IBS Pain and Cramping… Things That Help

Man on the toilet, grimacing in pain.
IBS pain is a special kind of agony.

One of the main symptoms of IBS is belly pain. IBS pain and cramping are caused by spasms in your colon (also called the large bowel or large intestine). These spasms can be triggered by a number of things, and can cause diarrhea OR constipation!

FIRST, have you seen your doctor?

Before you go any further, I want to ask you if you’ve had this pain checked out by a doctor. Abdominal pain is nothing to fool around with! It can be caused by anything from Crohn’s Disease to appendicitis to an intestinal blockage. Those last two (and others) can kill you! Those and other possibilities need immediate medical care! Don’t make me worry. Take care of yourself :).

So assuming you’ve already had a diagnosis of IBS…

What is all this cramping pain?

Your large and small intestines are lined with strong ring-like muscles. These muscles contract in such a way as to push “things” along. This squeezing and pushing is called peristalsis. Peristalsis has a certain rhythm to it. There are a bunch of things that can ruin the rhythm and that’s when the trouble starts.

For instance:

Constipation cramps…

Little girl holder her belly in IBS pain.
IBS pain strikes kids as well as adults. That makes it particularly heartbreaking :(.
© Can Stock Photo

One or more of the bits of bowel cramps up, clamping the tube shut, and not letting things through. This can be enormously painful (some people even faint)! Meanwhile the colon continues to draw water from the fecal material (poop/bm/bowel movement, stool/etc.). You can see where thisis going.

Next thing you know, you’ve got this dried out stone-like material inside that doesn’t want to go anywhere!

Diarrhea cramps…

The other way things can go, is that the large intestine can work too fast. This causes a sudden rush of watery fecal material, and keeps you running for the toilet.

Diarrhea cramps can also be extremely painful, and leave you feeling wiped out (notice I didn’t say drained, that would be a tacky pun ;).

What causes all this pain and cramping?

There a whole bunch of theories about what causes the abdominal pain and cramping of IBS. Some with more proof than others. Here are some of the main ones:

  • Food intolerance – Sometimes undiagnosed food sensitivities can cause or trigger IBS symptoms.
  • Celiac sprue disease– A special form of gluten intolerance.
  • Visceral hypersensitivity – Bowels that are very sensitive to stimulation, especially by spicy foods.
  • STRESS! –While stress doesn’t CAUSE IBS, stress can trigger IBS.
  • Trapped or excessive gas– Some recent studies point toward gas buildup triggering cramps for people with sensitive bowels.
  • Bacterial infectionA recent study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center showed long term IBS relief using antibiotics.
  • Hormonal changes– Such as during the menstrual cycle.

Speaking of the menstrual cycle, some people believe that menstrual cramps can set off IBS cramps. Since castor oil can lead to bowel spasms, and bowel spasms can sometimes start labor (uterine cramps), it seems to make perfect sense. I admit I haven’t chased down any proof on this one yet.

Some things you can do to help IBS pain and cramping:

Business man holding his belly in pain from IBS.
IBS symptoms don’t care about your schedule..
© Can Stock Photo

Well, there are some medications your doctor can prescribe. My gastroenterologist prescribed a kind of bowel muscle relaxant (I don’t remember the name). It didn’t work for me for some reason, but something like this might work for you. Check it out!

There are also anti-diarrhea medicines like Imodium, that you can buy “over the counter.” But you can’t (or shouldn’t) use them for long periods without talking to your doctor.

If you can find and avoid your IBS trigger foods, that can help a lot! A Nutritionist and and an elimination diet can really help find any foods that trigger your IBS symptoms. Especially avoid foods that give you a lot of gas.

Fiber! Fiber! Fiber! Almost nobody gets enough, and this can REALLY help both diarrhea OR constipation. The best kind for IBS is called soluble fiber.

Peppermint oil has a reputation for soothing the lining of the bowels. I tried this and it did help, but I also have GERD (gastro esophogeal reflux disease) which peppermint is NOT good for. So I don’t use it.

