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I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome at Night

In my previous post, Irritable Bowel Syndrome I wrote, “The pain from IBS can be very extreme and can awaken one from deep sleep.” Sure, waking up to abdominal cramps in the middle of the night doesn’t sound pleasant, but I wanted to describe in more detail what it is like.

I usually awaken from a deep sleep where I’ve just been having a horrible dream that verges on being a nightmare (someone trying to kill me, someone chasing me, someone hurting me). These are very atypical dreams for me. I have talked with other people with IBS or an IBD and they tell me that when they awaken from abdominal cramps they also have awoken from having horrible dreams. Unfortunately, I cannot find much information online about why this seems to be a common occurrence. I plan to ask my doctor about what she thinks of this pattern.

When I awaken my mind is trying to process the crazy, adrenalin pumping dream I was having along with realize I’m having extremely painful cramps. I immediately curl up in the fetal position and usually let out some painful cries mutterings. I reach for my bedside medicine, take a drink of water, dissolve a pill under my tongue, then rinse my mouth out with water. By this point I’m fully awake, but feeling extremely tired and hoping I don’t wake up The Helpful Hubby too much. I usually go to the bathroom to see if that will help, change into looser fitting PJ bottoms (if the waistband applies ANY pressure it just makes the pain worse), then get back into bed. I curl back up into the fetal position, agonizing over the pain and the inability to fall asleep. I wait for my medicine to kick in and try to focus on relaxing my muscles, instead of tensing them all in reaction to the pain.

Sometimes, when I am too groggy I think the pain is less than it is, then fall half way asleep, only to keep re-awakening to pain for hours upon hours until I realize that I need to take medicine. In either case I usually end up waking up around 3-4 AM and not falling back to sleep for about two hours. This has me starting off the next day feeling extremely tired, along with an overall “blah” feeling from my IBS. Luckily, this does not happen to me every night!

Does IBS cause you to awaken, in pain, from a bad dream?

You may also be interested in reading:
Probiotics & IBS
Fibro Feelings – Colonoscopy (no gross details)

The Bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

The Bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec*

*Image Credit: from www.wikipedia.org



Comments

Comment from mamie
Time February 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I have crohn’s disease and I often wake up from a dream of gettting punched in the stomach or stepped on to find that I’m in horrible pain and need to run to the bathroom.
One night my husband woke me up and said I was crying in my sleep. I was having a dream that he was pushing on my belly.

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks for sharing your experience, Mamie. One of the friends I mentioned in my post as having similar experiences has Crohn’s as well.

[Reply]

Comment from Monique
Time March 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

sending you lots of (gentle) *hugs* and *warm fuzzies*, *warm fuzzies* always makes me feel better…if only mentally

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks, Monique! Warm fuzzies are nice – they make me think of cozy, fuzzy socks and the flower in Horton Hears a Who!

[Reply]

Comment from Marcy
Time April 5, 2011 at 4:31 am

WOW….I just came across your website this morning (very early) I had the EXACT thing happen to me that you just described! Some sort of small alligator was chopping on my finger ( in my crazy dream) and BAM ……I wake up with horrible IBS cramps and into the bathroom I go! Now I have been awake for hours. I cannot believe that other people have this very strange happening occur to them also! Fibro is quite the strange disease! I look forward to checking out your website. I have suffered from fibro for 15 years and also have rheumatoid arthritis. Its nice to find good support!

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks for sharing your IBS-dream experience, Marcy! I hope your IBS has calmed down as your day has gone on. Fibro IS quite strange, I can’t wait until scientists finally understand it! I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

[Reply]

Comment from Mandy
Time June 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I’ve just woken from a dream where we had to run & dodge bullets! I woke up with a dry throat & feeling as though someone was standing on my stomach, agonizing pain at almost 3am in the morning. Its like a pattern, for the last few mornings I wake up in crazy pain. I have IBS

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

I’m meeting with my Gastroenterologist next week and planning to ask him about why these crazy dreams happen when we’re in pain. Thanks for sharing your experience, Mandy! I hope your IBS flare ends soon and you find some relief.

