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New to the forum but not new to living with IBS. I have had IBS for years now and diagnosed as IBS-A for roughly 5 years. Until the last few weeks I have only had small reoccurring bouts of IBS and for the most part I would manage with Chiropractic visits and watching my diet. However all this changed right around the new year. The family all went through a bad bout of the stomach flu and I have never recovered. Now going on 4 weeks of unsettled stomach, gas, mild constipation leading to violent watering stools, and abdominal pain. This is the worst it has ever been. I find some relief with taking probiotics, however it only helps for 3 to 4 hours then all the pain and discomfort comes charging back. It's now to the point of severely disrupting my life and only adds to my stress. Through a lot of research and looking back over the years I have discovered that my worst episodes or longest episodes of IBS all seem to happen around the same time periods and has me wondering if anyone else is like this. I find that January through April are hardest on my system. I'm almost wondering if the winter blahs or a bi-polar problem stresses me to the point of a full on IBS attack. Anyone else notice this? Anyone have some tips on ridding your life of stress? I'm almost 100% positive that my main trigger is stress, but how on earth do you eliminate stress from typical mid life madness? Kids, job, money, all add to the stresses of life how do you find the time to get to your happy place and escape?
 

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I think it makes a lot of sense that you feel worse during the winter months. If you think about it, you're moving around less and not seeing much sunlight since it's too cold to be outdoors. I know that stress is a definite trigger of mine and managing it varies by the situation. For example, being comfortable in your job in a general sense (in addition to the "knowing where the bathrooms are just in case" kind of sense) can ease your mind a lot. I was diagnosed with IBS back when I was in school and I think that the more active I am, the better I feel - Whether active means being involved in an organization or something more minor, having something to take your mind off the stress of a chronic condition is always great. Once again, I think it helps to be open about your problem too - I have coworkers and friends who are aware of my situation, so it helps to know that if I have an attack, they'll be understanding. I'm not a health nut or anything, but regular exercise keeps me calmer too - Even if it's just riding an exercise bike or taking short walks throughout the day. I also write on a regular basis and I think that vents out a lot of my issues.Sorry for the disjointed post, but I'm too lazy to tighten it up so it flows better. Best wishes to you
 

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Mmm! I'm begining to think the winter months could be a trigger as well.Unfortunately i live in Narnia where it is forever winter (aka the United Kingdom).Last year i went to Italy for a couple of weeks in the middle of an Italian heatwave and i have never felt better in my life.
 
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I don't have a good solution for the stress, but I can certainly relate. I've had IBS-D on and off for years, while each episode is painful after discovering these forums I realize how easy I have had it. Usually one attack at a time was it. I tried to figure out a food trigger. I would often have attacks at my dad's house and even began to think it was something that my dad put in his cooking until I realized that it was the stress of being in my dad's house (daddy issues & a crazy stepmom).
 

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I definitely feel worse during the winter as well, but I'm convinced I have a mild form of S.A.D. After twelve years in Los Angeles I moved back to New England a year and a half ago, and I've suffered through both winters. I get depressed (which usually never happens) and listless, and the GI problems seem worse. I also crave bread (and other carbs, but mostly bread) constantly, which make things worse (I've heard this is also related to winter depression).I'm also convinced that an acute stress event several years ago was the cause of my problems... I've tried to ask my doctor about this a couple of times, but he doesn't seem to have any input.I think neurological stress can potentially cause a "hiccup" in the GI system, which then causes other problems (motility issues, etc)... If you guys feel like the winter months get you down, then try getting a sun lamp or at least get outside for 30 minutes a day and power walk or get some other form of exercise. I found that consistent, outdoor exercise really helps me this respect.
 
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