If you decide to try peppermint oil, make sure you get the “enteric coated” kind that dissolves in your intestines not in your stomach!

Some things I do that help me with my IBS pain:

First of all I avoid dairy and wheat, because these trigger IBS symptoms in me. I also don’t eat too much fruit sugar (fructose) all by itself or all at once, because that makes me REALLY sick too.

Woman with a hot water bottle to help her IBS pain and cramping.
Sometimes heat can help with the belly pain..
© Can Stock Photo

I use a microwaveable heating pad filled with feed corn (my wife makes them) and keep that sucker hot and right where the cramping is. That’s a huge help!

Sometimes, if it’s really bad I take Advil (ibuprofen) which helps a bit with the pain. I don’t do that often though. I don’t like taking a lot of pills. Check with your doctor to make sure this is safe for you.

Also, my IBS cramps are usually in the same place, and I find that using fingers to gently massage there helps me. Kind of like working out a cramp in a shoulder.

Meditation! This has really helped me recognize the kinds of thinking that sets off an attack of IBS. Meditation and exercise have helped me cut way down on stress. Less stress equals less IBS for me and probably for you!

So what about you? Do you have tips for IBS pain?

If so please help others by putting your tips in the comment section.



We cannot load blog data at this time.


  1. Steve says

    You mentioned that fruit makes you REALLY sick. Sounds like you are suffering from fructose malabsorption and not IBS. A hospital in Australia have discovered that a high number of patients who thought they had IBS in fact had fructose malabsorption. You can be breath tested for it. And to correct it you need to follow something called a FODMAP diet. If you search on the internet for some of the things I suggest you will get a lot more info. Hope that helps and good luck.

    • says

      Steve, thanks so much for taking the time. That is valuable information! Actually it’s only certain fruits that make me sick. An not necessarily the ones higher in fructose. I did speak to my Gastroenterologist on this and he was puzzled. Your comment will help others though, I’m sure.

      Thanks again.


    • says

      Yes, the hydrogen breath test. I’ve been meaning to get around to writing a page about that. My Gastroenterologist tells me I don’t have fructose malabsorption, but I’ve never had the breath test. Thanks for the nudge!

  2. Tay says

    IBS makes me want to kill myself, the only relief i ever get is when i use copious amounts of cannabis(marijuana), and completely avoid alcohol. Is there any way to control IBS?

    • says

      Hey there Tay, That’s a scary thought. If you think you’re going to hurt yourself in any way, I urge you to call 911, and/or get emergency help. That’s ONE CURE for IBS I DON’T RECOMMEND!!!!!

      As for the other parts of your message, I’ve heard that cannabis is used by cancer patients and others with chronic pain. Some people have used hypnosis and find it very effective. Some people find out that they have a food sensitivity I have pages about that (dairy and wheat especially).

      Antidepressants sometimes help people with IBS. I’m getting ready to write a page about a recents study I read about that. I hope you’ll try the medical help option, and look around this and other sites, for tips for helping yourself. All the best! Shawn

  3. ss says

    Speaking of the menstrual cycle, some people believe that menstrual cramps can set off IBS cramps…. I total believe this. If I have menstrual cramping I will without fail have IBS.

    • says

      Thanks for letting me and others know. I think that’s likely a common experience. It must be rough to know your definitely going to have IBS at least every 28 days. Shawn

  4. John says

    Hi Shawn,

    My dad has IBS and its possible he may have GERD too. He has had a sore throat for about 8 months now. He thinks it may be reflux, he tried 4 or 5 different acid blockers but had no luck. Do you ever get a sore throat because of GERD?

    • says

      IBS and GERD VERY OFTEN go together (are comorbid). At least that’s what I’ve read. I know I’ve had reflux for years. At one point it burned my larynx (the voicebox in the throat), so YES it can cause a sore throat! Your dad should DEFINATELY have an 8 month sore throat checked out. GERD can damage the esophagus (the pipe between the throat and the stomach) and other tender parts! There is medication to help GERD quite effectively. I hope you can convince him to go. Shawn

  5. John says

    He’s been to quite a few doctors already. None of them seem to know what is wrong. He’s beginning to lose his voice. What did you do to get your larynx fixed? Did you need surgery? Because the medicines he has been on (acid blockers) did not help at all. Thanks for your help!

