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I need advice!!!
      #324367 - 02/08/08 06:46 PM
new2ibs

Reged: 02/08/08
Posts: 4


Hi, everyone,
I'm new here. I've been dealing with symptoms over the past year (well, really 10 years, but they've gotten much worse due to stress this past year) that can best be explained as IBS. What brought me to find this board was an emergency - I'm supposed to fly across the country Sunday, and I'm TERRIFIED to get on that plane! I'm flying with someone else, and he booked us on a direct flight that's 6 hours long. I haven't been on a flight that long in many years, and I'm terrified that the anxiety is going to trigger an attack. They're so severe that I just CAN'T have that happen.

So I desperately need advice, and fast, as to how to deal with this fear of flying. I'm thinking I'm going to plunk down the $300 extra to change my flight to stop partway, so the longest leg would be only 4 hours instead of 6. That might be less scary for me. But in terms of how to manage the flight - should I fast all day beforehand, just in case? Should I take peppermint oil capsules or something preemptively to try to ward off an attack? Do you guys think it's a good idea to pay extra for shorter flights? How have other people dealt with this?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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No one can help? new
      #324389 - 02/09/08 11:32 AM
new2ibs

Reged: 02/08/08
Posts: 4


No one has any advice for me? I'm worried, please help.

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Re: I need advice!!! new
      #324390 - 02/09/08 11:36 AM
Kimberley321

Reged: 01/21/08
Posts: 101
Loc: London, UK

You poor thing - you must be really anxious right now.

I don't think it would be a good idea to fast completely before the flight. Fasting might push your tummy into spasm becasue it has nothing to digest. Try small meals of safe foods like rice or potato with chicken the day before. If you eat nothing you might feel light headed and this may induce nausea (this usually causes me to panic). Take some safe snacks with you for the plane in case you can't eat the in-flight meal - probably best to ask for a vegan meal. I don't take peppermint so i can't really advise on this but if it works for you norammly continue with what works for you.

Can you take some realxing music to listen to incase you need to take your mind off your stomach? Remember the staff are used to anxious flyers and will be able to reassure you if you find you get overly anxious during the flight.

Personally i would rather get the flight over with all in one go that take two short flights. Last time i returned from the US to the UK i had a two hour flight and a 7 hour flight. I became anxious about getting IBS symptoms during the first flight which led me to fear the second flight more. Next time i travel i will only fly direct or not at all!

I wish you luck and have a safe trip.

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Re: I need advice!!! new
      #324391 - 02/09/08 11:46 AM
lalala

Reged: 02/14/05
Posts: 2634


I have issues with flying as well. As far as anxiety/panic attacks, I do have to take an anti-anxiety med before a flight and that helps a lot. I'm not sure you have meds for that, so I recommend that during the flight it helps to listen to your favorite music and try to keep your mind occupied by doing logic or word puzzles and reading magazines. Are you traveling alone?

What are your IBS symptoms? If you're an IBS-D (diarrhea), you might want to try taking half a dose of Imodium as a preventive -- then you won't have to worry about having an attack on the plane. It's not good to fast, because that will only aggravate your symptoms. As someone else suggested, try to eat small, safe, mainly soluble fiber meals throughout the day. Take some snacks with you on your trip -- Rice Chex, low-fat crackers -- and tea. You should be able to ask the flight attendant for hot water. Teas for IBS: peppermint, fennel, ginger. Teas for anxiety: chamomile, lavender.

I'm not sure if it's better to just get the flight over with or to do two shorter flights so you'll get a "break." I kind of think just one flight would be better because then you don't have double the anticipation of getting on two different flights.

I wish you the best of luck on your flight! You can do it!

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Re: I need advice!!! new
      #324405 - 02/09/08 03:55 PM
new2ibs

Reged: 02/08/08
Posts: 4


Hi Maria,
Thanks for the advice. I don't take any anti-anxiety meds, so that's not an option. I tried fasting today, and I only made it for 9 hours before I couldn't take it anymore. Pretty sad, huh? I guess my body likes its food.

My IBS symptoms are severe spasms in the pit of my stomach, where I'm doubled over in pain, plus severe diarrhea and vomiting, too. I suspect that the spasms cause a blockage, which is why it comes out both ends. I've also passed out on occasion. In fact, the first attack I had, 10 years ago, I spent the night in the ER and passed out repeatedly. I thought at the time that I was sick from taking Phazyme. I didn't have any more attacks for several years, then suddenly had another one, then nothing else for several more years until last spring. I've been under ridiculous amounts of stress, and it seems that stress is my trigger. So far, I haven't noticed any correlation with anything I eat or drink, only my anxiety level. (Thank goodness!)

I did end up changing my flights to 2 legs instead of one. I just felt it would work better for me to know that I only had to hold myself together for 4 hours, then I'd get a rest. Hopefully that will be the right decision!

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Re: I need advice!!! new
      #324406 - 02/09/08 03:57 PM
new2ibs

Reged: 02/08/08
Posts: 4


Hi Kimberly,
I tried fasting today, but I couldn't make it more than 9 hours. So at least I'm planning not to eat before getting on the plane in the morning. If I feel able to eat once we've been in the air for a while, I'll nibble on some crackers or something. I agree, I was worried that I might get light-headed if I fasted for over 24 hours, which was my original plan, even with drinking copious amounts of fruit juice. So hopefully just not eating in the morning will work out okay.

Wish me luck!

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Re: No one can help? new
      #324413 - 02/09/08 04:50 PM
Barbara50

Reged: 09/26/07
Posts: 299
Loc: Texas

Boy, do I not share your anxiety about flying. I am absolutely bonkers everytime I have to fly and I, like you, will book short flights instead of one long one. Since I have become stable I have found that if I eat VERY clean with lots of soluble fiber (bread, potato, rice) and a little insoluble fiber (prefereably the safest for me) then take an imodium about an hour before I fly, take a good book that will hold my interest or CD of hypnosis or whatever calms you down, I usually do pretty good. Another thing I try to do is sit near the back where the lavatories are just in case. Last time that I flew I didn't even get up but it was just a 3 hours flight. Good luck to you and know that we are ALL pulling for you.

--------------------
IBS-D, Gas & Bloating

Barbara50

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