[Reply]

Comment from Parisa
Time July 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I’ve had this problem for like 5 months. I have had IBS for 2 years. I couldn’t sleep for 4 continuous hours in the last 5 months. I feel so hopeless. No doctor could help me. I have nightmare and I wake up every 2 hour :(

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

That sounds horrible, Parisa! Do you have an antispasmodic to help you? If not, maybe that is something a doctor could prescribe to help you some.

[Reply]

Parisa Reply:

My doctor prescribed me Dicyclomine ! but it didn’t work ! Actually nothing works for my pain ! Even hydrocodone was good for just 1 week for around 4 hours. After that It didn’t help either ! I am so exhausted and so disappointed :(

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

=( I bet! Are they sure you have IBS and not an IBD?

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Michelle Reply:

This is very similar to what I have been doing as we’ll…I have struggled with stomach pain for 5 years and there doesn’t seem to be much help out..so I totally understand your frustration

[Reply]

Comment from Parisa
Time July 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I had Colonoscopy and Endeoscopy and all the tests. It seems that it is not IBD !

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Well I’m glad they’re being thorough, but I sure wish they could figure out something to help you more!

[Reply]

Comment from RuthieR
Time October 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hi there, I’ve had this problem for about a year and a half now. I wake up in the early hours of the morning at around 4am with a pain that will not go away until I take some form of pain relief. It can be so painful that I cannot relax or sit down, instead I wander around downstairs aimlessly. There is no way I can get back to bed or asleep until the pain goes which usually takes 30-40 mins. When I don’t take anything the pain just continues to get worse, therefore I always take paracetamol and that usually works for me.

My doctor says I have an anal fissure which is a tiny tear in the anus and can be very painful. I am unsure weather or not I have IBS, reading all the previous comments. However, this only happens to me either once a month or every 6 weeks (as I mark it on my calendar) but I don’t remember having bad dreams?

I know I will have to go back to see my GP re this, but it’s such an embarrasing subject!! Can you give me any advice?

[Reply]

Comment from Laura
Time November 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I have found that limibitrol has been my savings grace. A little bit of amitryptoline and chlorodiazepam (I only take half to one pill at night) made my IBS pains at night go away totally, as well as let me sleep all night. Great find from my 60+ year old psychiatrist. He is wonderful.

[Reply]

Comment from Les
Time March 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

My mum is waking up in the early hours with agonising stomach pains, she is already on Morphine patches and gabapentin for a crumbling disc in her lower spine, I would of thought the pain killers she is already taking would ease this stomach thing? Doctor has given her some tablets ( name escapes me now but begins with B and she has to take 2 every 4 hours) pain so bad she was up walking around the block at 5 in the morning when it was dark and foggy, please god hope this medication works as she is getting desperate, doctor hasn’t given her an actual diagnosis ! Could be IBS by what I am reading on here, thanks guys I will keep you posted.
Les

[Reply]

Comment from Ruth
Time July 28, 2012 at 1:16 am

left sided pain in groin wakes me at night – most meds upset me or casue a knock on effect.
Abdominal CT was normal – any ideas? I feel wrecked.

[Reply]

Comment from Sue Davidson
Time August 20, 2012 at 11:41 am

Yes!! I,ve had IBS for decades. Long period of remission ended about 6 mos. ago. Now it hits me only at night with awful cramps… and yes, accompanied by nightmares. Some relief from sub-lingual tablets, but starts again after a couple of hours. Losing a lot of sleep too. What to do?

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Comment from lisa
Time January 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

omg i am so happy to have found this website I thought I was nuts just woke up at 2am with the horrible cramp and cant get back to bed I am exhausted from this it has happened before as well. nightmare no but extreme pain while in the bathroom

[Reply]

Comment from ahmed
Time October 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

I have belly pain, only during sleep. maybe 15 days in a mouth, had terrible night some times with nightmares,after just 1 hour of sleep pain wakes me up, I have to stand up and walk inorder to release that pain and continue the sleep.
I discovered that when I eat before sleep and drink softdrinks the pain come again.
we need to be carful what we eat cause we re doctors of ourselfs
ahmed recently posted: Soy-free Foods – List II

[Reply]

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