    • says

      That’s scary stuff! I didn’t need surgery. Time healed my larynx after the acid blockers slowed the reflux. I still have to be careful what I eat (no greasy food, and minimal dairy, no wheat), or I get acid up my throat. I do know it has affected my voice some. I used to be able to sing a bit better. I don’t have the sore throat anymore though. I REALLY hope you folks find the answers you need, and quick! – Shawn

  6. John says

    It is pretty scary. I’m beginning to get worried, especially since the doctors don’t know what is going on. He has changed his diet, in fact, he doesn’t even have much of an appetite anymore. He’s lost about 25 pounds.He describes his throat as “raw” and “very sore”. He also said that the acid blockers he was on have stirred up his IBS. Thank you for your help and advice, hopefully they figure it out soon! -John

    • trudy says

      I found this webpage two years after your post. I hope your Dad has gotten some relief from his throat problem. I had the same thing. I went to Mass Eye & Ear, a mega hospital in Boston, and they could see that I had inflammation that high up from the reflux. They had me take, besides the acid reflux med I was already taking, Ranitidine just before bedtime, That helped within a few days. Reflux can definitely get that high, although a GI doctor may not believe it, ENTs know.

  7. Ashley says

    Hi Shawn,

    I’ve suffered from ibs for 6 years and when I think I’ve figured it out I have another attack. One thing I’ve found myself that helps is oregano oil drops. I mix 4 drops with a small amount of juice ( I usually only drink water but it tastes awful together) in the morning and it seems to help. I know it’s not a cure but if it helps at least one person with some relief I’m happy.

  8. Sharon says

    Hi this is my first ever post I have not been diagnosed with ibs but to be honest I have lost all faith in drs but my symptoms are fatigue stomach cramps intermittent diarrhea upper abdominal pain after drinking alcohol or anything with caffeine and certain foods, is making my life a misery

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear that Sharon. There is competent medical help out there. I’m sorry you haven’t found it yet. Meanwhile, if you avoid the foods you suspect of causing you problems, do you get relief???

  9. Amber says

    I feel nauseous most of the time I have constant cramping in my lower abdomin usually central that worsens with my menstral cycle and recently for the first time in my life I’ve started to get headaches and being fatigued most of the time to the point where caffeine doesn’t help to wake me up much.. Does this sound like ibs?

    • says

      Hi Amber,
      IBS is a diagnosis when everything else has been ruled out. A lot of what you describe here DOES sound like IBS, but the constant fatigue, and especially the headaches aren’t something that I typically would associate with IBS.

      I REALLY think you should go have it checked out. It could be anything from anemia to some kind of infection, to who knows what. Whatever it may be, you DEFINITELY want to catch it early!!! Please, please, have see the doc. I know it’s a pain in the butt, but it might change or (not to be dramatic) actually save your life. Just my thoughts on the matter. If you think of it, stop back and let me and the rest of us know what happens. Thanks and good health! – Shawn

    • Bonnie says

      Amber, I would get to an OBGYN for advice. I have had similar problems of headaches and fatigue in the past due to hormone imbalances. Constant abdominal pain could be due to something like endometriosis. I’m no professional but I have a friend who has that and the symptoms sound similar.

  10. Matt says

    Hello Shawn, I wanted to get your input on this.

    My main symptoms that I seem to get is muscle pain through-out the body, it can be in my legs, arms, back, basically anywhere, along with diarrhea, but the diarrhea doesn’t seem to come that often anymore, it’s really only soft stools. I get a sore throat too(like once every 2-3 months that only lasts a week? During that time. I once had a real bad attack where I would have real bad abdominal pain that would only be relieved by a bowel movement(this happened for only one day). I had a canker sore in my mouth. So from your experience. Does this sound like IBS? Colon cancer? Ulcerative Colitis? Chron’s?

