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Anxiety aggravated IBS


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I'm new here but not new to IBS which I've had since I was a child and it seems to get worse as I get older. 

I've been diagnosed with IBS and told its aggravated by my anxiety which is something else I have.

So bad eating habits may trigger an IBS attack but the anxiety fuels it.  Sometimes it's not even bad eating, but purely anxiety that causes the symptoms. 

I've had many tests including colonoscopy,  endoscopy,  biopsies taken and even had my gallbladder removed when stones were discovered during routine scan.  This did nothing to help with the IBS and in fact now that I have no gallbladder my digestive system is more fragile and prone to even more IBS flare-ups and the dreaded anxiety. 

I've eliminated gluten over the years but recently went to dinner where I consumed far too much gluten and other rich foods.  The symptoms followed soon after, mostly bloating, gas and pain together with diarrhoea.   And so much anxiety!

I'm following the FODMAP diet, drinking plenty of water and I have no idea what else to do.  Within an hour of waking I'm filled with gas and pain and it continues for most of the day.  Disappears at night thank goodness. 

Each time this happens (must be hundreds of times by now) I start to panic that there's something else wrong.  I don't even waste the doctors time as I know now the diagnosis is anxiety aggravated ibs.  But I still panic through all the symptoms. 

I've been for therapy for my anxiety many times and in some instances it has helped,  except with an ibs flare-up where the symptoms constantly change.

Hoping to find some understanding and coping techniques from fellow sufferers.

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Jeffrey Roberts

Hello and welcome,

I've had gut problems since I was a child and while my symptoms have changed as I got older, I'm not sure they are worse. They are different and I'm much more aware of what might be a trigger. It sounds like you have found your triggers too. I do understand how removing the gallbladder further aggravates IBS in some people.

Anxiety certainly amplifies any condition and IBS is no exception. In the US, the FDA approved a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy app from Mahana for IBS. They also approved Gut Directed Hypnotherapy called Regulora. While they are not available in your country, perhaps you can explore in your country someone who is familiar with the protocol for each and see if a targeted treatment might offer you some longer lasting relief.

A completely different approach would be to look into whether SIBO is in part the cause of your symptoms. The treatment for that is quite different involving an antibiotic.

We completely understand what you are living with.

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Thanks so much for your reply and all the info. 

I have done a CBT course which has certainly helped with the anxiety and I've been for IBS counselling and done guided meditation. 

However when I'm in pain and the symptoms linger for weeks, all of the above goes out the window!

I won't go to the doctor as the diagnosis is always the same and I know what it is as I've had it so many times before.  She prescribed Librax, which actually didn't seem to help much except to make me sleepy. 

I've researched SIBO and it's a possibility so going by the suggested treatments I'm sticking to the FODMAP diet and have been out today to buy probiotics and digestive enzymes.   Antibiotics don't agree with my stomach so I'd rather not take that route. 

I'm going to do everything I can to heal my gut and control my anxiety and I really hope this flare-up doesn't last too long.

Meantime it's good to have some fellow ibs sufferers to chat with.

Thanks so much



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