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Readers Respond: How Do You Get Through a Bad IBS Attack?

Responses: 52


Updated October 02, 2012

IBS attacks can be hard to deal with. Whatever your symptoms are -- painful abdominal cramps, frustrating constipation or urgent diarrhea -- episodes of severe symptoms can be debilitating. Besides taking medicine, what do you do to help yourself get through a bad attack? Do you tell others when you are hurting or do you try to keep it to yourself? Share your tips and learn some new ones by reading about what others do to deal with the disruptive nature of IBS attacks. Share Your Tips!

Foods for IBS

I Love salads too and can eat them as long as it's green like spinach or romaine! No iceberg! Iceberg triggers an attack every time! Also Metamucil fiber ( Orange tablet not capsules) every day helps. Avoid fried foods. Oatmeal, white breads, rice, potato are good to eat.
—Guest Karen


I can't find anything to help my IBS it just hurts all the time it keeps me from working and doing lots of thing I've had IBS since I was 19 I'm 37 now.. Wish they would come up with a cure..
—Guest shon

Seemed to help

Hi, I'm a long-term sufferer of IBS. For some of you, the symptoms are very similar to those of a relative of mine who had Crohn's Disease. If you haven't been checked out properly by a consultant, then please do to rule that out. A lot of us seem to have similar symptoms to Crohn's which have been diagnosed as IBS. I can't help but think there may be a connection or similar cause. One thing I've found that I really thought helped me a lot was kefir. It's a probiotic culture, a bit like yoghurt, that you can buy in health food shops or online and then reproduce it like yoghurt but at room temperature with no fussy heating. It originates in the Caucasus (apparently) contains lots of different bacteria and several yeasts too. It's like a slightly fizzy yoghurt drink. I started taking this morning and evening a few weeks ago and had the best few weeks I've had in ages. I have had another flare up recently though and it's been pretty bad. I do think kefir helped a lot though.
—Guest River view

incredibly painful :/

All I can say is that Buscapan has worked wonders for preventing an attack, but not much use once it gets going. All I have found that works is loose leaf mint tea (no idea if other is as good. Would imagine so) and a heat pack. But mint tea works bloody wonders with my stomach spasms. I must admit though. Exercising more and eating cleaner has really helped prevent attacks. I would love to try a naturopathic route as natural remedies are a better long term I think, rather than tablets. Good luck fellow sufferers of the hidden illness.
—Guest leanne

Pain is so intense!

I have always had bad upset tummys since I was 5 or 6 but when I was 17 I was told I have ibs. I'm now 27 and feel like giving up! I have to watch what I eat and I still get attacks between 2 and 6 times a week! I've tried all types of tablets to help but none work except buscopan, that helps once I'm having a attack but it takes a hour or two to start working! I have the ibs kind that is no small bowl movements most of the time but intense Spasims and cramping it gets so bad I throw up regularly, my husband doesn't understand and I'm at my wits end some one please help me stop these pains
—Guest Guest kristy

IBS help

I had severe cramping and I used a product called Voltaren it is a cream you rub over the area and it stops the inflammation. Worked like a charm, it is an anti pain and inflammation cream. Try it can't hurt.
—Guest liz Bennett


I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 21, I am now 44. When I was first diagnosed I learnt to control it with certain foods. The older I get the worse my IBS gets, I have had numerous tests, scans and doctors, had many days off work and have now been told to cut my hours, otherwise I won't be able to work in the future. My last severe attack saw me hospitilised for two weeks, loosing 6 kilos and collapsing on my bathroom floor , with paramedtics working on me for 90 minutes with no blood pressure. This was all from being sick diarrhea for months, not keeping anything in, even vomiting which was a new symptom , they say I was dehydrated and was also treated for sepsis. My new specialist has prescribed ulcers tablets and creon tablets before every meal which helps with enzymes, I have been really good of late. Hopefully this helps some people who have severe Ibs like myself .
—Guest Melissa

IBS I found a great pill that helps

If you take Allgn it really helps with the symptoms and it lessens the chances of it happening multiple times
—Guest marl303

Horrible pain

I'm 15 and I developed ibs about 6 months ago. The pain is unreal. I make a movement about once a week and when I do it's like it never wants to come out. On top of it, I'm lactose intolerant and it makes it even worse.
—Guest Guest Name