    By the way, I did tons of tests, and everything is negative, I’m not anemia or anything. The only thing that did come back positive is the hemoglobin/hemotocrit came back slightly higher then normal, can you explain if that’s normal with IBS or what not? I know it’s not a sign of anemia? Any help is appreciated. What do you recommend I should eat?

    • says

      Hi Matt, WOW, that sounds complicated! I’m not remotely qualified to thell you anything about hemoglobin, or cancer or any other medical diagnosis. BUT, that being said, I’ve not heard of the kind of symptoms you’re talking about being typical for IBS.

      It does sound like there is something that might be flaring up, causing canker sores and what not. If it was a food, it would likely be something you only eat once in a while, due to the amount of time between symptoms.

      One way to find a food intolerance is to keep a food diary, then when you have symptoms look back over the last few days, to see if there is some pattern.

      As far as the tests you’ve had to go through, that sucks! If your regular doctor can’t find anything, I would consider a naturopath or an osteopath. These are different kinds of doctors, with different approaches. They may be able to help if regular doctors can’t.

      I wish you the best!


  11. Janie says

    Hi there Shawn, Just saw this article and it looked very helpful to me. I was diagnosed with ‘IBS’ by the doctor and I feel this is an extremely ambiguous and lazy term given by doctors. I then went to a local healthfood store after being told I just had to deal with ‘IBS’ and had an allergy testing using a VEGA testing method. The lady told me that she reckoned I have a wheat intolerance, and also said that I have a Fungal/Yeast/Bacterial infection in my gut. I haven’t had any colonoscopies, and haven’t been to a doctor since the said VEGA testing. I’ve had IBS like symptoms for 3-4 years now, (including diarrhea, stomach cramps, irregular period e.c.t..) and i’m pretty tired of it, as no definite answer as to what’s happening in my tummy has been given. I’m currently starting to take ‘Yeo valley’ yoghurts as aparently these contain the most good bacteria, can you suggest anything else that might help me? I would greatly appreciate a reply, thanks :) (sorry for the long question!)

    • says

      Don’t apologize for the long question Janie :). I suppose I should keep comments short too, but I blather on :). The comments become a page all by themselves it seems.

      I rather agree about the ambiguous term thing. If you’ve run out of options with your doctor, then (in my layman’s opinion) the best way to go is with eliminating foods that trigger your IBS (if you find any) and probiotics. I’ve been reading about other kinds of probiotics.

      There is something called kefir crystals. Basically dried bacteria (sounds apetizing, I know), and it’s supposed to be very helpful in stabilizing gut bacteria. It reproduces, so once you buy some I don’t think you have to buy more. I’m still looking into it though.

      In fact I ordered some Yesterday (April 7, 2013) and I hope to write a page on it soon.

  12. Sheryl says

    Hi Shawn

    I got back from a 4 year around the world trip and along with seeing amazing things I also picked up a few things along the way. A couple of major stomach and small intestinal infections, minor dengue fever, parasites/geardia to name a few. When I was travelling I had major problems with my guts and on and off diarrhea, that I wrote off as travel stuff. When I got home it got worse! Unemployed, penniless and living with family trying to get back in the groove.

    Working and the stress caused nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, depression, massive stomach pains and many trips in tears to the Dr’s.

    Eventually I was sent to a Tropical Disease Specialist and before he ran any tests he told me to start taking lots of fibre every day. He suggested 2 heaping tablespoons of metamusil or similar a day. In the 3 weeks while I waited for my results things were starting to get under control. It took a specialist to tell me to eat fibre and that I had post-infectious IBS!

    It’s been a few months now, I’m still taking the fibre and things were getting better, but now I am sick again?? The way the Dr was talking he made it sound like after about 6-8 months my stomach should get better and I would be ok.

    Can post-infectious IBS go away?? It’s only been 4 months, I have a better job, and trying to keep stress down, sleep well but every time I try to do something more physical like go for a long bike ride it drags me down and gets me sick. It’s really frustrating!

    Can it go away, or am I stuck with this for life?

