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

Responses: 64


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.


I hate having IBS. I've had it for 2 years and it is causing so many problems. I'm on 15! I can't do things that normal teenagers do, and my friends all get mad at me being sick all the time. I'm on 6 different medications for it, but it always comes back. I hate not being able to eat. I'm dropping weight SUPER fast and i get hunger pains but am still to scared to eat. I hate having to rush to the bathroom after i eat something. I can't take much more of this :'( honestly, doctors don't even wanna mess with it because it involves your intestines. Anything like that takes careful and exact research. My doctor has openly admitted it. All she can do is apologize about all the trouble and drug me up to take off the edge. Anyone out there that shares my pain, THANK YOU.
—Guest Sydney-15

ibs-c 6 years

ive had ibs for 6 years the first five years I could keep it under control and I worked and went on trips but april 2013 my life changed I went threw a divorce and got depressed and stressed to the limit it also made my ibs flare up to the most pain I have ever felt in my life it controls my whole life im afraid to be alone cuz I don't know what will happen to me ive been rushed by ambulance 2 times for the pain that brings me to my knees my life consists of staying at home and not doing anything that a normal 22 yr old does I had dreams and a career path that I cant follow. My doctor put me on a new med called Linzess ive been on it for 3 weeks I am just now using the bathroom everyday the pain has gone way down to were I can bare it there are times where I feel normal and somedays can be bad but it gets better day by day. I know I cant let IBS control my life but it does and I don't know if it will ever get better it controls my whole life.
—Guest nikki

no cure for IBS?

I have had stomach issues my entire life. The last 10 or more years I started having attacks every few months but all of a sudden I've had 2 in 3 weeks. My doctors had me on these stress meds and I thought they were working until I discovered it might be IBS! Now I'm freaking out that I have this and seeing so many people suffering daily and no cure that I'm going to get worse! I have been a healthy eater and runner my entire life and drank beer to give me relief from bloating and make me hungry so I could eat now I find out that was not a good thing. I stop taking my meds and on probiotics again and going to try and do this myself. I was recently laid off lost insurance and can't find anything but a part time job and now I think if this gets worse I may never be able to get a job or work again! How come they can cure aids and erections and more birth control and other drugs for things that are self inflicted but not this??? it seems most doctors say this is mental!
—Guest Bela Ghostly


I can't have wheat, am diabetic and have IBS. Try dealing with that and find something to eat. My husband just passed away. Emotions bring on attacks. I have just had the worst attack ever. Massaging my tummy helps to discharge gas and peppermint pills help a little. Soup is all I eat.
—Guest elledesperate

recently diagnosed

I just turned 22 and was recently diagnosed with IBS. I have always had problems using the restroom and this year, when the ibs started regularly, has been the worst. When I have an attack, I seize up, then let loose like a faucet. All the while, I get powerfully nauseous with each breath. I haven't started a diet yet as I am still learning about my illness but I am starting TOMORROW.
—Guest Jessi

stomach pain

Get pain left side just above my leg after eating lasts a few days feels like a period pain its not nice wish I knew what this is
—Guest jude guest

ibs-c is driving me up a wall

I feel awful! I have diverticulitis, a crooked colon, acid reflux. Some days I want to die! Just got thru another attack. Talking to myself helps. I always have to tell myself ,"Helen, you're not dying." I take bentyl, linzess and probiotics. Relaxation techniques would help if I could concentrate.
—Guest helen


I'm reading all these comments and I can relate to them all. I bought a book by Heather Van Vorous about 7 years ago and I still find myself reading it. It is full of helpful tips and studies and explanations on ibs. I suggest if you suffer from ibs to read her book ibs the first year a patient expert walks you through everything you need to learn and do. There is no cure just coping strategies. Each person is so different, so different things work and even when they don't work trying each one keeps you somewhat distracted until the pain eventually passes
—Guest Jess

does anyone else get pain from all food?

Every time I eat, no matter what I get cramps, and hot flashes, which also worsens my anxiety and makes me panic. I've had stomach issues for 5 years and am still getting all sorts of tests, apparently I am borderline coeliac, my GP suggests IBS, but Im a bit suspicious of chrones. I can't have a.colonoscopy because the preparation liquid makes me really sick. Has anyone else had one using an alternative preparation method? My doctors insist it can't be done, yet my sister had it done without drinking it so I know for a fact it can. I honestly dont know what else to do, I'm in pain everyday, even when I don't eat, I'm usually anxious or depressed, I get nervous about going to work, or going anywhere for that matter. It's completely taken over my life, everything I do, or every time I want to make plans with someone I can never promise it because I might feel too sick. Even when I'm not in pain I worry that it will happen and I start panicing, especially in shopping centres and on train
—Guest elle


I am 59 I have had Ibs since I was 10. It is getting worse. I even pass out from it. My heart races. My mouth burns. I am nausaus. them once I go to the bathroom all is well until the next time. It is so painful anymore. does anyone have these symptoms?
—Guest debbie

there isn't any hope

I have tried everything at this point. My doctor is useless . I usually just have to wait it out. I had to drop out of school and can't work. Doesn't seem to matter what i eat. Hot water bags help or a hot shower help. I am trapped in my home and my life is now a mess. IBS has destroyed my life. I dont leave the house cause the fear of having an attack and being trapped give me panic attacks and then cause an attack.
—Guest vic

Coping with IBS

I was diagnosed with IBS-C about 2.5 years ago. Symptoms include nausea, heartburn, severe pain and cramping, hot flashes (only during a bad attack typically), bloating, gassiness, and panic attacks. Through trial and error, I’ve figured out some of my dietary triggers (caffeine, spinach, chocolate, alcohol) and tried to cut them out as best as I can. When I eat very clean and try to limit my stress, time without symptoms increases drastically. During bad attacks, I take two ginger multi-symptom Gravol (non-drowsy) for the nausea and cramps, one 150mg tablet of Zantac for the heartburn, and one or two Clonazepam (only at night as it makes you fairly drowsy) to control any anxiety. Taking sips of water really helps too, so there always seems to be water glasses in every room around the house. Prevention is the key to dealing with IBS; find a routine that works best for you. Lastly, if I swing from constipation to diarrhea, sitting on the throne and getting it all out seems to be the onl
—Guest Tess

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

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