six months now. I have begun to notice that I am in a viscious cycle of anxiety/attacks of 'D' myself.
In fact, I am literally at the point to where if anyone around me just slightly raises their voice - my guts all spasm and I feel the need to run to the bathroom.
I have tried breathing slowly and calming myself when this happens, but it doesn't help a lot. Also, going out causes MAJOR anxiety for me too. Even if I feel completely fine - by the time I get dressed and ready to go, my intestines are fluttering like crazy.
For example, the other night I went to the local bar and grill with some friends. As soon as I got in my truck to go up there, my guts went crazy. I know it was all in my head, but I couldn't make it stop. I took an antispasmodic that the doc gave me, and when that didn't slow down the fluttering, I took a vicodin as it was all I could get to at the moment. The vicodin helped some
, but not all the way. My husband has suggested that I also use Xanex. Right now I am scared to take anything because of the effect it might have on my bowel movements
. Does Xanex effect any of you in that way, or do you find it completely safe to use? I just don't know about all this. It does get frustrating
sometimes. Sorry if I sound whiney - the last couple of days have been hard.
 

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I agree with you waterdogs, what comes first the anxiety then the IBS or the IBS then the anxiety about your IBS? I currently am not taking a drug for my anxiety but I was a year ago and I have to say I slept better, felt better and the attacks were not as often. I am considering talking to my Doc about going on Lorazepam again. Suffering today again. Hey, is there anyone from Canada with IBS? You guys are great but I am feeling kind of alone out here.
 

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There are lots of us, freelily, including Jeff, the originator of the site. I'm out in Victoria. Where do you live?Mark
 

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personally for me it was anxiety induced IBS. my family had problems when i was younger and it caused severre stress when i was little and i developed IBS. today whenever im stressed out it happens. if im not stressed, i usually ok.
 

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Jezebel. I take Zanax everyday if I have to go out. Sometimes even when I am at home and feeling anxious or nervious. I have been on it for years. It does not give you D at all. It is to help calm you down which in some cases you anxiety makes your D worse. Your story hits me 100%. I hate getting in the car feeling. I do it almost everyday. I hate it.Good lUck and welcome to this site. Great placeTake careKat
 
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