    Today I had to leave work because of the pain, I really need to figure out what I can and can’t eat. I will try no dairy and wheat and hopefully it’ll help. Any suggestions on reading material about food?

    Any advice would be great!

    • says

      That sounds like an AMAZING trip, Sheryl. Sorry to hear that you’ve ended up with more than memories and photographs.

      It’s too bad that you had to go to a tropical disease specialist to hear you may have post-infectious IBS, and also a need to increase fiber.

      You didn’t mention if the specialist actually ran the tests and if he or she found anything, though. Did any of that happen? Meanwhile, IBS symptoms seem to come and go for many people. The symptoms often subside for a bit and then come roaring back. Maybe that’s what you are experiencing.

      Food may certainly be an issue. I read somewhere that a severe bowel infection can damage parts of the bowel that are active in absorbing certain foods. That in my layman’s opinion, is one of the reasons that people end up having these kinds of troubles after a serious bowel infection (stomach bug).

      If it were me, the first thing I would do is follow up with the specialist. He or she gave you some advice that has helped, and that person may have some more useful information to give you.

      Also, I think it would be worth trying to find out if some foods are causing you some problems. I have info about that here:

      If your gut bacteria is out of whack (technical jargon, I know :) ) you might be helped by a probiotic. I have info about that here:

      All of this IS very frustrating. That’s why people end up here at this site, looking for answers. It sounds like you’re an active and adventurous person, and not being able to go on hikes, etc. must make you miserable.

      Can post-infectious IBS go away, you ask? IBS is a name for a bunch of symptoms. The symptoms can go away, or get better (okay, they can get worse, too). Finding things that help YOU feel better is what you have to focus on.

      I believe that you will find relief. It may clear up just like your doctor told you. If not, DON’T settle for suffering! Keep trying until you GET some relief. Good Luck! Shawn

  13. Ryann says

    Hi Shawn,

    I’m a 26 yr old female and for the past 2 weeks I have been getting severe stomach pain after I eat. I also get extreme hot and cold flashes and nauseous at times. I tried altering my diet and the foods that I eat but nothing is helping. I eat pretty healthy and was working out a good amount before the pain started. I have gone to my dr and they tested my blood and stool and everything came back normal. They also gave me an ultrasound which came back normal and are now referring me to a gastroenterologist. However they are so booked up I can’t get an apt until may 30! Have you experienced hot and cold flashes an nausea with IBS?

    • says

      Hi Ryann,

      It sucks when you’re doing the right things like eating well, and exercising, and then get sick anyway.

      I’m in a pretty good place as far as IBS is concerned, unless I “fall off the wagon” and eat something I shouldn’t. When I WAS having a lot of trouble, I’d have abdominal pain which was sometimes severe. Severe or not, this would lead to feeling faint, getting the sweats (mild), and sometimes I’d get hot and cold “waves”. I mean, It would last for for several minutes or an hour, as opposed to a quick thing that might be called a flash. Does that help any?

      It sucks when you’re feeling miserable, and can’t even get in to see someone about it for weeks or even months! I earnestly wish you relief!


  14. Amy says

    Hi there.

    I’ve had IBS for a while and get variation between diarrhoea and constipation. I am now currently on a low fodmap diet which helps control my bloating.
    However I had a bad experience in Spain a couple of years ago where I got bad diarrhoea on a train, felt very ill like I was gonna pass out. Since then I’ve developed really bad anxiety and panic attacks about being incontinent in public, and having diarrhoea in the car. I am only 26 and can’t keep living with this fear! :(

    • says

      Amy that must be SO hard to cope with. You didn’t mention whether the fodmap diet was helping with your diarrhea, so I’m assuming it’s not.

      I have several thoughts on this, so bear with me.

      Have you been able to track down any food triggers? That may help you from having an unexpected bout. There is some info about that here:

      THIS NEXT PART IS IMPORTANT! Panic attacks run in my family (yes, they can be hereditary), so I know what I’m talking about on this next bit.

