IBS – Problems Sleeping & Chronic Fatigue


Unrefreshing sleep or other sleep difficulties are common in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Daytime fatigue, anxiety, higher intolerance to stress are also common side effects of sleep disturbances.

Sleep disturbances tend to be more pronounced in IBS patients who also suffer from depression & anxiety.

Why IBS sufferers find their sleep is Unrefreshing 

Certainly, abdominal pain can cause difficulty sleeping as well as arousals from sleep and consequent interruptions of the normal sleep pattern, either to a lighter stage /the wakefulness stage – this reduces the total amount of time spent in the deeper levels of sleep, which is the rejuvenating part of sleep. (study)

Many IBS patients also report they’re waking up earlier than they choose to even though more sleep is needed. Sleep deficit of 2-3 hours per night is also commonly reported symptom.

People with IBS are more likely to use the bathroom for a bowel movement during the night compared with the general population where they might need to urinate. 

Warning on Prescription Medication on IBS

  • Prescription drugs aimed at reducing overall symptoms, including abdominal pain, for IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) include alosetron and eluxadoline. On March 15, 2017, the FDA issued a warning that due to increased risk for serious, potientially life-threatening, pancreatitis eluxadoline (Viberzi) should not be used in patients who do not have a gallbladder.
  • Prescription drugs aimed at reducing overall symptoms, including abdominal pain, for IBS with constipation (IBS-C) include lubiprostone and linaclotide.
  • For severe IBS, antidepressants, in low doses, may be prescribed. The use of the antidepressant drug class for treatment of IBS symptoms is not linked to depression, but rather likely to effects on the brain and the gut. Antidepressant medications can reduce the intensity of pain signals going from gut to brain.

Help for IBS


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