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Readers Respond: What Does Your IBS Pain Feel Like?

Responses: 134


Updated October 11, 2012

the long and wind-ing road

Hi, I've been living with digestive problems for longer than I can remember. Heartburn was my main problem for many years. Swallowing a camera revealed that I needed medication to reduce stomach acid production, so I started taking PPI's (Proton Pump Inhibitors) which seem to have triggered other problems, as the reduction of acid means that certain unfriendly bacteria aren't killed off so efficiently. My main problem now is abdominal pain that is at it's worst after more than six or so hours in bed. It can be so debilitatingly painful that all I want to do is stay curled up in bed, which of course makes it worse still - catch 22 ! The pain seems to be all around the inside of my ribcage, as bad at the back as the front. Before being diagnosed (as recently as two weeks ago) with IBS, one doctor even suggested that I change my mattress !? At present, I am leaving dairy products alone at the doctors suggestion, with the plan to re-introduce them one at a time to "nail the guilty party".
—Guest adrian

So miserable

I hate hearing all these stories of everyone suffering with IBS. My story is a little different. I had a tubal and the doctor punctured my colon. Had to have colostomy for 2 months. That all triggered my IBS. I decided that's my problem since doc just keeps running more test on me. My best friend for the last six years since all of this has happened has been my heating pad. It's the only way to get relief. I am nauseous daily. I have peppermint oil from essential oils that I sniff for that. It works. I will be on verge of puking and sniff that and it goes away. That comes in handy when your already sitting on the toilet!! Those are the two things every IBS sufferer should carry with them at all times!!!! Good luck and hope it helps!!
—Guest Reneedipe

IBS sufferer

I have had IBS for about 9 years. I have been okay for the last few years but in the last 6 months it has been affecting my life much more. Although to be honest, the issues with my stomach do cross my mind everyday. I find one thing that affects me the most is red meat. If I dare to eat a steak, I will be putting myself in possible pain, boosting gas & diarrhea the next day. I don't find dairy affects me & if I am working then the night before I will often eat melted cheese on toast as this is the guaranteed meal that won't ever affect my stomach! I find that my stomach just can't digest certain things (like meat) & also if I eat lots of vegetables - sorry to be gross- I can see that they aren't properly digested in my stools. The way ibs affects my life & my job at the moment is that, as a flight attendant, I often have to go on long bus rides (without toilets) from airports to hotels. This means if I have an hour bus ride I refuse to eat beforehand. I also never travel without Buscopan.
—Guest Zara

Someone help please

I have been diagnosed with Ibs, and have been suffering for about 4 years but recently it is getting much worse. The contraction type pain has gotten dehibilitating! Now vomiting has started coming with the flare ups. I'm puking and going to the bathroom at the same time!!! Its affecting my work, my personal life. Is there anything I can do?
—Guest Sick of this life

Getting better

I'm 15 and was diagnosed with IBS about 6 months ago, went through all the test besides colonoscopy. (doctors thought it wasn't necessary) at first I had terrible constipation and would switch to diarrhea. Also had slight cramps and a lot of gas .Then I was put on a antispasmodic , but didn't seem to help they then switched me over to a antidepressant. This didn't seem to help either. I also have constant mild nausea which could be due to anxiety they switched me to Zoloft which seems to be helping out! I also drink peppermint tea everyday and it's amazing !!! I also found out sucking on peppermints works very well too! I also eat a very healthy diet, no greasy or fatty foods, and workout and do yoga everyday. (yoga helps a lot ) i finally found some things that work for me, even though I'm still not 100% better and most likely will never be I feel so much better than I did. I hope everything gets better for the rest of you !:) good luck!
—Guest Brittney

Does this sound like IBS?

Hi everyone, First off I do have a gall bladder full of stones that I know I have to get out soon. However, recent tests show no infection or inflammation with my gall bladder. I always suspected I suffered from IBS however, I haven't had a diagnosis as of yet. Anyways, I get back pains, abdominal pains, right, left, upper lower, just random pains lasting a few seconds, coming and going. This particular bout consists mainly in my upper and lower LEFT side and rib areas. I have diarrhea mainly, and not to be gross but it is a yellow/bile color. I have bloating and a fullness feelings in my tummy. Also my stomach sounds like a monster growling in it!!!!! Gas and burping come with the territory during a bad bout/episode. I have had ultrasounds, CT Scans, wide range of blood tests, Xrays, a back MRI. So far nothing to really explain my aching spasm like pains. Interesting symptom, my left rib area looks like a lump/bloated area is there. Does anyone have this too? This too was tested.