      Panic attacks and anxiety like you’re talking about can cripple your life. First it’s trains (or whatever) then it’s restraunts, school, or work, then people end up not leaving their houses. IN MY OPINION IT’S VERY IMPORTANT to get help before that happens. That usually (almost always) means going to a mental health professional for anxiety/panic treatment. DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT. People often don’t like to talk about it, but A LOT of people go to therapy. You’re young. You don’t have to spend your whole life afraid.

      Next a practical matter. Embarrasing? Yes. But they have things you can wear for incontinence. They may not prevent it, but they can stop it from being PUBLIC problem, until you can get to the bathroom. Here in the USA there often called “Depends”, and frankly, they’re like adult diapers.

      I’m sure that’s not what you want to hear, but if it helps you get to the bathroom or loo in time, then they may help your anxiety. Another idea to help ease worry, is to maybe put together some kind of small cleanup kit, facial tissue or what we call baby wipes, etc. They could be used to help in an emergency.

      As far as feeling like you’re going to pass out, sometimes that’s related to a vasovegal response. There’s a little info on that here:

      I’m passing all this along to try to give you tools to avoid your fear. Please use whatever gives you comfort, but PLEASE see someone about the panic!

      I wish you the very best. – Shawn

  15. kristen says

    hi, I’ve had pain(cramps) in my lower ab for 10 years…I’ve been to the obgyn and they had no idea, recently about a year ago I went to a gastro doc and by listening to me told me he thought it was IBS and gave me anti dressant meds…this made me feel awful and i got the worst pain ever… My pain switches from the left to the right. Sometimes i puke from them and they make me scared to do normal things and leave the house. The cramps also will stop for a week or so and then come back. I also get pain in my back. does this sound like IBS?

    • says

      Hi Kristen, I’ve not heard anyone describe IBS like that (at least not yet). I believe that a woman’s nerves in that area are a lot more complicated though, so the pain in the back may have something to do with that. You said the pain switched from side to side. Does it always switch to the same places, or does it move around.

      Also, I wonder if it’s in the same place on both sides, like on either side of your belly button for instance. That may give you a clue.

      It’s interesting that the anti-depressant meds made the pain worse.

      I know it sucks, I really do. But I’d try a different Gastroenterologist. From what you described, this one doesn’t sound like he was very thorough.

      Just my opinion. – Shawn

  16. Robert says

    Ive been having horrible stomach cramps in upper stomach (abs) a knot pulling feeling that is ruining my life :( ive been A & E twice it was so painful i was prescribed buscopan and Mebeverine which havent helped much. I had an endoscopy down which highlighted acid reflux and also IBS. im just struggling day by day . any help would be appreciated of things to try as im worn out with it!!

    • says

      Robert that’s horrible! This sounds even more severe than IBS, which is horrible enough in itself. If you just had an upper endoscopy then they probably wouldn’t claim IBS, so I’m assuming you also had a colonoscopy or something like it. If not, then I think you should, considering the pain your in. I don’t know much about the medications your taking since I’m not a doctor, but if they’re not helping you must find something else. If your doctor won’t keep working with you, I recommend finding another one. Agony doesn’t HAVE to be part of your daily life. Another thing to consider is going on a really plain easy to digest diet, and seeing if that helps. If it does your issues may have something to do with food. I don’t have much on diet as of this writing. but there is something called the BRAT diet, bananas rice apple sauce and toast, that’s supposed to be pretty easy to digest. There are some suggestions about finding trouble foods here: I hope you get some relief from all this. Shawn

    • Bob says

      I had the same excruciating pains six years ago and had endoscopy which diagnosed gall bladder problems. Small stones would get trapped in a bile duct (can’t remember the exact diagnosis), but greasy cheeseburgers and booze (over eating and over drinking) brought it on both times. Lost some weight and watched the diet, took a prilosec every day and haven’t had it since. I know the pain…was probably 9/10 and lasted 4 hours. Good luck.