IBS attack

I have suffered with diarrhea and/or constipation for years. I finally went to a nutritionist and my life has changed. Keep a food log but you need to start with what we call "back to basics". This is eating... no grains, no white flour or sugar, no alcohol. I ate only meat, fish, chicken, fruit, and veggies. You've got to eliminate all food that irritated the stomach lining, until it heals. Then introduce one item to your diet. I found that leafy greens, brown rice, onions and any grains, ( even gluten free) cause diarrhea or constipation. I have lost a lot of weight ( one good side effect) and I have to be careful, if I don't want a flare up. But at least I feel in control. I am still working on it but I hope that soon, I'll be able to "cheat" every so often without serious repercussions. With everyone there will be different result. I hate that I cannot eat salads.
—Guest Pat

Different things

I use a soothing microwavable heat pack, a panadol (or two), and if called for, an Imodium or similar anti-diarrheal medication (especially for those occasions where stabbing pains and cramps wake me at 3am). Small sips of room temp water but only after its all settled down. Distract myself with other things. Taking deep, calming breaths helps. Also a strong multi-strain probiotic morning and night (I use Bio-Kult), and sometimes a warm bath or gentle belly massage. There's nothing to do but wait it out for the diarrhea, but holding heat bag on tummy, thinking positive, calming thoughts and deep breathing all help get through it. Avoid eating for a while to let it all settle down. Also, stick to low FODMAPs diet, or other diet you are on as much as possible, and avoid trigger foods. Seeing a naturopath can also help, as well as a dietician. Gentle exercise can help but not in the midst of an attack where you need the loo urgently.
—Guest Miranda


Garlic is my trigger and everything has garlic in these days! Ibroprofen, slippery elm tablets and a warm bath work best for me. It does take a while to settle down though.
—Guest Marilyn Chandler


I have an attack right now,it's been a few months so am doing better than at first, i am 63. And mine started three years ago, but have always had constipation all my life, they did all the usual tests, colonoscopy ,endoscopy etc because I had breast cancer 22 years ago, so had to rule out other things, I see a naturopath regularly, and through diet and de- stressing myself, it is mostly manageable, but like anyone else, one food slip can cause days of pain and more getting things settled down, to being able to eat well..I don't have constipation now or the runs, I have managed. To refine my diet to work pretty good mostly, but it is a chronic thing, I just want to encourage you all, that we can control it a lot, this is what i do when having an attack just rest, drink lots of water, and healing things like aloe Vera ,yoghurt with xtra probiotics, and homemade blended soup,made with zucchini,organic chicken broth and one yellow potatoe washed well to get rid of the starch:) best wishe
—Guest Alegna

Deep Breaths

I have had Ibs for atleast two years now, and it's terrible. I'm on a medication now to help me, but now and then I'll eat a little bit of chocolate or have a bowl of cereal with milk because of temptations. :(. Then my stomach gurggles and it hurts like crazy. I get nausea and cramps and pass a lot of gas :-/ but what helps is to breath in through your mouth (to avoid that rancid smell) and out through both your mouth and nose like you would to relax. When it's night time (and it's mostly the end of the day when I get an attack) lay on your most comfortable side and put a pillow under your head for support. Wrap your arms around your legs and hug them to your chest. It reduces cramping and eases nausea. Also take deep breaths then. If you get more pain as you try to sleep, GET UP! I learned the hard way that when you get the pain, you HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO get up and get it all out in the bathroom. Hopes this helps, fellow sufferers!
—Guest Catlin

My life is IBS

Every morning, its the same thing. I'm awaken with the stomach rumbling, and know I have about 5 seconds to make it to the throne. This goes on until about 9 to 10 am. Sometimes I know to hurry, but most times, it just pours out of me--no notice, rumble, pain or nasha. And, its not watery. It's like someone put the pop in a blender until it was smooth enough to just pour out. My doctor said to take Metamucil with every meal. It does not make a difference. I am 70 years old. When I was in India and 20, I had this for a year. When I came back to the States, it stopped. 50 years later it's back. I believe it started again with food poisoning I had in Hawaii 3 years ago. I have a cruise/trip to Mediterranean in July......am I going to be able to go? This has got to stop!!!
—Guest Nancy

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How Do You Get Through a Bad IBS Attack?

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