It's terrible

It has happened before I went to the doctor for her to tell me its hemorrhoids and stress... but this time its just full out diarrhea. I know I am stressed out majorly. but this just makes it worse... the worst part is when I am driving to school (45 minute drive) and I hear that rumble and I just think to myself why now? I have gas constantly that is very embarrassing then when I try to hold it in in public it just sends me running to the bathroom I get such bad cramps and bloating. When I put my jeans on in the morning they fit fine but then by the end of the day they are cutting into me from being so bloated. I have always had tummy troubles and always just chalked it up to stress since I am miss perfection but I really think there is more to do with it... I have tried to eat healthier but then it just keeps going and finally I just give in and eat comfort foods.... my boyfriend doesn't understand how much it hurts and how embarrassing it is to go to a party with our friends. HELP!

finally.. something that works

After fighting with IBS-C for the past couple of years, I was told by an emergency doctor to try using Lactulose. I was hesitant because I'm afraid of using to much stuff and my bowel becoming lazy. I decided to try it, and for the past month I have had wonderful results. The dosage is a bit of trial and error, the first week I saw a bit of results but nothing to brag about, but now I am able to go almost daily. I've been taking 20 ml everyday, with lots of water. The extra water is very important because it draws water from your body to the bowel to keep everything soft and moving. I now have to cut back a bit on the dose because it's almost working a little to much, but it's a definite improvement. The pains that would give me goosebumps, make me sweat and leave me doubled over have not totally gone away, but are definitely at a more bearable level. Even my bloating has gone away. I hope this helps someone deal with this awful affliction. Talk to your doctor first. My best to you all.
—Guest Donna

Wouldn't wish this on my worse enemy.

I have had ibs for over ten years. Started when I was a freshman in high school. The pain is horrible. Sharp shooting pains all over my stomach. Gas and bloating. I'd say about 85% of the time after I eat my ibs pains flare up. Usually hurts every morning. Coffee is a big no no... Also if I'm feeling anxious about anything I'll get ibs pains... Like I said I wouldn't wish this on anybody.
—Guest Melissa


I have just read all the entries on this site and it is nice to know that other people feel the same symptoms as I do. From what i have read I would rather have had babies than put up with this pain at least you have something at the end of that!! The stomach cramps and contractions are awful and end up going to bed and lying in a ball and keeping warm with my wheat bag. I have got an appointment in March at Guys Hospital to see about the FODMAP regime so fingers crossed will get some good info from them.
—Guest Kylie


Pain in lower abdomen, shows up and wakes me in the morning, pulse feeling, tender, bloated and gas. Have had every test there is over two years before IBS diagnosis, antipressants worked on spasms but made me feel awful. Research on nutrition, stress and IBS led me to a place where I can live with moderate periodic symptoms... absolutely no caffeine or alcohol (stimulate intestines), LOW sugar (a donut would set me off badly), and finally little to NO dairy. I use heated rice bags frequently when low crawling pain exits and manually rotate the lower abdomen in a clockwise fashion, especially when bloated or to relieve cramping. I read where 80% of IBS sufferers are somewhat intolerate of dairy... After many months I had a 1/2 glass of wine and was so miserable... now sticking to the NO Caffeiene, NO Dairy, No Alcohol and NO donuts. Who else has nutrition answers?
—Guest cann


My stomach feels like there's a balloon in it which deflates and inflates repeatedly blowing gas bubbles through my stomach. i get a gnawing and burning feeling. i feel terrible. i feel throbbing when i touch my stomach. it's tender to the touch.
—Guest idontwannahurt


I have a low abdominal pain that feels raw tender, pretty much all of the time. When I have to go to the bathroom, the pain can get extremely sharp, like labour pains. Bending and lifting makes it worse, all I can do when I feel bad is go to bed, run to the bathroom when required, and wait until the spell blows over.I can have several acute incidents a day when I am in a diarrhea mode, gluten, milk and sugar seem to make it worse. It can take a day or two to recover, then I am back to the raw, bloated feeling in the lower abdomen. I feel slightly nauseated most of the time, but when I have an attack, my stomach seems to rebel too. I'm left with the decision of what end to put over the toilet. This nausea is new, when I was younger, I had a spell, then would recover in a few hours, now its days.

IBS Sufferer

Hi all, I have been suffering from IBS for well over 6 years. Even now I have some good days and bad days but am feeling much better overall. It is very difficult to deal with IBS due to the cruel nature of it. I found that trying to keep my mind off it is very difficult, I know, due to the intense pain, day and night, for which seems like forever. Also trying to stay happy and cheerful rather then feel down and depressed which makes it worse. I appreciate that it can end your social life and make going to work and being at work a real-life nightmare but don't give up. Try to cut down on dairy products and spicy foods. Exercise can help a lot even if you are doing a bit at a time. it seems to take some tension off your body and give you a slight ease of pain. Unfortunately there is no one thing that will take IBS away completely but in time it will get better. Taking colpermin and other such tabs can make it worse if you can't go and you are trying to go. Eat slowly, it helps.
—Guest Zaf

Most excruciating cramping

My doctor had to put me on "Librax" because I get cramping that is worse than any kidney stone I've ever had & having labor pains. If I miss a dose, I will actually throw up from the pain while on toilet until med. kicks in in 2 hours.
—Guest Nichole

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What Does Your IBS Pain Feel Like?

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