  17. Sulli says

    I was diagnosed with IBS in 1978. At the time, I was told I need to “chill” and take things easier. Now is 2013 and I still have it. I have learnt the hard way to live with. Yes, there are bad days, but mostly good days. So take this for what it is worth. Eat little, never fill your stomach full. I do drink coffee (hello caffeine)..that is not good for your stomach, colon or IBS. But I drink half a cup with a little almond milk in it. Stay away from sugar. Leave the sweets so someone else. That also includes alcohol, and sugar substitutes. If you have to eat a treat. Eat it as the last thing not the first thing. Mix it up in your digestive tract with good food. Stay away from chemicals and preservatives. Go with good old fashion home cooking. Moderation is the key. Think…excercise…even walking helps your digestion. If your stomach and colon get cranky when you are trying to sleep, take a tylenol before you go to bed. Drink water when you feel the cramps…it helps ease everything down. Remember, when you have an attack…Hydrate…even if you are running to the toilet you need to keep water in your body. Take care all.

  18. Becca says

    My mother and grandfather have IBS, so I’ve known about the symptoms all my life. But I didn’t know the severity of it until I was diagnosed with it a couple of years ago. Even growing up, I remember having a lot of stomach pain, but I never really mentioned it to my parents (it wasn’t as severe back then) Right now it’s 3:30 am where I live, and I can’t sleep because silly me decided to eat a beef and cheddar sandwich at 9:00 pm last night (had to pick up family from the airport, didn’t have time to cook). My stomach is in knots and I just feel downright awful. My doc prescribed be with a medication called Bentyl for the cramping. Sometimes it seems to help, other times it doesn’t. I think the hardest part of IBS is having to give up so many of the foods that I love. And the fact that there’s no real cure for IBS makes me ask myself: “Will I live the rest of my life in pain?” Some days I literally just want to cry from the pain. And people who don’t have IBS (those lucky people!) don’t understand. They think you’re just whining or being dramatic. Anyways, I appreciate the tips you’ve given. I am going to try some of them and see if they work. And hopefully soon my cramping will be gone and I can go back to bed!

    Thanks again.

  19. Renee says

    I have had IBS for a few years now and I was put on Bentyl because the spasms in my upper intestines are horrible. When I get these spasms on the left upper abdomen they tend to trip-off an irregular heart beat (skipped beats) and palpitations. The Bentyl stops this but it is very weird! Does anyone else experience this? My doctor has never heard of this happening. I read something about the vagus nerve being affected with intestinal spasms.

  20. Raden says

    Yoga helps with destressing. You can also do Pranayam at home before 6.30 am –

    Close Right nostril with your thumb, breathe in for a count of 5, close off Left nostril with your ring finger (now both nostrils are closed)

    Hold your breath for a count of 20, then still holding the Left nostril closed, lifting your thumb off, release your breath through the Right nostril for a count of 10. Repeat this cycle.

    This exercise must always be done in 1:4:2 proportion i.e. Breathe in (5secs), hold your breath (5×4) and release your breath (5×2).

    Its made a difference to me. Hope it helps others :-)

  21. Martin says

    I get really bad pains below my belly button. I’m 16 and feel really tired since I was in hospital with the initial pain. I’m worried about the pain sometimes and want to know if the pains will ever ease. Thanks

  22. Tim says

    I’ve been suffering with IBS for many years. But as i get older its lightened up a lot. The thing i did recently that really helped is i eat 1 Activia yogurt every day. I also eat bran cereal often. And if i have an episode, i take a Gas-X pill and that lightens the pain that the gas is causing.

  23. Marilyn says

    I have a stabbing pain under my left rib that happens most often while driving long distances and occasionally when I exercise I will get a painful muscle spasm in the same area. The pain on the upper left quadrant is happening more often than not. My doctor had an ultrasound done of my of my kidney and spleen. My kidney was grossly unremarkable (whatever that means) and there is peristalsing bowel present. I was told the test was negative and sent on my way but the pain still flares up on and off. Should I be concerned and ask for further tests or any advice would be preciated!

    • says

      Hello Marilyn, This doesn’t sound like an IBS problem to me, but I wanted to reply to your question. I’m always in favor of a second opinion. Pain usually means SOMETHING.

  24. Tristan says

    HI all I have been suffering from IBS for 15 yrs – I am currently 41 yrs old and wish to share what helps me with dealing with my attacks and how i get to relieve myself from cramping and get myself back to normality as quick as possible ..I eat natural yogurt and mix it with enriched minerals and vitamins from flak seed and also eat instant oats from time to time aswell…Drinking lots of water in the day and eating less than normal helps me and no caffeine in the evening sorta helps too
    What helps me with sleeping cramps is to use a blanket as a pillow and try and sleep upright when it gets bad – Sleeping upright seems to work with my symptoms and stops the wind pressure on my chest and shoulders ( gravity at work )
    Try also to counter balance bad foods with good . Most of my attacks are because stupid me got to confident that i havn’t received a attack in a while, that I can eat / drink what i want :)

  25. Cath says

    Hi everyone,

    it’s been great reading everyone’s post. Over the years I have struggled with cream cheese and sour cream. So I avoid these foods, in not knowing why?

    Lately I have been having bad stomach cramping and pain in my lower back, the doctor doesn’t no what is wrong with me. He is now thinking ibs now.

    I’m sitting here with a heat pack on my stomach to sooth the pain. Now my brain is running wild in what I ate today. The posting here have open my eyes and answered some of my questions.

    I am now going to do some more research into my diet and yes coffee and milk drive my stomach mad, I’m back to water and tea, just need a good cereal now for breakfast.

  26. Andrew says

    Forgive me if this has been mentioned in the comments, but the chiropractor has helped me TREMENDOUSLY with IBS. I once went 3 times a week for a short period, and it got to where I could eat pretty much anything! Unfortunately it has flared up again, but that’s after over 4 months of no flare-ups….

  27. Amy says

    I have most of my bathroom problems in the morning, starts as soon as I get up, and usually a few rounds. the pain is always on my lower right side, and can go into my back sometimes.most days, getting up from sitting, then walking around, I can feel the pressure on the right side, and again shoots into the back sometimes. lately heart burn, upset tummy, feeling the need to belch . had colon tests and scope into my tummy. say prob ibs I find most times, its very foul smelly, and dark and greasy looking stool. sorry, gross. I do usually have a few glasses of red wine each day, my de stresser after long day, and can over do it with the wine on weekends. but is it normal for all the pain to be on right side?

    • says

      I think the pain can be anywhere the colon is, but the dark stool has me a bit worried. Sometimes that can indicate blood in the stool. Between that and the pain, I hope you’re checking in with your doctor!

  28. Lisa says

    I was diagnosed with IBS 8 months ago, and I think I found my triggers dairy and gluten, which I avoid. However recently when I eat my food the stomach pains and bloating have started again. Could it be other foods?? Also my symptoms have changed I am experiencing severe fluttering in my top, left side of my stomach, it’s starting to drive me crazy. IBS is so cruel, I wish there was something that can cure it……

  29. tracysmith159 says

    I’ve been suffering for years and the cramps can stop me in my tracks. Before I knew it was IBS my husband has rushed me to the hospital during shopping trips because the pain was so overwhelming for me. Sadly the docs just told me it was IBS suggested I eat more fiber. However despite my best efforts I still find issues running into extreme pain days and being constipated. Sadly my oldest teen son has similar issue. It one thing for me to keep track of my movements… getting that info from a child is even harder and I feel really sorry when I know the extreme pain he goes through when constipated.

    Wonderful ideas here. I’m doing more research so I can find more ways to avoid the bad days. One trick I’ve learned for my son is when is stops eating. A key sign that he most likely hasn’t gone to the bathroom lately.

  30. Zoe grimes says

    I’m not sure if I have IBS as I haven’t yet seen the doctor, I have had my gall bladder removed over 20 yrs ago but in the last couple of years I am randomly getting an “attack” that is very similar to gall stone pain, it comes on very suddenly, I get very hot almost to the point of fainting, excruciating pain in my lower abdomen and then I get cold flashes… All over in a matter of minutes, always after drinking one or two pints of cider????!!
    Can anyone advise please???

Please let others know what YOU think!